Once the clandestine space in the Chicago Athletic Association where members used to procure their “milk” – code for liquor – during Prohibition, the Milk Room is an eight-seat nook on the second floor of the majestic hotel where vintage spirits and liqueurs are reimagined into contemporary concoctions by skilled barkeeps. Like stepping back in time, the immaculately restored 1930s space glows with candlelight and old-timey chandeliers, illuminating cabinets of weathered, hard-to-find bottles that often date as far back as the early 1900s.
Taste through a flight of rare whiskies cherry-picked from the extensive spirits list, ask for a pour in your favorite classic cocktail to see how the drink might have tasted in another era, or try one of the meticulously balanced contemporary recipes to see how they hold up in drinks today like the Hoots Mon, made with Nikka Yoichi Whisky, Nikka From the Barrel Whisky, 1970s sweet vermouth, and cocktail bitters. