The Food Guy: Bars to Celebrate the Holidays in Style

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Sometimes a celebration comes in the form of thoughtful cocktails and a few well-chosen bites, rather than a blowout dinner. And if you want to get dressed up and put on a dress or a jacket, these two new options provide plenty of opportunities to raise a glass in style, according to NBC 5's Food Guy Steve Dolinsky.

One such option, the Mile High Club, draws inspiration from world travel. The drinks are certainly elevated - and the view ain’t bad either - inside the new pop-up, which is located on the 46th floor of the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in the Gold Coast.

“It’s a speakeasy concept; the idea was to bring a little bit of the elegance and class Chicago is known for,” said Head Bartender Ricardo Acevedo.

After starting with a drink in the lobby, the first experience is intended as a retro throwback.

“The first one’s gonna be inspired by 1950s Pan Am-style waiting lounge. Once you come to this side, it’s gonna be a little bit darker, a little bit sexy,” he said.

The menu takes its cues from the Seven Wonders of the World.

“Brazil, we’ll use rainforest honey from the Amazon. Vespasian - which is inspired by the Roman Coliseum - we will pair the cocktail with popcorn with Grana Padano and a little bit of black truffles on top of it. For the Incas, the Macchu Pichu cocktail, we’ll bring a tiradito with aji amarillo and scallops,” said Acevedo.

In the West Loop, the two Michelin-starred ever now has a sibling right next door: after lounge – definitely not your dad’s idea of a neighborhood bar.

“We hope that we’re known for the promise of really high-quality service,” said owner Michael Muser. “When we designed the cocktail lounge, one of the things we wanted to make sure we could deliver was that same level of service in a cocktail experience.”

There are plenty of top shelf liquors.

“We have classic cocktails, then we have a set of food focused cocktails,” he said.

And while your neighborhood bar might have wings, the chefs here think differently.

“Elevated a bit, so here we don’t have chicken wings, but we do have these incredible duck wings,” he said.

Also, a magnificent caviar service, tender chicken satay skewers or meaty-rich wagyu ones. Even a maitake mushroom bao that nods to the kitchen’s appreciation for Asian flavors.

“The bar presented us with an opportunity to have fun and play,” said Muser.

Reservations for both places are required on the weekends, though you can walk into after during the week since more seating is available.

Here's where you can go:

Mile High Club at Four Seasons

120 E. Delaware Pl.

Thursdays – Saturdays until Jan. 28

After Lounge

1338 W. Fulton St.

Tuesday-Thursday: 4 p.m. - midnight

Friday-Saturday: 4 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Food is served until 10 p.m.

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