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  • The Aviary

    Post #1 - April 22nd, 2011, 3:23 pm
    Post #1 - April 22nd, 2011, 3:23 pm Post #1 - April 22nd, 2011, 3:23 pm
    Per Grant Achatz, The Aviary opens tomorrow at 6pm.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what people think (especially those more knowledgeable about cocktails than me...which is most people). We had a couple of drinks here after our dinner at Next and I came away very impressed.

    Based on what's going on at Next I can't even imagine what the wait will be tomorrow night.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #2 - April 22nd, 2011, 3:53 pm
    Post #2 - April 22nd, 2011, 3:53 pm Post #2 - April 22nd, 2011, 3:53 pm
    any idea if Next diners will be given preference for seating before or after dinner at Aviary?
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #3 - April 22nd, 2011, 4:00 pm
    Post #3 - April 22nd, 2011, 4:00 pm Post #3 - April 22nd, 2011, 4:00 pm
    No idea. But I will say that dinner/wine pairings at Next followed by drinks at the Aviary was a formidable one-two punch. Best not to have any plans for early the next morning. :wink:
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #4 - April 22nd, 2011, 4:13 pm
    Post #4 - April 22nd, 2011, 4:13 pm Post #4 - April 22nd, 2011, 4:13 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:any idea if Next diners will be given preference for seating before or after dinner at Aviary?


    This wasn't specifically addressed, but I got the impression that this would not be the case when I toured the space on Wednesday...however, the reverse does appear to be true (or at least will be in the future). Nick has said in the Next thread that tables for dinner at Next will occasionally become available to Aviary customers.
  • Post #5 - April 22nd, 2011, 11:16 pm
    Post #5 - April 22nd, 2011, 11:16 pm Post #5 - April 22nd, 2011, 11:16 pm
    Once again, loads of questions. What are the prices? What is the wait time for some of these drinks? How much space is there? What will the turnaround be? What snacks will be served with the drinks? How extensive is the drinks list? Are all cocktails unique and complex or will there be simple offerings as well?

    Braver souls than I will no doubt report back imminently, hungover and many dollars poorer than they began their night.
  • Post #6 - April 23rd, 2011, 9:04 am
    Post #6 - April 23rd, 2011, 9:04 am Post #6 - April 23rd, 2011, 9:04 am
    I belive they answered some of those questions on their facebook page. Maximum capacity is 80 people. Drinks range from $13 to $18 in price. 30 different drinks on the menu, and there will be $3 small plates. Of what, i'm not exactly sure of yet and i'm sure someone will report on the turnaround time...
  • Post #7 - April 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am
    Post #7 - April 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am Post #7 - April 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am
    So I guess it would behoove those of us who barely use Facebook to check in via that site more often!
  • Post #8 - April 23rd, 2011, 1:46 pm
    Post #8 - April 23rd, 2011, 1:46 pm Post #8 - April 23rd, 2011, 1:46 pm
    "Have you guys figured out a way to tell people about Sunday without sounding like you're bragging?"

    It was a valid question posed by one of my friends a few days after the Sunday in question (April 10th). The consensus answer- 'No.' This was one of the coolest nights of my life, and there's just not really a way to downplay how fortunate we were to experience it.

    Apparently securing an opening weekend ticket to Next didn't use up the entirety of my good luck for 2011. There was just enough left to somehow stumble into a tour of the underbelly of Next & Aviary led by Grant Achatz himself AND end up sampling cocktails at Aviary during a friends & family test run.

    Given the generous wine pours during dinner, details are a bit difficult to remember...this is a best effort recollection.

    As we were finishing our coffee and tea, we asked one of the servers if we could see the kitchen. One of those 'it never hurts to ask questions' inspired by the fact that we'd seen a few other tables get up and go in that direction. The response was that they'd check and see what was going on back there.

    Shortly thereafter we were led to the kitchen, and introduced to Chef Beran and Chef Achatz.

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    We marveled at the kitchen, as Chef Beran explained the duck press.

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    And thus, we shook the chefs' hands, personally thanked them for the meal, and snapped a couple quick pictures- perfectly content to end the evening on that note. But through some turn of events that none of us can explicitly recall, Grant offered to show us around the restaurant.

