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Best Bars 2016 Clayton Hauck

Milk Room, Chicago

A rare Chicago hotel bar that requires a ticket

Bars have grown decidedly more democratic in recent years, so the fact one can only enter by forking over $50 for a ticket—don’t fret, the money then gets deducted off the night’s tab—might seem an unnecessary throwback to a more pretentious era. It isn’t. Candle-lit Milk Room, located just off the lobby of Michigan Avenue’s Chicago Athletic Association hotel, is a one-of-a-kind temple for vintage spirits. At first glance, the Daiquiri #4, say, might not look special, but it’s made with circa-1974 Bacardi Puerto Rican rum and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur hailing from the 1950s, just as À la Louisiane stars mid-century Bénédictine. Drink-slinger Paul McGee, who roves between the hotel’s other drinking establishments as well as the tiki joint Lost Lake, mans the eight-seat brass bar and fittingly presents all concoctions in elegant, retro glassware. –Alia Akkam

What to order: À la Louisiane (house barrel of Redemption 8-Year-Cask Strength Rye Whiskey, sweet vermouth, 1950’s Bénédictine, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe)

Milk Room, Chicago
12 S Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60603 (844) 312-2221
Monday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Thursday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Friday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Saturday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Sunday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM