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955 W Fulton Market, Chicago
Aviary is the first of its kind: a bar without having a bar; instead it houses a kitchen of bar-chefs wielding their wizardry out of sight. If it wasn’t for the theatrical cocktails that festoon the tables, Aviary would look every bit the contemporary fine-dining restaurant – no coincidence, it’s owned by star chef Grant Achatz of Alinea fame.
Aviary is home to the most comprehensive ice programme of any bar ever: the ice room in the bowels of the building produces 39 types, bespoke moulds and freezers the size of small cars working their slow-cooling magic. The ice is as clear as diamonds and cut on hoists by saws or sculpted by ice pick; its role is not just to cool, but to flavour. With such complex processes, service should be slow, but under beverage director Micah Melton, a cocktail can be served within three minutes flat. Try In the Rocks – whisky housed in a sphere of ice, released by the strike of a hammer.