Chicago is blessed with a good number of bars devoted to craft cocktails, but when I want an interesting, creative and lovingly made drink, I return again and again to what I consider the Holy Trinity – The Violet Hour, Bar de Ville and The Whistler. I’d like to nominate The Whistler as a GNR.
I could go on about how the house cocktails are inventive, complex, interesting, balanced. And how the classics are expertly crafted (I had a Sidecar at The Whistler that has made me forsake all others). But here’s what usually happens with my first two sips of a drink at The Whistler (and maybe this sounds weird, but): The first sip elicits a satisfied “mmmmm” of delight. The second sip brings a “hmmmmm?” a brief moment of wonder and curiosity about what’s in the glass. And it’s not just me. I see the same response from my drinking buddies - a brief pause, an audible "hmmm" before we start passing our glasses around so we can try each others drinks.
Along with the terrific cocktails, The Whistler also has an intimate neighborhood-bar feel (at least in the early evenings, when I am most often there). Paul and the other bartenders are warm, patient with my questions, encourage my curiosity, and eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm. I especially love sitting down, naming the spirit (most often gin or bourbon) and letting Paul surprise me with something wonderful.
I think it’s really cool that they are presenting themed cocktail parties (I missed Tiki Night, sadly) and cocktail classes, suggesting a commitment to educating patrons and to being a community resource.
I’ve had many good times and many wonderful drinks at the Whistler, as have other folks, which you can read about here:The Whistler Thread
Just writing up this nomination makes me want to head over for a drink right now. If only it were a bit closer.
2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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