6/21/2012 10:15:00 AM

Untitled: An Authentic Speakeasy With Modern Indulgences

The safest place to store whiskey in Chicago - a private locker at Untitled
The word speakeasy gets thrown a lot these days - a trendy concept attached to classic cocktails and vintage elegance. A six-page cocktail menu served by bartenders donning suspenders does not make a speakeasy - that's just a bar (sorry to burst your old-fashioned bubble).

However, Untitled, which sits on a quieter side of Kinzie Street across from Mercadito and next to a CVS, definitely earns the speakeasy title. An unmarked black door guards a grand staircase that leads down to an 18,000-sq.-ft. food-and-alcohol emporium. Once guests make it inside, they may as well be in 1931 New York.

The entryway is coated in silver wallpaper and decorated with paintings of men and women who look as if they fell out of the pages of The Great Gatsby. An antique piano sits in one corner and a hostess stand in the other.

On the menu of locally sourced small plates (which can be ordered throughout the space), expect Manhattan clam chowder, housemade sausages, pork belly confit and veal tartare. Larger plates include chocolate-bourbon duck, dry-aged rib-eye and a bison burger. There's also raw-bar fare including oysters, gulf shrimp, scallop ceviche and crab claws (or opt for a tower of it all). 

This dining room also houses a chef's table, which is hidden in a back room decorated with small, iron-framed mirrors (behind one of these is a cubby with access to the bar - bartenders can pass cocktails directly to the table via this hole in the wall).

In the library space, there are overstuffed chairs, chesterfield lounges and high-tops. Nine plasma televisions play either sports or Mae West films. The bar in this room holds what's reported to be the largest selection of American whiskeys in the U.S. - these bottles can be reserved for private consumption by renting one of the liquor lockers

Finally, there's the parlor, which holds a secret - the wood paneling slides away to reveal a lounge. This is where the speakeasy theme comes to life, with seating for a few hundred of the coolest cats in Chicago. American root musicians will grace a central stage each night, including singers, piano players and ragtime bands. Twice a week, beginning in July, the lounge will host a supper club - a multicourse meal with musical pairings.

Untitled may feel like a trip back to the Prohibition era, but thankfully the delicacies have greatly improved from moonshine in a basement.

111 W. Kinzie St.; 312-880-1511


Post a Comment