First Look: Sparrow

Window at Sparrow Bar in the Gold Coast of Chicago

Our Rating

9 Atmosphere

7 Food & Drinks

5 Music & Entertainment

All the rum you want, none of the Hawaiian shirts. We stopped into Sparrow on their opening night and were instantly charmed. The décor is evocative of a 1930’s Havana hotel, but not in an overdramatic kitschy way. Rather, this new tippling spot does exactly what it sets out to do: become your new neighborhood go-to.

The vibe is effortless cool. Dimly lit and inviting, with little touches like a board of hotel keys or a vintage phone booth to add just enough interest and Cuban flair.  The bar is fun to catch up with a bigger group like the one we had, but there are smaller tables throughout for a more intimate experience. I’d wager a lot of first dates are going to start at this place.

And they know their rums too. We asked for an off the menu Diplomatico and they pulled some great stuff from the back for us to try. The cocktail menu is rum-focused but doesn’t slip into full-on tiki territory. The wines tended towards the European, and they even had some well thought out draft beers (it is from the experts from Bangers & Lace after all) to appeal to all tipplers.

You can tell when local veterans open a space as they capture their audience near perfectly. And Sparrow, reviving an Art Deco hotel lobby in the Gold Coast, will become an instant classic for the well-heeled looking to escape the typical Viagra Triangle nonsense with a sophisticated cocktail.

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Credit: Vincent Chou

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