Take a good look at the official rendering of what to expect at the upcoming opening of The Aviary, Chicago’s top cocktail bar set to debut in the Mandarin Oriental this summer.
Designed by Tihany Design, the firm behind Per Se, Daniel, and Aureole’s design, it’s reminiscent of hotel bars of yore. It’s a curious stylistic choice for a cocktail bar known for its experimental drinks, though one that might be trending right now. Restaurants lately are looking to the past in both concept and design, like with Thomas Keller’s upcoming Mad Men-inspired restaurant and super luxe time machine The Grill. Eater critic Bill Addison noted the start of this return to comfort back in January 2016, writing, “Restaurant design has spent enough time splitting its personality between the country-meets-city Americana of reclaimed woods offset by white subway tile, and a stark, steel-girder minimalism. At last, the style is beginning to swing back toward more posh, sumptuous rooms, decked in soft textiles and studded with quiet luxuries from earlier eras.”
Regardless, the rendering is certainly one step in the process to opening, which is supposed to happen late summer. At this location, restaurateur Nick Kokonas and chef Grant Achatz will serve breakfast and lunch drinks, particularly ones that don’t showcase alcohol, as well as a robust evening cocktail selection akin to the drinks that made the Aviary world-famous. The Office, its smaller speakeasy counterpoint, will only be open in the evening, with 45 seats to the Aviary’s 95.