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Motel Bar

View Map600 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
Tel: (312) 822-2900
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Editorial Review of Motel Bar

Classic cocktails take centerstage at Motel, a swanky retro bar that lets today's fashionable crowd get sloshed on drinks popularized by their grandparents. Think of it as a sociological study of the swinger, where you can get an overview of the cocktails of the past.

Inside the bar, brown, green and orange dominate the color palette, coating the room in classic hues. With kitschy touches like the curvaceous orange couches, you might expect a no vacancy sign to loom large above the entrance. It seems only fitting that a bar aiming for throwback appeal would be housed in a building formerly owned by Montgomery Ward.

The drink menu is full of antique drinks like Sidecars, the Rob Roy and Manhattans (made with bitters), all prepared according to time-tested recipes. Some of the more rare cocktails, like Satan's Whiskers (made with gin, orange juice, both types of vermouth and bitters), may sound more fun to order than to drink, but the exhaustive list guarantees you find something old-fashioned that suits your fancy. The serving staff will even tell you the odd stories behind origins of these drinks if you ask. The rest of the drinks are divided into clear, brown and cordials categories.

The dining menu, with items like the ribeye au poivre and classic club sandwiches, was also created to exude a '50s feel. It also has a substantial number of dished best described as comfort food; items like beer-battered onion rings and half-pound hamburgers take the edge off a night of drinking. Those looking for something healthier can try a chicken and hummus pita.

Average cost: $10-$20

Centerstage Reviewer: Patrick Sisson

User Reviews

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11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 6 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday; 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday

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chicago, metromix