    I'm positive the shock was visible on our faces. Somebody had the presence of mind to say yes, and we were suddenly following him downstairs to the prep kitchen, and then into the ice room. We were introduced to one of the of the Aviary chefs who showed us some of the things they were doing with ice- the hollow egg used for the In The Rocks cocktail, milk pre-frozen onto the side of a glass, cinnamon stock ice pellets, and some other custom molds.

    Grant told us about the giant walk-in cooler that was too expensive to tear out, so it was left in. Humorously, its only current function is to chill glassware.

    We were brought into the liquor stockroom, where he singled out a few rare spirits, and explained why they were excited to use them.

    Image

    Throughout the entire tour, Grant's passion and excitement about these two projects was visible. He was eager to talk about the inspirations for rethinking the usual approach to bars & cocktails and willing to answer any question we posed. This was most evident in the science lab/office.

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    This machine is a Rotary Evaporator...most often found in chemistry labs, here it was currently being used to extract a root beer essence.

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    The next stop was the speakeasy room, which will be called The Office. This is a completely separate drinking environment- invite or private party only. Drinks will be crafted by a bartender, armed with a variety of tinctures that will be on display behind the bar.

    Image

    Grant stepped away for a moment, and then returned with a cardboard box full of glass jars containing tinctures. He opened up a couple of them for us to smell.

    Finally, he led us upstairs into The Aviary, which was having a friends and family test run.

    As you probably know, Aviary has no bar. Drinks are made by the chefs/mixologists behind this grate, and you do not interact with them.

    Image

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    There is a standing area, The Gallery, with a few tall tables at the entrance. The rest of the room is sit-down.

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    As Grant explained some of the ideas behind Aviary, this contraption was brought to the table:

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    It produced a warm rooibos tea based cocktail that was very comforting.

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    After finishing those off, we were told there was a table available for us, if we wished to stay for another drink. Not being fools, we accepted that invitation as well.

    The chandelier, as viewed from our table:

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    This is the menu we were shown. Obviously, it might not be the menu Aviary opens with tonight, but it's probably close.

    Cocktails:

    ImageImage

    Bites:

    ImageImage

    We looked over the menu and asked our fantastic server (whose name I unfortunately can't remember) for her recommendations- settling on a POPCORN, TIKI, and STONE PINE.

    Before those arrived, an amuse was delivered to the table. It definitely involved ancho chile in the ice cube, probably had a watermelon element to it, and might have been built upon a cucumber infused vodka. Not particularly spicy, it was actually very refreshing...seemingly perfect for a summer's day.

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    POPCORN: butter, creme fraiche, rum

    ImageImage

    TIKI: macadamia, cinnamon (in the form of some 1,000 ice pellets), swizzle, batavia

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    STONE PINE: yuzu, elderflower, tequila

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    Our fourth party member wasn't drinking, so she ended up with the CHEESECAKE bite.

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    I suppose it's too easy to say that everything was delicious, so I'll try to conjure up some specifics. The Popcorn was creamy and buttery, though it never felt heavy or overly rich. The Tiki's inherent sweetness was nicely balanced by the cinnamon. I think I only had a sip of the Stone Pine...its presentation seemed to invoke a pint of beer, and there were been some hints to that in the flavor too...the tequila did not overwhelm the other ingredients. Actually, I think well-balanced is a good way to describe all the drinks- carefully chosen components working together in harmony.

    The Cheesecake was a nice light (it may have been a foam), creamy, & sweet bite, with a little kick from the balsamic.

    Chef Achatz sat at one of the tables behind us, seemingly relaxing after a long day, but also continuing to work. Craig Schoettler would bring various drinks and bites to his table, and then sit down to discuss them.

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    As midnight neared, our server informed us that that would be closing time. Since it was a friends & family test run night, everything was complimentary, but she would still bring a bill to a table to fully simulate a normal evening. We left a tip equal to the service charge listed on the receipt, thanked Chef Achatz for the hundredth time that evening, and stumbled out into the night- giddy from an amazing meal, an unexpected tour, and extraordinary drinks...feeling like four of the luckiest people in the world.
    "Ah, lamentably no, my gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety" - Homer J. Simpson
  • Post #9 - April 23rd, 2011, 4:59 pm
    Post #9 - April 23rd, 2011, 4:59 pm Post #9 - April 23rd, 2011, 4:59 pm
    Tweet from Grant Achatz at 1:00 this afternoon, "Line is starting to form outside Aviary already"
  • Post #10 - April 23rd, 2011, 5:01 pm
    Post #10 - April 23rd, 2011, 5:01 pm Post #10 - April 23rd, 2011, 5:01 pm
    jtm1631 wrote:Tweet from Grant Achatz at 1:00 this afternoon, "Line is starting to form outside Aviary already"

