Wine was once such an expensive commodity that the rich conspicuously spilled it on their golden capes instead of wasting it invisibly in their stomachs. Afford enough wine to braggadociously spill it with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of wine and small plates at The Tasting Room, located in the West Loop on Randolph Street.
The Tasting Room curates an enormous selection of wines by the glass and hundreds of wines by the bottle, alongside flights of three small tastings composed around a regional, seasonal, or varietal theme. Try a white-wine flight of sparkling selections hewn in Champagne, France ($28), for a treat that bursts with fruity notes like a symphony chaired by Carmen Miranda. Fans of darker vino may savor a red flight from Piedmont and Barbaresco, Italy ($20), a rich and elegant trio sure to please even the most chiseled Bavarian witch hunter with its rich aromas and tastes of sandalwood, forest fruit, dark chocolate, bing cherries, and more. White and red wines by the glass are as plentiful as Abe Lincoln ghosts at the White House, with prices that range from $9 to $30. If you’re lost among the bountiful grapes and blinded by bursting Champagne bubbles, simply consult a member of the friendly and expert staff, many of whom are trained sommeliers dedicated to the alchemy of grape blood.
The cavernous space The Tasting Room inhabits only adds to the ambience, with exposed ducts and brickwork offset by luxurious furniture, candles, and warm lighting. Stick to wine and potentially potable conversation, or choose to pair your drinks with a small plate of upscale comfort food. Slurp up Marc's Mussels ($14/pound, $21/two pounds), served two ways: 'Matilda Ale mussels with "moody" blue cheese, or Sofie' Saison mussels with basil and Lemon Myrtle. Or share a strawberry martini sundae with fresh strawberries, caramel brittle, and a 100-year balsamic drizzle ($10). The staff members will, of course, happily recommend which eats pair best with which wines. For party members uninterested in the ways of the oaken barrel, a plentiful stock of craft beers, rare spirits, and seasonal cocktails crafted by mixologist and Tasting Room director Nick Luedde are also available.
The Tasting Room Chicago
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.
1415 W Randolph St.
Chicago, Illinois 60607-1413Get Directions