Review: The Commons Club at the Virgin Hotel
This article is brought to you by our newest contributor Terence Mosley, Man About Town. The Man About Town’s poison of choice? A classic Manhattan. Please enjoy his coverage of Chicago’s top lounges, bars, and eateries.
The Commons Club is an exercise in firsts. It’s the first signature restaurant and bar by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, located inside the world’s first Virgin Hotel. Chicago is therefore playing guinea pig to a brainchild born from an insatiably creative, fun-loving family and the Commons Club is just the tip of the iceberg.
The entire area is broken into 4 sections: kitchen, funny library, shag room, and commons bar. It’s made to be inclusive, catering to everyone from the morning business rush, guests of the hotel (who are offered a special cocktail hour from 6-7 p.m.), the theater district, and the late night cocktail crowd. The cherry on top is Cerise (literally meaning “cherry red”), the hotel’s recently unveiled rooftop.
Executive Chef Rick Gresh has created a globally influenced cuisine that plays stage to his culinary whims. The mantra here is “exclusive but not excluded”. The bartenders and staff are hospitably unpretentious. Speaking of staff, everyone I spoke with was helpful and knowledgeable. It’s safe to trust the cocktail and menu suggestions they make.
I highly recommend the Commons Club as an interesting alternative to the usual downtown bar scene. Of course, I ordered my signature Manhattan. Their take is called “Broad Shoulders” (get it?). It’s pretty impressive.
Suggestion: The Cauliflower Caesar elevates what you think about traditional Caesar salad by blending cauliflower, Brussel spout leaves, parmesan, and some well-appointed anchovies.
MAN ABOUT TOWN (MAT) RATING, OUT OF 5 COCKTAILS
Photos are taken by Kari Herrera (DSLR) and the Man About Town using his iPhone.