For Chicago, The Aviary in the West Loop is the special occasion cocktail bar. It’s from the same owners as Alinea, and you’ll find elaborate, Alinea-esque drinks on the menu here. Cocktails start around $28, and vary in the amount they look like science experiments. For example, The Jungle Bird has little clear tapioca-like balls filled with rum that pop in your mouth, and the Old Fashioned goes even further - it comes in a ball of ice you need to snap with a rubber band. You can make reservations, but you can also walk in (there might be a wait, but that will give you some time to quickly reread your eighth grade science textbook).
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Cold Storage is seafood bar attached to a steakhouse. Post up at the bar for oysters and other fresh fish.
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