THE NEIGHBORHOOD JUST GOT A LUSH NEW RESTAURANT AND BAR, AND IT'S WANDER-FUL
by Matt Kirouac
The globe-trotting menu draws inspiration from Latin America, the Middle East and Asia
Old meets new in the form of West Town’s most opulent restaurant opening maybe ever, where old-world wanderlust converges with contemporary cuisine and cocktails. Beatnik, the latest effort from Bonhomme Hospitality Group, the folks behind popular destinations like Celeste and Fulton Market Kitchen, is a grandiose addition to the Chicago Avenue corridor on the Near West Side. From eclectic drinks to transportive, medieval-esque decor, here are six things to know about the new restaurant and bar.
The cocktails at Beatnik are as colorful as they are eclectic; photo by Kailley Lindman
This place evokes medieval-chic, not Game of Thrones-medieval
When most people think of this brand of old-world ambiance, they probably think of Renaissance fairs before craft cocktails and haute hummus. But Beatnik exhibits the glamorous side of that olden era while embracing a bohemian ethos, employing rustic fixtures, massive rugs, plants, lots of natural light, lofty ceilings and large group tables fit for communal feasting. Antiques from around the world include crystal chandeliers salvaged from the Century Plaza Hotel Ballroom in Hollywood and a front facade from a mansion in Bali.
Internationally inspired cocktails take center stage
Courtesy of beverage director Liz Pearce and Jacyara de Oliveira, the drink list at Beatnik features a dizzying array of international spirits, shaken and stirred into playful libations. This includes the Summers in Sweden, a lush gin drink with aquavit, peach, lemon and nutmeg, and the sweet-and-savory Equatorial Gatherings, with tequila, pimento dram, guava and grapefruit.
Copious plants and a year-round courtyard keep things airy; photo by Kailley Lindman
The menu offers a globe-trotting spree
As well traveled as the bar program, Beatnik's kitchen turns out dishes rooted in the Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America, Asia and elsewhere. The handiwork of executive chef Marcos Campos and chef de cuisine Jonathan Meyer, of Black Bull and Broken Shaker, respectively, the menu reads like a nomadic dining journal, from roasted Lebanese-style lamb with sherry-pickled radishes to grilled broccoli with nuoc cham sauce, sunflower seed hummus and spicy puffed rice.
The restaurant takes sustainability seriously
Especially behind the bar, Pearce and Oliveira put concerted eco-friendly efforts into what they’re pouring. To cut down on waste, they infuse extraneous citrus peels and zest into spirits, and preserve summery ingredients for use in the colder months.
The wine list is also quite global
Pearce stocks bottles from New Zealand, Sicily, Serbia, Australia, Macedonia and more. Expect about 15 options by the glass too.
There’s an enclosed courtyard that will be open year-round
Like light therapy in rainy cities such as Seattle and Portland, Chicago needs outdoor ambiance in winter to help alleviate seasonal woes. Thanks to its glassed-in, ivy-clad courtyard overlooking Chicago Avenue, Beatnik lets locals get their “alfresco” fix without actually risking frostbite. Bursting with light colors and plants, the alcove evokes courtyards in Spain.
1604 W. Chicago Ave.
Beatnik is now open Tuesday–Friday from 5 PM–2 AM, Saturday from 11–3 AM and Sunday from 11–2 AM.