If you have a sibling (and I hope you do… they’re very useful), you know that they can be very convincing and sometimes manipulative. Mostly because your sibling has known you your entire life and knows how to push your buttons. They know how to make you do things that you normally wouldn’t do. For example, when your sibling says, “Let’s grab a drink after work.” And, that drink becomes… well… plural, plus food, plus a change of venue and more drinks.
OK, I’ll be honest. It wasn’t that difficult for my sister. She said, “Let’s grab a drink after work.” And, I said, “Sure. And, maybe we might want to switch up from a cocktail to wine.” And, she said, “Oh, and it would be cheaper to just get a bottle of wine rather than a glass.” And, I said, “Right. We should probably eat something. I’m getting a bit hungry.” And, then she said, “You know, we’ve been here a while. Want to try a new bar?” We started out at 437 Rush because I had a gift card. And, then we ended at Gilt Bar.
437 Rush is a great place to go for after work drinks. It has a decent size bar and quite a few tables in the bar area. They have happy hour specials until 7:00 p.m. The wine list runs the range from $8 a glass to $300 a bottle.
Gilt Bar is just where the hipster cool kids hang out. Even if you don’t feel hipster or cool, you should check it out. They have Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling (yes, my interior designer sister pointed them out to me and named them). The bartenders know what they’re doing (and they wear bow ties and vests… so, you’re guaranteed to be better dressed than at least three people in the room).
What We Ate
We had appetizers off of the bar menu at 437 Rush, including bruschette di caponata, calamari, and East Coast oysters. The calamari was a surprise because it isn’t breaded. (And, by surprise, I mean a pleasant one.) The calamari sits in a basil broth with a bit of olives and tomato. The oysters are served with the traditional horseradish, cocktail sauce, and mini bottle of Tabasco. And, the bruschetta had a bit of veggie caponata so that was lovely and different.
But, you don’t go out for after work drinks to eat the food. (Well, fine. Sometimes I do.)
What We Drank
Emily had an Effen dirty martini and I started with a limoncello martini because I have a stalker-type relationship with limoncello. It is one of the truly blessed liquor concoctions that the good Lord has seen fit to place upon this earth. This “martini” (let’s use that term loosely just because it’s served in a martini glass does not a martini make) is made with limoncello and ginger ale. Brilliant!
Then, we split a bottle of Louis M. Martini cabernet sauvignon. And, then there was the glass of Broquel Malbec. To be fair, we were there for quite a while.
After which we headed to Gilt Bar where we snaked some seats at the bar (mostly through sheer force of my sister’s shining personality). I had a wonderful cocktail that had about 90 ingredients in it. (I only slightly exaggerate. But, when the bartender uses an eye dropper to add something to a drink, you know that there has been some thought put behind it.) Our cocktails were served in lovely small cocktail glasses that were reminiscent of the 1940s–with the extra in a small carafe on the side. I’m a sucker for a carafe on the side.
Locations: 437 Rush is at 437 Rush (didn’t see that one coming, did you?) and Gilt Bar is at 230 W. Kinzie. Valet parking or cabs are recommended as parking is neither plentiful nor easy.