    LOL . . . not even remotely surprising. :D

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #11 - April 23rd, 2011, 5:11 pm
    Post #11 - April 23rd, 2011, 5:11 pm Post #11 - April 23rd, 2011, 5:11 pm
    Passed by the Aviary at 5pm. Counted 30 people in line and debating on gettng in line myself...
  • Post #12 - April 23rd, 2011, 10:25 pm
    Post #12 - April 23rd, 2011, 10:25 pm Post #12 - April 23rd, 2011, 10:25 pm
    kl1191 wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:any idea if Next diners will be given preference for seating before or after dinner at Aviary?


    This wasn't specifically addressed, but I got the impression that this would not be the case when I toured the space on Wednesday...however, the reverse does appear to be true (or at least will be in the future). Nick has said in the Next thread that tables for dinner at Next will occasionally become available to Aviary customers.



    This was specifically addressed in the Next Facebook wall. The answer is no. Aviary is first come first served.
    Check out my Blog. http://lessercuts.blogspot.com/
    Newest blog: You paid how much?
  • Post #13 - April 24th, 2011, 12:59 am
    Post #13 - April 24th, 2011, 12:59 am Post #13 - April 24th, 2011, 12:59 am
    Worth waiting in that line. Arrived a bit after five, and after a long wait (3 hours or so) had an absolutely excellent time. I will try to collect my booze-addled thoughts in the morning, but every drink, every bite, every social tid-bit was beyond my moderated expectations.
  • Post #14 - April 24th, 2011, 1:01 am
    Post #14 - April 24th, 2011, 1:01 am Post #14 - April 24th, 2011, 1:01 am
    Just finished an amazing night at The Aviary and topping it off with some porky goodness at The Publican, pictures amd report soon to follow.
  • Post #15 - April 24th, 2011, 10:52 am
    Post #15 - April 24th, 2011, 10:52 am Post #15 - April 24th, 2011, 10:52 am
    Grub Street has the full cocktail and bites menu.
  • Post #16 - April 24th, 2011, 12:23 pm
    Post #16 - April 24th, 2011, 12:23 pm Post #16 - April 24th, 2011, 12:23 pm
    We asked our server during dinner about heading over to Aviary and she actually advised against it since it was opening night and a madhouse. We left dinner about 8:30 and the line was about 30 people deep still. Probably over 100 in line when we got to dinner at 6.

    Very anxious to try it.
  • Post #17 - April 24th, 2011, 3:50 pm
    Post #17 - April 24th, 2011, 3:50 pm Post #17 - April 24th, 2011, 3:50 pm
    Tax return in hand, I decided to stimulate the economy by standing in line at Aviary on opening night--quite the splurge, but satisfying. A disclaimer--I'm not a cocktail person at all; beer is my preferred quaff. Moreover, I've never been to Alinea, or anything in the Michelin star-plus range. Thus the thought of myself heading here on its first day in business is almost laughable. That said, I really loved my evening--lovely drinks, satisfying nibbles, and fine company.

    My first drink actually came while waiting in line. As the sun went down, the temperature dropped. Achatz and company responded by bringing out Hot Chocolates from the menu for us, sans alcohol. Buttery, creamy, balanced.

    About two hours after opening, we got a seat--we were relatively close to the front of the line after the first seating was let in, so we were the lucky ones. Pacing, wait times, etc., will take some time to figure out. The sort of ante-room has some high tables with sod on them; complementary drinks await, to warm the palette before sitting down.

    In rough order, I consumed a Rooibos, a Scots Pine, a Blueberry, and a Truffle. In terms of bites, I snarfed one or two each of the Cantaloupe, Potato, Wagyu, Brioche, and Cheesecake.

