The Aviary

Cocktail Bar / Lounge
The Aviary Opened to much fanfare in mid-2011, The Aviary draws a mix of sophisticated patrons and dedicated foodies of all ages into an intricate cocktail realm; a place where the creations behind the bar showcase the same intense attention... Chicago United States 41.886752 -87.651957
3.47 6
The Aviary - Cocktail Bar | Lounge in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Opened to much fanfare in mid-2011, The Aviary draws a mix of sophisticated patrons and dedicated foodies of all ages into an intricate cocktail realm; a place where the creations behind the bar showcase the same intense... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    W–Su 6pm–1:30am

    Reservations Lottery:
    reservations@theaviary.com (Slots only available at 6, 8:30, and 11pm)

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Aviary Review

The Scene

Opened to much fanfare in mid-2011, The Aviary draws a mix of sophisticated patrons and dedicated foodies of all ages into an intricate cocktail realm; a place where the creations behind the bar showcase the same intense attention...

Opened to much fanfare in mid-2011, The Aviary draws a mix of sophisticated patrons and dedicated foodies of all ages into an intricate cocktail realm; a place where the creations behind the bar showcase the same intense attention to detail as Owner/Chef Grant Achatz's world famous dishes.

Known for his work on the forefront of molecular gastronomy, Achatz creates drinks and small plates that are elaborate scientific experiments, ranging from black truffles imbued with gin to bourbon infused in a frozen egg. Less than a hundred lucky guests can frequent the space at one time, all of whom gain entry via an inherently equalizing same day email lottery.

Once inside, contemporary chandeliers and candles glow intimately in-between long beige couches that line the single room, as attenuate couples and businessmen go mute reading the highly detailed menu. Drinks like The Ginger, prepared with a shot of liquid nitrogen, foam atop a small table to the applause of adventurous friends, while groups of trendy girls sit at the long bar and stare in wonder at The Cantaloupe, a single bite of fruit pressed with champagne and then reconstructed into an edible cocktail.

Food options are limited to small bites, all of which are duly Achatz-ified, but the real draw at The Aviary is for the unique creation and presentation of cocktails that cannot be found anywhere else.

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Tip from Adriana:

The drinks are so specific that standing patrons actually have to order from a different menu than those who are sitting down! For a really unique experience, try one of the cocktails that are designed to change flavor as you drink them, like The Blueberry – your last sip will taste nothing like your first!

  • Crowd

    Well-dressed and sophisticated foodies, young professionals, trendy couples, affluent business entrepreneurs, and cocktail and mixology enthusiasts, late 20s to 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Ambient contemporary jazz.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Molecular small bites. Eighteen percent gratuity added to bill.

  • Prices

    Small bites $3–$6. Beer $6–$20, wine $8–$25, cocktails $14–$28, whiskey $10–$30. Valet $8.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Dressy: cocktail dresses, skirts and blouses, heels, blazers, ties, button-downs, dress shoes, designer jeans, cashmere cardigans, name-brand jewelry and accessories.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Whenever chosen by the e-mail lottery, or earlier in the week and early evenings to avoid the wait.

  • Close By

    Next door, Achatz’s Next Restaurant offers larger plates, though tickets are required for entry, while the renowned Blackbird (619 West Randolph), named one of Chicago’s top restaurants, offers innovative and modern dining in an upscale atmosphere.

The Aviary User Reviews

Average rating:
Mindblowing
Neha P. Feb 27, 2013
The Aviary is one of the most unique places in Chicago. Drinks are designed to appeal to customer’s every sensibility both in terms of taste and presentation; one can expect a concussion of interesting tastes and flavors presented in methods ranging from test tubes to long glasses to bubbles to flaming logs. Grant Achatz’ mixologists do a great job using the fast-growing concept of molecular gastronomy to create fantastic drinks. They are all A+. It is also nice to have the option of ordering one drink, three or a combination of seven. The atmosphere too is laid back like that of a high-end bar, with mellow mood lighting. The service is average, not too friendly and could be better. Overall though, its an experience every Chicagoan should try once just to have their minds blown.
Mostly Bad
Seth D. Sep 12, 2012
Here's the amazing part of this review - this lounge may have some of the very best drinks in Chicago and the presentation of said drinks is second to none. Oh, and it’s a beautiful, comfortable and well-designed space. Did I mention the brioche bites were heaven? Having said that, it still gets 1 star. Why you ask? The horrible experience starts with the door man (not to be confused with a host); worsens with the servers who universally act like they are doing you a favor by allowing you into their exclusive space; is then surpassed by the rude management; and finally, the deal is sealed when after receiving notoriously unfriendly service, they add 18% service charge to the bill without informing patrons. Oh, and if you ask whether tip is included, (and this happened on 2 visits) the server will give some canned deceptive statement that tip and service charge aren't the same thing... really? Unless you really like to feel unsatisfied and ripped off, skip this spot - there simply are too many better options in the same genre, where you drink well, and feel appreciated and respected as a patron.
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