A Return To Somewhere New

on May 25, 2017

Speakeasies, tiki bars and what’s next…

Maybe you missed it. Sandwiched between two money-transfer stores on Atwater Avenue is a small alleyway. If the unassuming corridor happens to catch your peripheral, you may spot a velvet rope and a pretty piece of street art painted onto a doorway. Walk through it and you’ll be greeted by a happening hub with a well-stocked bar and striking prohibition-era décor.

Modern-day speakeasies like The Atwater Cocktail Club harken back to the days when gin joints had to remain hush about their operations. The trend has been picking up steam over the last decade, garnering notoriety with pioneers such as Chicago’s Violet Hour and New York’s PDT (Please Don’t Tell).

These types of bars stand out in an era of quick consumption and a new iPhone every three months. It marks a return to craftsmanship and endurance. It's also appealing because of the playfulness and make-believe of it all. Think about the resurgence of tiki culture over the last five years. Lost Lake and 3 Dots and a Dash are two of the hottest hubs in Chicago right now.

Since 2005, we’ve seen a longing to explore these bygone eras and exotic locales. And all this has got us thinking, what’s next? Are we headed back to tequila sunrises and Long Island iced teas from the ’70s (see LA’s deliciously kitschy Good Times at Davey Wayne’s)?

Maybe these drinks don’t seem as appealing as a classic Champagne cocktail or intricate Zombie, but let’s not forget that along with this new wave of bars comes a whole lot of innovation. With the right rum and some well-crafted cola, you can turn the mundane into a masterpiece.

And perhaps that’s the real recipe for these bars’ success. Strip away the frills and novelty and you’re still left with a damn fine cocktail. For a little inspiration of your own, check out this month’s Cocktail Mixers. We’ve got the goods for any era!

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