    Bites first. These must be ordered in groups of three, and are quite petite but packed with awesomeness. The cantaloupe was my least favorite: flavors clashed a bit. The potato bite is literally the World's Greatest Tater Tot: smooth inside, slightly sweet and salty, with the malt vinegar chips acting in lieu of panko. The Wagyu came off as dessert-like to me, the excellent morsel of meat being topped with something on the order of toffee. Brioche surprised me with the smokiness of the salt--think Schlenkerla, beer fans. As the Cheesecake collapsed in my mouth, each distinct level of flavor popped out, then melted into harmony.

    Drinks: Rooibos made for quite the show with its vacuum chamber device. It tasted every bit as good as the presentation looked: herby, citrus rooibos with gin? Warm and soothing, this went down faster than I care to admit. I believe it also contained peppercorns, mint, and perhaps some basil in addition to the listed menu items. Be warned--it's a sizable portion of gin, but the alcohol is utterly, perfectly masked.

    The Scots Pine followed--between the pine needle beer and an egg white, this had a fine creamy head and a slightly thick body. I have only had one pine beer before, from Short's, and found it overwhelming. This tasted like a walk in a Christmas tree lot, in an excellent way, with some slight fruitiness to mellow it out. A nice drink for someone inclined neither towards the sweet nor the boozy end of the drinking spectra.

    The Blueberry came next. A fine presentation, essentially a canteen with clear sides. I'd call this my least favorite drink, but it still went down easily. I'd take the Rooibos over this, unless you really prefer whiskey.

    I ordered the Truffle on a lark--most expensive drink on the menu? Sign me up! Yet another disclaimer--I've really only consumed truffle in oil form, and in the magic mustard from Graziano's. This drink was almost overwhelming, in the nose and on the tongue. Garlic and earth stick out in my mind still. Just a touch of alcoholic heat. Simply prepared, the clear black drink came with a single slice of black truffle in it. I really jumped into the deep end of the truffle pool here.

    I confess, I also Hot Chocolate and a Pineapple thereafter, but they're too fuzzy to remember. The chocolate comes in this quaint cup, and the Pineapple comes in a sort of tipped frustum, an elongated version of the Coffee glass. The glass is filled with water and frozen, and a cylinder of ice is then removed and replaced with drink. They were good, but my memory is too hazy to do them, or the stolen sips from my drinking buddy's glasses, any sort of sensory justice.

    Service was excellent--thorough knowledge all around. Everyone was definitely trying to figure out just what Aviary is, both patrons and servers, but it didn't hinder the fun. Moreover, at the end of the night, the check seemed more than reasonable for the quality of the experience. So yeah, Aviary, pretty cool so far. Definitely high on the list of splurge options.
  • Post #18 - April 24th, 2011, 4:02 pm
    Post #18 - April 24th, 2011, 4:02 pm Post #18 - April 24th, 2011, 4:02 pm
    mtgl wrote:Everyone was definitely trying to figure out just what Aviary is, both patrons and servers, but it didn't hinder the fun.


    I've been calling it a cocktail restaurant.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #19 - April 25th, 2011, 12:46 am
    Post #19 - April 25th, 2011, 12:46 am Post #19 - April 25th, 2011, 12:46 am
    First time poster, long time lurker...

    The Line
    I too was fortunate enough to attend the opening night of The Aviary. I went with my younger brother. Figuring that it was the day before Easter, we figured to take a run by and see what the line looked like, and if it was crowded walk somewhere else. I thought we would be in the first seating, because there were not more than the advertised capacity of 80 in front of us. Plus it was beautiful out. So things look promising. We arrived at 5:15 or so.

    At around 6, they started loading people in. There was a little less spot-holding than I've seen (I was in the 100+ person long Doughnut Vault line that morning... and there was a lot of that going on. BTW, I'm done with lines for the rest of 2011). So things moved along kinda slowly, we figured they were loading people in slowly, because things were moving along (we discovered why this is later). So the doorman took our name and put it in his phone. The doorman by the way, was very nice, and had the Secret Service earpiece/mic thing going. So we get to about the 3rd group back, with parties of 2 and 3 in front of us, and things just stop. The sun starts going down and it just gets cold. Fortunately, we bonded with the people around us in line, so the experience wasn't terrible at all. I will say that we were utterly uninformed about what was going on inside. More than that we were hungry. Food trucks of the Chicagoland area take note: swing by that line at like 6:30, you'll make a killing. Nick Kokonas eventually walked out and expressed his gratitude to everyone for waiting, and kind of exasperatedly said "No one's leaving." So piece of advice one - eat an early dinner if you're going to go around at opening. The capacity may be 80, but they don't actually appear to have that many seats. The managers sent out some hot chocolate, which really hit the spot. No booze in it, but we did discover it was the actual drink from inside otherwise. It was delicious.

