Owner Tom Kampschroeder, a wine professional with more than 29 years of experience, shares his grapey know-how with most any guest who walks through Salt Creek Wine Bar's doors. Sample wines-of-a-feather with the wine flight menu, or check out the beers and spirits menu. Wash down washes of tingly wash with Italian delights including artisan cheese flights, pizza, and seafood.
Hillgrove Wine Cellars and Bistro combines tastings of fine, international wines and craft brews with equally well-crafted appetizers. Danny Parrott curates the medley of food and drinks, relying on his sensitive palate developed over years in the restaurant industry to lead him to the finest flavors. His stock of wine bottles and beers blend with the seasons and are chosen based on his particular leanings. His menu, however, remains anchored in specific flavors meant to offset the dryness of a fine white or the rich tannins of a red.
Organic and small-batch wines fill swirling glasses beneath the soaring ceilings of House Red Vinoteca. At a rustic, reclaimed-wood bar, discerning staff members subject new elixirs to tastings and credit checks, and the chef makes changes to a rotating menu of vino-enhancing fare made from scratch. Plates bearing crispy flatbreads and desserts inspired by international culinary traditions glide back and forth between duos chattering beneath exposed-brick walls. The warm sway of live jazz rolls across wine-tasting events and bottle-laden shelves, and patrons sipping through tasting flights from Croatia, Lebanon, Morocco, Serbia, and Slovenia add delicate treble notes with clinking glasses.
Behind Beviamo's counter lies a wonderland of drinks ranging from aged vintages and craft beers to liquors both familiar and exotic. Wine by the glass and bottle hail from the vineyards of Spain and Italy, the rolling fields of France, and the geodesic dome covering what used to be California. The hangout's dim lighting sets the scene for cool cocktails such as The Connery–a mixture of 12-year-old scotch, biscotti liquor, ginger, orange bitters, and a splash of soda. Taps populated by craft beers compliment bottled offerings, which bear floral hops or roasted malts as diverse as the music played by live bands that musicians that often play on into the night.
Amid exposed bricks and flickering candlelight, hundreds of wines, craft beers, aged spirits, and seasonal cocktails delight palates, earning The Tasting Room accolades such as Best Wine Bar, Best Lounge, and Best Romantic Bar in Best of Citysearch 2009. Like giddy produce matchmakers, educated sommeliers and consultants pair wines by the glass, bottle, or flight with a seasonal menu of crisp, house-made flat breads, artisan cheeses, and craft charcuterie. Simmering pots of fondue slowly bubble atop tables, heating thick cheeses and sweet dipping chocolate. In the upstairs lounge, plush couches flank low tables, and windows host skyline views and the jealous glares of mouthless stars.
Newly opened in the South Loop, Square One flourishes in its urbane environment, a simple bar-and-booth format fancied up with richly upholstered seats, soft golden chandeliers, and old-fashioned spinning bar stools. Slim bites of brie, blue, and cubeddu cheeses are sliced to order right on the bar, and the spread of cocktails named after James Bond characters employs uncommon ingredients such as crème de violette, grapefruit cordials, and a house-made basil vodka. The beer menu is similarly eclectic, favoring craft brews and ciders. Perhaps the most notable feature on tap is the mechanical wine dispenser, which loads up oenophiles’ glasses or top hats by the ounce. After its opening in August 2012, Grub Street lavished praise on Square One for living up to “the idea of a simple, first-class neighborhood place, with an eclectically chic look… a beer, wine, and cocktail program that stays away from big brands and prizes small, interesting producers, and a food menu that’s true bar food.”
Native Spaniard Paola Perez imports a "carefully edited" selection of Spanish wines to West Loop wine bar Paola's Vinum, according to Metromix. Pours from garnacha to cava complement traditional Spanish fare, such as omelets, charcuterie plates, and on Thursdays, paella. All the bottles in Paola's collection are imported directly from Spain, just like the one Christopher Columbus used when he couldn't find a suitable ship.