The Best Dry Bars in Chicago

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Introduction: Keep your cool while you sip on drinks with these spots’ refreshing wet-bar apres work options

Le Parker Meridien New York City is currently in the midst of a slew of wet-bar apron-wearing elite, and it’s no wonder the trend has caught on. Not only does the wet-bar apron itself keep drinkers’ hands free, it creates an elegant and sophisticated ambiance. But can the “dry bar” concept truly be as elegant and sophisticated?
The answer is yes, it can. The wet-bar apron in fact adds to the décor of a bar, whereas the dry bar tends to retrofit an existing atmosphere with a smattering of poufs, chairs, and bartops (places where one sits for cocktails). The dry bar becomes more contemporary by creating a specific environment that allows for creative mixing and matching of furnishings. The result? The chic and cool atmosphere of a bar.
“The dry bar can be a great space for the hipper and more casual cocktail party,” says Dalatano Fisher, head interior designer at Interior Design New York. “I created my own [dry bar], and it was a fun experience.”

dry bar le parker meridien
dry bar le parker meridien

The Le Parker Meridien

The luxury hotel and restaurant, located in New York City’s Upper East Side, is known for its delicious cuisine and luxurious décor. The restaurant is owned and operated by the same people who own Le Parker Meridien Hotel & Residences . The décor is a mix of artistic, modern and classic; the furniture is upholstered in Italian leather and all the tables are glass. The place is luxurious! With its grand piano, chandeliers and glass tabletops, it also has an air of sophistication. The restaurant has a classy but relaxed feel. The music is soft, and it’s not too loud. The service is also excellent; the waiters are ready to assist you at any time.

dry bar le parker meridien
dry bar le parker meridien

West Loop’s The Underground

The Underground is a bar and restaurant located in Chicago’s west loop that offers a wet-bar apron as part of its aprés work scene. The bar is decorated with wood, brick and leather; it has brick arches, high ceilings and black-and-white photographs. The place is dark, quiet and intimate—a great spot to relax and enjoy a drink.
Its music program is diverse, too: the bar serves up a collection of fine wine and martinis, but also has 20 different kinds of craft beer on tap. Wait staff are well-versed in wine and beer, adding to the experience. The staff’s knowledge of each type of drink makes it easier for patrons to choose a flavor or beverage they like (or choose something new!). Each glass or bottle is served with proper care and attention.
The Underground’s bartenders are experts in the fine art of mixing cocktails. They use fresh ingredients, and apply the same passion they would to classic drinks, yet can make a drink taste as unique as their customers.
Bartender John Schwartz has been bartending at The Underground since 2003. He is “one of those people who once he’s behind that bar doesn’t want to be anywhere else—he likes it, and is good at it. He takes pride in his craft, as you can tell from how he makes drink after drink look and taste different,” said co-owner Tom Nakashima.

dry bar le parker meridien
dry bar le parker meridien