    The Experience
    So, finally the doorman asks if we would mind sitting with another party. We agree (it was cold, and we weren't about to complain). After a few minutes, we bid our line friends adieu and went inside (they followed in shortly after, and we caught up with them on the way out to discuss briefly). They take our coats, with no claim ticket, which threw me for a second.

    So you are first directed to a lounge-like area. This is where the sod you've heard about comes in to play. It's a cocktail table with the grass on top and a candle. On the table were two cocktails, a raspberry infused something something. It was good, and it had little spherical ice "cubes" in it. We drank them down and then were lead to the main event.

    The group we sat with was excellent. Nicest people, and they actually requested that they allow people to be seated with them. They had some recommendations, particularly on the bites, and we had great conversation with them our whole time there.

    The first drink I had was the Sassafrass. This is an infused sassafrass drink with vanilla ice cubes inside of it. It tasted like root beer float. As the ice melted, the taste grew more complex. Impressive also was that at no point did the drink taste watered down. It was consistent from top to bottom, and dare I say, my last sip was better than my first. There was some liberal sharing amongst the group and my brother (he lead off with the Rooibos, and the presentation of that is as cool as you can imagine. And it was really, really good. The next time I go there, definitely having that one). There is nothing particularly special about the presentation of the Sassafrass. It comes in a tall collins glass. The one kinda sorta bummer of the drink was that the vanilla ice cubes were too big to put in my mouth at the end. If I could have fit them in there, I would've because they were damn good on their own.

    Next up, I went with the In The Rocks. This was neat. It shows up, and it's a ball of ice, with something inside it. I was at a loss for a few seconds with what I should do with it, when the server showed up with a plate that had two items on it: a weight connected by two loops on each side and an orange peel. You put your thumb and forefinger through the loops, place it over the drink, pull back and let go. The ball breaks, and the cocktail spills out. Cheeky. Then I dropped in the orange peel and drank away. It's essentially an Old Fashioned. It's very good, and I was surprised by how much the orange improved the flavor. The smoothness of the drink was very nice, no bite like your average bar Old Fashioned. Just great.

    At this point, I feel I should mention that there are no weak drinks there. Even the sweetest stuff had some serious booze in it. Some are lighter than others, but take this as your warning: you will get drunk here. Very easily. I don't think you'll get out of control, frat guy level debauchery drunk (plus I doubt the staff will let you). But if you get a little free with the cash, you'll run up a huge tab.

    Next I tried the Sazerac. Now I am a sazerac fan. I will go out of my way for a good sazerac. The one at the Aviary shows up in a squat rocks glass and is a dark, dark amber color (it was a little dark in there, so I could be off about it a bit). This was my favorite drink of the ones I had. I find myself unable to really describe it. Everything comes together so well. The bitters and the sugar and the rye made it probably the best I've had. I meant to ask what ingredient brands they used, but I forgot to. Rats.

    My next drink was the Tiki. This was a nice tropical drink. Had a big chunk of pineapple in it. A nice clean finish to it. I guess I would compare it to a mai tai. I should've gone for this earlier though. I think it was a little less memorable following up the first three drinks I had. Oh well. It was definitely a good drink.

    The final drink of the night was the Lemon. So, this shows up as a beer bottle, capped, in a paper bag wrapped around it. Very hobo chic. This was the most refreshing drink I had. On a night in the summer, with the windows open, this drink will slay. Perks you up. Fresh, crisp lemon taste. Nice carbonation. Imagine the best vodka tonic you've ever had.

    Now we got to see a lot of other drinks at the table. My brother had a bunch of different drinks, including the Blueberry. I bring this up because I thought this had the most interesting flavors of the ones I sampled. It starts off as one drink and finishes as something else. it's kinda sweet up front, and then at the finish, you get hit with a rush of blueberry flavor. Very good. Plus it comes in that canteen-like bottle that you pour out. Other neat ones that we saw were the Coffee, which features milk ice that melts into the cocktail, the Ginger which shows up in two glasses you mix together, and the Scot Pine which looked like beer and tasted like forest in my mouth. The El Diablo was also at the table, but I declined to sample because tequila has a history of turning me into a raving lunatic (and though sort of tempting to the devil in me, being the first person kicked out of the Aviary was not an exclusive club I planned on joining).

