As you can probably surmise, I like going out. I like going out to eat and drink. When I worked downtown five days a week, I was better about meeting friends and colleagues for the occasional lunch or to grab a drink after work. Now, that I’m only in the Loop two days a week, that pretty much kills getting together for lunch. (When will people take pity on me and stop scheduling meetings at noon?)
Soooo, I end up going out for drinks after work a bit more than I have in the past. (That is my long-winded justification for writing two blog entries in as many weeks about drinking after work.)
A friend and I went to Townhouse Restaurant and Wine Bar. Aside from the fact that their web site doesn’t know if they are a restaurant or a late-night TV ad for a singles dating line, this place is serviceable. (Now, you go back and click the link. See? I told you.) It’s an open room with tables and a long bar. The floor to ceiling windows let in fading Midwestern light and the room shape guarantees that you’re not sitting in a draft.
The food is a bit overpriced, but not any more so than the dozens of hotel bars downtown. They have some great cocktails, and because they are a chain, they are pretty consistent with the service and length of the pour.
What We Ate
Happy hour is really just an hour: Half price appetizers until 6:00 (well, from 3 until 6, but most of the American public works until 5). We had grilled bruschetta, ahi tacos, and sweet potato fries. The bruschetta is fun. It’s the standard tomato, basil, and onion. But instead of sitting on top of crusty bread, they put it on grilled wedges of extra thick pita. Then, there is a drizzle of reduced balsamic glaze. Would I pay $8 for it? Probably not. Four dollars? For sure! The ahi tacos (four to a plate) say they come with avocado salsa, but it was really just huge chunks of avocado mixed with lime juice on mini corn tortillas. The fries needed salt and only came with ketchup. (I now expect some sort of “housemade” something with my fries. I’m a snob.)
They also serve lunch and dinner options (large plates, salads, and sides). I’ve been here before for lunch–decent, but not crazy amazing.
What We Drank
My friend started with a peach fizzy vodka-based drink and then switched to a cosmo. I had a berry mojito. Large chunks of blackberries at the bottom were a welcome addition until they started getting stuck in my straw. Even if you don’t like mint, this drink was so mellow the mint is not overpowering. For my second round, I went with a pomegranate margarita (no salt… I’m trying to watch my sodium intake… and I laugh with you). It was good, but I liked the mojito better.
Drinks are decent sizes and run about $10. In addition to the full-service bar, they also have champagne and wine by the glass and bottle.
Overall, the Townhouse is conveniently located for after work drinks or if you’re grabbing a show at the Lyric, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to dine there.
Location: 111 S. Wacker Drive. The door is tucked in a ways from the street off of the building’s plaza. If you’re coming from the south, you’ll see the big windows, but if you’re walking from the north, it’s easy to pass right by it.