Olive or Twist pairs its 36 unique martinis, 20 bottled microbrews, and international wines with contemporary American fare concocted by chef Robert Nava. Shaken or stirred libations range from the Thin Mint martini, which comes in a Girl Scout box, to the Florida Key Lime Pie martini, a dram of Bacardi rum, Midori liqueur, and chocolate liqueur garnished with lime ($9–$11). Diners can also choose from brews including 3 Floyd's Alpha King pale ale ($5) to accompany small plates such as the potato-wrapped prawns with spinach, artichokes, and mustard-seed butter ($10). Tenderloin sliders topped with blue cheese and red-onion confit ($9) annex tummies before calling for reinforcements of classic American sandwiches ($6–$12) or large-plate entrees such as the jerk ribs with an auxiliary unit of saffron shoestring potatoes ($18). For dessert, sweet teeth delight in the banana split ($8) and apple-and-cheese strudel ($5), named after Frank Zappa's overlooked fifth child. Dinner patrons should call ahead for reservations amid Olive or Twist's low-lit tables and brick walls.
The LBGT-friendly Velvet Rope invites revelers with open minds and refined tastes to enhance their evenings with the lounge's slate of fine wines, international cuisine, and elaborate entertainment in the form of go-go dancers and drag shows. Beneath the suffuse lighting of tulip chandeliers, the bustling main floor hosts a full bar, where 35 specialty martinis brim with creative ingredients—such as cookie-dough vodka and absinthe—while the private VIP loft accommodates dozens with a dedicated server, a private television, and plush furnishings for late-night pillow forts. Food and drink packages deck out special events, and the nightclub's calendar overflows with karaoke nights, drink specials, and live performances.
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.
Executive chef Victor Perdue fills Viaggio with fresh comestibles to placate palates that long for southern Italy. Embark on an eating excursion with an appetizer of meatballs and romaine salad smothered in red-wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil ($10). Troublesome tongues can be silenced with a selection of pastas, such as spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccini, which can be topped with your choice from various sauces—alfredo ($16), bolognese ($18), or arrabiata ($14) are just three members of the sauce squad. Savor humankind’s dominance over bovine biker gangs with the veal marsala, feauring a sautéed calf loin on a plate with dry marsala wine and mushrooms ($23), or tap into your inner lasagnavore with the house-made pasta’s baked blend of meat sauce and ricotta and provolone cheeses ($18). Seafood, steaks, and chops round out the Itali-centric slate of sustenance.
Founded by an Italian immigrant love-struck by the blues, Rosa’s Lounge gathers minor-key maestros and their fans into a rollicking joint celebrated by Frommer’s as "one of the best joints in town for spirited, authentic Chicago blues." Throughout its cozy, low-lit caverns, guests rock to the soulful strains of the guitar, the impassioned wail of the harmonica, and the haunting tinkle of the baritone glockenspiel. Since 1984, performers from a wide spectrum of styles have strode across the stage, from traditional Delta musicians such as Pinetop Perkins and David Honeyboy Edwards to the latter-day Chicago-school of blues folk such as Billy Branch and Sugar Blue.
Critics from the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Tribune are mixed on the food at Sawtooth but like the atmosphere. OpenTable reviewers give it an average of 4.1 stars, and 82% of Urbanspooners like the restaurant. Yelpers give it an average of 3.5 stars.