    The bites
    So the bites are just that they are bites. We were hungry, waiting all that time, and wanted something. These are precisely one bite apiece. You have to order 3 at a time. Without a doubt, the next time I go back, I will be ordering as many of the Wagyu and Potato as possible. The Wagyu is a little cube of beef that sweet and a touch salty and awesome. The Potato is the greatest tater tot you will ever have. You bite into it and the potato "juice" spills out into your mouth and it's silky and heavenly. We also had the Pork Belly, which had a nice crunch of lettuce to match the sweet and salty pork. The Cantaloupe was good, but it wasn't as good as the others. The other guests at our table raved about the foie gras, but that's not really my thing (plus we ordered the Wagyu right away and agreed that we were going to eat as many of those as possible). The Brioche and the Cheescake are the dessert-ish type bites, and the Brioche, especially, was sweet and savory, with a touch of salt to balance things out. We felt full, but I definitely wouldn't try to make a meal out of all this stuff. They are snacks. Delicious, delicious snacks.

    The Service
    Our server was named Lindsey. And she was great. Her recommendations were right on, and she was engaging, friendly, knowledgeable, and talkative. Her excitement to be working there definitely showed. The drinks come out fairly swiftly. I never felt like I was waiting too long for either the drinks or the food. The servers move with precision around the space, and are courteous. The bill arrived promptly, and the gratuity is included in the check. We certainly felt like the service was excellent and added a tip too. On the way out, the hostess quickly retrieved our jackets as we approached the door (I don't know why, but I was psyched about this for some reason). The Alinea pedigree definitely shows through though, and for an opening night, I didn't see any jitters on anyone, though the hosts seemed stressed about that line.

    The Space
    We really had no idea what to expect. I hadn't really seen any picture of the interior at all. As you can see in the posts above, there are booths with high backs. There is a measure of privacy afforded by these. We did not feel on top of anyone else, and conversation was easy without yelling. There's definitely noise, but it's not overbearing, distracting, or bothersome. The music is played at a reasonable volume. The place is a little dark, but that's a nothing quibble.

    Recapping, this was an excellent experience. There are kinks that need to be worked out. Getting people in/out is probably going to be the big thing. I'm sure if anyone can figure it out, it's the team behind this place. I would definitely recommend going here to anyone. Save up for it, be open to anything, try the weird stuff. You'll have a fantastic experience. As a nice little perk on the walk out, we walked past Chef Achatz and were able to shake his hand and congratulate him for a job well done and a night we'll never forget.
  • Post #20 - April 25th, 2011, 9:10 am
    Post #20 - April 25th, 2011, 9:10 am Post #20 - April 25th, 2011, 9:10 am
    Dress code dressy? Upscale casual? (Sorry if someone already asked this.)
  • Post #21 - April 25th, 2011, 9:20 am
    Post #21 - April 25th, 2011, 9:20 am Post #21 - April 25th, 2011, 9:20 am
    spiffytriphy wrote:Dress code dressy? Upscale casual? (Sorry if someone already asked this.)


    Upscale casual. Button-downs and jeans were what I saw most of. Some blazers. I wore a nicer polo and jeans.
  • Post #22 - April 25th, 2011, 10:46 am
    Post #22 - April 25th, 2011, 10:46 am Post #22 - April 25th, 2011, 10:46 am
    Thank you!
  • Post #23 - April 25th, 2011, 11:22 am
    Post #23 - April 25th, 2011, 11:22 am Post #23 - April 25th, 2011, 11:22 am
    Anyone trying to slip the door some money to get in ahead of the line?
  • Post #24 - April 25th, 2011, 12:16 pm
    Post #24 - April 25th, 2011, 12:16 pm Post #24 - April 25th, 2011, 12:16 pm
    Thank you, justrnr500, for an excellent accounting of your experience at Aviary.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #25 - April 25th, 2011, 2:06 pm
    Post #25 - April 25th, 2011, 2:06 pm Post #25 - April 25th, 2011, 2:06 pm
    I didn't see anyone throwing money at the doorman. I also didn't see anyone move from the end of the line to the front. There were a few people who held spots for slightly larger groups, but I don't think this ended up being all that many people. I didn't see much of that. I guess that depends on the crowd though. Supposedly a few members of Wilco were there too, and if they were, they waited too.

