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Drinking Up

While Chicago’s not lacking when it comes to great cocktailing establishments, these 10 newcomers raise the bar—and then some.

The Heavy Feather in Logan Square taps into the ’70s for its cocktails and decor.

1. Band of Bohemia
Grilled Apple Tarragon and Roasted Beet Thyme may sound like menu dishes, but at this Ravenswood spot, they’re actually two of the brewed-in-house ales ($3 to $7). No surprise then that this “culinary brewhouse” has a team of Alinea alums behind it. The ingredient-driven beers serve as inspiration for the food—bison tartare with cured egg ($15), anyone?—with each of the five offerings paired with the small and large plates. 4710 N. Ravenswood Ave., 773.271.4710

2. Broken Shaker
Like its famous older sibling in Miami, our Broken Shaker offers numerous creative twists on cocktails, ranging from a Chicago-inspired Garrett’s Old Fashioned ($13) to customized punch service for eight ($150). Its tucked-away location (head to the back of the Freehand hotel lobby and up the stairs) means you just might get a seat. 19 E. Ohio St., 312.940.3699

3. The Heavy Feather
The ’70s live on in this second-floor bar above Logan Square’s Slippery Slope. Inside, you’ll find the fern bar of your dreams filled with beautiful gold mirrors, polished walnut accents and opulent leather booths. Cocktails take a similar time-machine approach, including the groovy Mudslide, a potent mix of Irish whiskey, coffee liqueur and ice cream ($12). Bell-bottoms not required. 2357 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773.799.8504

4. Lost Lake
All things tiki reign supreme at this cozy Logan Square bar. Banana-leaf wallpaper and puffer fish light fixtures serve as perfect backdrops to the impeccably made tropically inspired drinks presented in kitschy glasses adorned with colorful flowers and fun swizzle sticks. Whether you opt for Bunny’s Banana Daquiri ($12) or the shareable Fogcutter ($50), it’ll be hard not to get swept away. 3154 W. Diversey Ave., 773.293.6048

5. Milk Room
First the good news: At this Chicago Athletic Association Hotel bar, you’ll find spirit-forward cocktails from Paul McGee utilizing the rare ingredients the well-connected beverage director has tracked down, including the Glen Grant 15-year Scotch whisky and 1950s Benedictine in the cask-strength Bobby Burns ($50). The bad? With just eight seats, a spot is hard to snag. But unlike many things in life, the effort to score a reservation online, the only way to get in, is totally worth it. 12 S. Michigan Ave., 844.312.2221

6. Pub Royale
Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner have a knack for figuring out what we want in a new watering hole before we know ourselves. (See Lone Wolf, Sportsman’s Club, Bar DeVille and Queen Mary Tavern for reference.) That’s also the case with Pub Royale, their modern take on a British pub featuring an eclectic list of beers, riffs on royale cups and tasty Indian food all set in a wonderfully eccentric space. 2049 W. Division St., 773.661.6874

7. Queen Mary Tavern
This Polish tavern on Division Street was closed for almost 45 years, but you’d never know it. The space has been lovingly restored with high-backed booths and brass chandliers while still honoring its past. The seafaring vibe exists beyond the name with maritime drinking traditions, including a daily rum-based grog ($10). Smooth sailing, indeed. 2125 W. Division St., 773.697.3522

8. The Sixth
For a neighborhood bar, The Sixth sure does take itself seriously—and that’s a good thing. From the six ice cube types crafted in-house—check out the multicolored flavored ones in the gin-focused Silly Rabbit ($12)—and hard-to-find spirits (an Old Grand-Dad bourbon, $150, from the 1930s, perhaps?) to the mod yellow couches, this spot from the same owners as the adjoining Roots pizza place punches way above its weight. 2200 W. Lawrence Ave., 872.241.8666

9. Sparrow
With its antique phone booth, vintage floral wallpaper, lovely light fixtures and wood inlay bar, this Gold Coast spot is a sophisticated throwback to a gentler time of drinking, which fits its location in the lobby of an art deco apartment building. Beverage Director Peter Vestinos puts the spotlight on rumcentric classic cocktails, including the refreshing Floridita #3 ($12). 12 W. Elm St., 312.725.0732

10. Tack Room
Just when you thought this restored Pilsen landmark couldn’t get any better—it’s also home to Dusek’s, Punch House and Thalia Hall—along comes this cool piano bar. In keeping with its past life as a carriage house, Tack Room sports an equine-inspired aesthetic with galloping-horse wallpaper and horseshoes on the walls. Keep the spirit alive and order the Tack Room Buck ($9) made with Rebel Yell bourbon and housemade carrot-ginger beer. 1227 W. 18th St., 312.526.3851