The Violet Hour

A speakeasy famous for its world-class mixology in Wicker Park

(Above, a time lapse video of graffiti artists re-painting the front of The Violet Hour, from the official web site.)

Juliet & Romeo is the gin drink that made this bar world famous for its mixology. The blend of Beefeater, mint, cucumber and rose water has consistently been voted one of the best cocktails in the country. It’s true — and it might be the best $12 I ever spent on booze. Tell the bartender what you’re looking for, and he’ll help you out. They’re surprisingly good at guessing your mood.

The wait can be hours long, but if you give the host your phone number, he or she will call you when a table opens up. Come early on a weekday for drinks after work, when the bar has a considerably shorter wait (more like 10 to 15 minutes). The bar has a whole list of rules patrons must follow, but they actually make the experience more enjoyable. You’re asked (scratch that, I mean “told”) to turn off your cell phone before you arrive. They also won’t seat incomplete parties or unexpected, late-arriving guests.

Hint: It’s a speakeasy, which means the entrance is a little bit of a secret. The video above shows the entrance being repainted, so try to remember the shape of the wooden wall you see. That’s your only clue to find the door (which also sometimes changes locations).

-Tara for TKGO City Guides

1520 N. Damen Ave., Chicago. (773) 252-1500. No reservations accepted.
Official site >
Cocktail menu >
Google Maps >

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