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Craft cocktails in a cozy environment?

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Hi! New poster to Chowhound, but old lurker. I was wondering if any of you had recs for a craft cocktail place with a "cozy" environment... a low-key, not hipster type of place where you can address the bartender by name and say, "I'm feeling like bourbon and something herbal; can you make me something?"

(I came from Boston so if you're from Boston, I'm thinking more Bergamot and less Drink)

I know there are lots of posts on cocktail places, so here's to hoping this isn't redundant. Thanks.

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  1. The first place that comes to mind is Bar Deville, in the Ukranian Village: http://bardeville.com/ . Very talented bartenders, comfortable bar (which will get crowded and perhaps less comfortable as the night wears on), close to plenty of other dining/drinking options (Bar Deville does not have a kitchen).

    Scofflaw, just to the west of Logan Square, might work, as well. The location is a little more out of the way but they can still fill up quickly on weekends. Until then, though, great staff, great drinks, great atmosphere. http://scofflawchicago.com/

    Are you looking for bars in a specific part of town? That might make it easier to offer up other suggestions. I suspect the bigger challenge is finding a place that is cozy and low-key. Most of the other bars with a great cocktail program that come to mind skew towards more crowded/hipster-ish.

    3 Replies
    1. re: danimalarkey

      Thanks for the tips! I'm not looking for bars in any specific part of Chicago, though bars with good food or after-dinner kinds of places would be great (so bars in neighborhoods with good food)

      1. re: hungreemonkee

        >> bars in neighborhoods with good food

        That narrows it down to about 80 percent of the city. :)

        1. re: nsxtasy

          haha, I told you I'm new here...

    2. It's pricey and it's tiny, but it sounds like you basically want... The Office. Low key, not full of hipsters, and both Jason and Charles (the head bartender) are great at going off-menu. Not cheap. At all. Make a reservation/go as early as possible, as they have only 16 seats.

      Sable is great for going off menu as well but it's a hotel bar (so you get a totally different crowd and people asking for shots) and it's not cozy.

      1. I have had good experiences just saying what I felt like and getting a nice drink back at Boka and the Drawing Room. The latter definitely doesn't qualify as low key, but isn't hipster either. The former is probably closer. Again neither is cheap. That's my two cents :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: deraj

          I loved my visit to the Drawing Room but the neighborhood (Viagra Triangle) leaves much to be desired.

          We were also seated initially at a table next to the "nnnntz-nnntz-nnntz" of the nightclub directly adjacent, and asked to be moved.

        2. Two other thoughts. If you happen to be further north, I also like Tiny Lounge at Lincoln and Montrose. I have never ordered off-menu and I wouldn't suggest traveling to it if you're not already in the area, but it's my go-to for cocktails in the Lincoln Square area. I recently went to City Tavern in the South Loop and they also had craft cocktails in a stylish (but not quite hipster) setting. Mine was a little too medicinal for my taste but others seemed to like theirs.

          3 Replies
          1. re: deraj

            Second!! I was going to add Tiny Lounge myself. No attitude, friendly, and low on the hipster quotient.

            1. re: Violatp

              And that big heap of truffle parmesan fries doesn't hurt either :)

              1. re: deraj

                No, it does not. :-)

          2. The Office is amazing, but not the easiest to get into, and pricey.

            I would also suggest the upstairs at The Barrel House Flat, the downstairs can be a bit intense, but the upstairs is very cozy.

            The Whistler might be too hipster, but early in the evening it is pretty amazing, quiet, and you can certainly go off menu.

            1. Ooh also, Watershed, in the basement of pops for champagne.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BSpar

                i liked watershed a lot! i only had beer, but it meets the cozy feel requirement.

              2. I'm so sorry I forgot to report back (or rather, I thought I did): We eventually went to Scofflaw. It was a touch crowded but just right!

                1. Owen & Engine and Longman & Eagle both would fit the bill