The Violet Hour

What is one to do when it’s Monday night and you’re done with beer? You head to Violet Hour with your friend who is from out of town. (He soon moves to the city and life is good).

Erik and I had both been meaning to go here and neither of us have been. He’s originally from Chicago, but was, at the time, living in Minneapolis. We started our night down the street at Tapster (a pour-your-own bar).

Being that it was Monday night, Google told me that The Violet Hour wasn’t too busy. We were hopeful there wouldn’t be a line outside. So, we made our way there.

Walking down the street, I knew there would be no signage. I also knew that it was pretty much across the street from Big Star (the taco place). I slowed down as we neared where I had always seen a line form. It was there I saw it…a door handle. OMG, was this really happening? Were we really going to The Violet Hour?

I pulled the door opened and we huddled just inside. Oh, it was a hallway/entrance of sorts. At the end of the entrance, there were curtains and a main sitting on the stool. He was just reading, NBD. There definitely as no line.

The bouncer asked how many of us there were and checked out IDs. We waited while he went to check if there were any open tables. He came back telling us it’d be about 5 minutes. We could totally wait 5 minutes.

And then, we were led inside. OMG, it was beautiful and the ambiance. Per the internet, “The Violet Hour serves artisanal cocktails in the heart of Wicker Park. Rooted in pre-prohibition style libations, the James Beard Award-winning bar program features a seasonally rotating cocktail list, as well as an extensive selection of approachable and sought-after spirits.” Also, there are “house rules” that talk about proper attire and no cell phone usage. That is why there are no pictures of the inside or of our beverages (meaning you just have to get yourself there).

We entered and it was loud, yet quiet at the same time. The were high backed chairs in pairs making it seem like you were in the room by yourselves. It gave an air of being isolated though you totally were not. The lights were very dim and candles to help set the mood. The cocktail menus were in front of you, single sheet and seemed daunting on its own. And then you notice the leather bound book and open that up and your mind is blown. There were even more cocktails, categorized by spirit inside the book.

The service is nice. There’s water waiting for you at the table with two fresh glasses. The staff is very nice and accommodating and will walk you through the menu or give recommendations if asked. It’s good to note that all cocktails are $13 so it’s understandable if you don’t spend the entire night there though you may want to. It’ll add up. They even have small bites available if you’re feeling peckish or just want snacks with your drinks.

I tried the Square Peg. It as a strong, well-balanced cocktail and I was sad when it was gone. I seriously cannot wait to go back and try more of their cocktails. It blew my favorite distillery out of the water.

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