America's Most Exciting New Bar

By Kate Krader Posted July 06, 2007

There's no lack of excellent bars in New York City right now—including the wonderful PDT, whose drinks list was masterminded by Food & Wine spirits consultant Jim Meehan, and Death & Co., whose devotion to bitters was just documented in the New York Times by another F&W cocktail guru, Rob Willey. But the country's most exciting bar right at this moment is the The Violet Hour which just opened in Chicago's Wicker Park. Toby Maloney, the mixologist, is a veteran of Manhattan's Milk & Honey, Pegu Club and Freeman's and, according to some experts, he's as good a bartender as there is anywhere. On a recent eGullet post, Maloney outlined his cocktail menu, which includes a Manhattan mixed with housemade peach bitters and a rinse of Laphroaig (he's reportedly adding eye-droppers of the single malt whisky to a few of his drinks). As if that weren't enough, The Violet Hour's bar-food menu was designed by Justin Large, who cooks at Avec, one of Chicago's best places to eat; I've heard stories about his insanely good deep-fried pickles and croquettes stuffed with chorizo. I wasn't necessarily looking for a new place to drink, but I do hear that Manhattan calling my name.

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