Inside Chicago's retro-inspired bars
In this age of Instagram, Mason jars and handlebar mustaches, it’s no surprise that retro-inspired bars are hot again. Chicago’s been hooked on craft cocktails since The Violet Hour opened in 2007, and many craft cocktail bars draw recipes from historic sources. Prohibition-era speakeasies and “Mad Men”-esque drinks have been the reigning styles for the past several years, but a new wave of bars expands the flashback to include the late 1930s tiki craze, 1970s glamour and even decades as recent as the early 1990s. The trend shows no signs of losing steam. And why should it, when everyone knows a history lesson goes down easier with a stiff drink in hand?
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Prohibition Era (1920-1933): Untitled
Retro drink: Pistol Smoke ($13). You might not be able to smoke in bars any longer, but dim lighting and a haze of tobacco smoke would have been the norm during Prohibition. Conjure that vibe with this blended scotch and chamomile cocktail shaken with black and gold tobacco, lemon juice, simple syrup and vanilla.