Perched atop Vivo
, overlooking a glitzy patch of Randolph Street, sits an exclusive lounge coined The Vault. No secret combination is necessary; and with a reserve of bottled wines alongside a trove of interesting cocktails, West Loop residents so far seem just fine locked cozily away.
A giant safe sitting center stage in a room of jungle-esque features inspired the name. Weighing nearly a ton, the former bank vault is open most evenings and lit with candles.
French doors sideline the relic, inviting a pleasant breeze inducing a shiver in the leaves of majestic palms. Zebra-skin throws hug coffee bean-colored microfiber couches. Track lighting glows over dark wood floors serving ceiling-scratching mirrors stationed throughout. And a wavy granite-topped bar rests before a wall of exposed-white brick.
General manager Diego Cordova reckons The Vault as a "romantic lounge where the music isn't too loud and where couples and friends can enjoy a glass of wine while sharing appetizers." However, he admits the sporadic climate of the strip sometimes rocks the boat. "The crowd dominates the scene," Cordova says, implying that intermittently, the space sees its share of rump shakers and bottle poppers. A high-def screen and the occasional DJ assist. Overall, though, the mood generally represents the mostly well-to-do's in perfect presentation.
For now, peruse the Vivo menu while a Vault version simmers. Selections on deck include pastas and salads, steaks and fish. Cordova stresses his favorite scallops di Mare and scampi: sauteed jumbo scallops and speck wrapped shrimp served on a bed of frisee and green beans in a tomato goat cheese sauce ($28). Most, though, stick within the appetizer and personal pizza range accompanied with wine.
Up for a cocktail? Sazeracs sell (Civil War era-style cocktails) and the Toscana Tea (Darjeeling tea and honey infused vodka, St. Germain liqueur, fresh lemons and a splash of lemonade) invokes an Arnold Palmer, perfect for summer.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez