Treat yourself to the most accurate recreation of Japanese culture this side of Kankakee. For only $20, today's Groupon lets you indulge in $50 worth of sake, karaoke, and authentic Japanese cuisine at Chicago's new (and only) sake lounge, Murasaki, located just off the Magnificent Mile at 211 E. Ontario St. Visit the spot Chicago magazine calls a "little slice of heaven" for a lesson in the art of the Japanese alcoholic rice beverage. The mother-son owner-duo will happily fill you in on the details about the delicate liquor—from different grades to sake cocktail concoctions to the tastiest food complements.
Fifty bucks goes a long way at Murasaki, where the small tapas-like, exotic Otsumami plates (edamame, shumai, and fried chicken bites) range from $3 to $6. Cocktails go for $12 each, while bottles of sake are listed anywhere from $15 to $250. Today's Groupon could more than cover an evening for two, indulging in Otsumami and affordable sake. Or you can splurge on a pricier sake bottle and apply your $50 value toward the total bill.
Behind the sake, Murasaki boasts a soundproof karaoke room in back, a tribute to the Streeterville karaoke bar that existed before the place was transformed into a sake lounge in May. The room holds up to 16 guests. Buy two Groupons and you can get an hour's worth of singing for your friends (you'll need to put down a $100 deposit, which you get back as long as you don't burn the place down with a fiery rendition of The Roof is on Fire by Bizzy Bone, Westbam, Billy Joel, or Uproar).
Whether you share a bottle of sake and munch on Otsumami, or take the whole crew to the karaoke room to belt out beautiful renditions of your favorite songs including "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, and "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, get in on today's Groupon deal.
The authenticity of the family-run joint is what really gives Murasaki its charm. Chicago magazine says, "The space—dim lighting, plush high-back benches, low tables, flatscreens showing anime with the sound off, supplemented by background music—feels like a retro Tokyo hotel bar."
Three Yelpers give the brand-new Murasaki and its sake experts a near-perfect 4.5 stars:
- Two words...Absolutely Amazing. Murasaki Sake lounge is the closest you can ever get to Japan, really... The interior is beautiful with couches that you can sit back, relax and enjoy an amazing cocktail or sake with your friends. – Yumi Y.
- This place is fantastic. The staff is awesome; they have an amazing selection of sake, plus great Japanese whiskey and a nice little bar menu. – Jonathan W.
- A small group of close friends can chill on couches and share a bottle of sake or whiskey and actually talk to each other. Plus, the bar food (dumplings and now I hear ramen is coming! God so sweet...) – Byung S.
Raising a Sake-Rice-Child
In order to raise premium sake, parents must give their rice-child plenty of love and attention. The process begins during sake-gestation, when parents can help rice-fetus development by discussing Japanese philosophy, playing Mozart's works that were translated into Japanese, or giving the rice-pregnant belly a gentle Japanese massage. After the miracle of life (rice-fetus emerges as rice-baby), it's important to fill the rice-child's life with a broad range of activities, such as team sports, musical instruments, and self-fermentation classes so the rice-child doesn't end up with an undesirable rice-career (pudding, crispy treats, etc.). Once the rice-child becomes a rice-adult at a traditional coming-of-age ceremony (family and friends come together for a morning service followed by dancing and prizes), the mature rice kernel is ready to be harvested and transformed into delicious sake.