    I forgot to mention this in my post, but much to my amazement, I was a functional and productive human being on Sunday morning. This may be the greatest feat that The Aviary pulled off.

    Glad you enjoyed my post, and I'll hang around for a few days to see if I can answer any questions.
  • Post #26 - April 25th, 2011, 3:51 pm
    Post #26 - April 25th, 2011, 3:51 pm Post #26 - April 25th, 2011, 3:51 pm
    What type of music is played (jazz, techno, rap, etc.)?
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #27 - April 25th, 2011, 4:43 pm
    Post #27 - April 25th, 2011, 4:43 pm Post #27 - April 25th, 2011, 4:43 pm
    Kman wrote:What type of music is played (jazz, techno, rap, etc.)?


    To be honest, I don't totally remember. It wasn't anything grating. I think there was a mix of stuff. Some folk style stuff, some jazz, some rock, and some techno. Couldn't really pick anything out, plus we were really engaged in conversation too. Didn't see a jukebox, but it's not exactly a hipster's ipod either.
  • Post #28 - April 25th, 2011, 5:39 pm
    Post #28 - April 25th, 2011, 5:39 pm Post #28 - April 25th, 2011, 5:39 pm
    My brother signed me up for this thing called UrbanDaddy a few months ago. Here is how they describe themselves:

    UrbanDaddy is a free, exclusive daily email magazine devoted to keeping you in know.

    They are based out of Las Vegas I think but they have region specific emails, Chicago being one of them. They sent this email about the Aviary this morning. No idea how accurate it is.

    This weekend, Grant Achatz popped the cork on Aviary, the lounge adjacent to his tickets-only restaurant, Next. (Maybe you’ve heard.) So we figured you should know exactly what happened this weekend as objectively as possible—strictly by the numbers.

    People waiting at 10am on Saturday: 2
    People waiting at 6pm (opening time) on Saturday: 80
    People waiting at 6pm on Sunday: 20
    Percentage who looked like “blogger” was an integral part of their résumé: 25%
    Grant Achatz sightings outside restaurant: 1
    Awards he seemed to be carrying at the time: 1
    Gin and rhubarb shots waiting for you on grass-topped tables in the foyer: 1
    If the menu at Next is Paris 1906, the lounge music at Aviary is: Paris 2005-ish
    Average wait time on Sunday: 30 minutes
    Average wait time for a cocktail: 3 minutes (approx.)
    Cocktails on the menu: 21
    Number served with an umbrella: 1, Tiki
    Number best served at an Avatar screening: 1, Popcorn
    Number served over a fancy version of a Bunsen burner: 1, Rooibos
    Number served with a rubber band: 1, In the Rocks (to break open your bourbon-filled ice ball for this version of an Old Fashioned)
    Highest-priced cocktail: Truffle, a Negroni with a truffle shaving at the bottom ($28)
    Least-expensive bottle of champagne: $80
    One-bite appetizers on the menu, including a Lobster cracker: 10
    “Bites” that must be ordered at one time: 3
    Servers who dared us to eat the truffle at the bottom of the glass: 1
    Number of truffles we ate: 1


    They also included a pdf link to a menu which looks like a copy they took and ran it on a copy machine.

    http://ud.sparklist.com/t/5872503/5028963/52619871/0/
  • Post #29 - April 26th, 2011, 8:57 am
    Post #29 - April 26th, 2011, 8:57 am Post #29 - April 26th, 2011, 8:57 am
    Details has a menu marked up by Chef Achatz, detailing what the birds on the cocktail menu signify.
  • Post #30 - April 26th, 2011, 9:00 am
    Post #30 - April 26th, 2011, 9:00 am Post #30 - April 26th, 2011, 9:00 am
    justrnr500 wrote:The El Diablo was also at the table, but I declined to sample because tequila has a history of turning me into a raving lunatic (and though sort of tempting to the devil in me, being the first person kicked out of the Aviary was not an exclusive club I planned on joining).


    What was the presentation of the El Diablo? I saw a photo of a drink in the opening video that had dark red ice cubes, which I thought might be the El Diablo due to the creme de cassis.

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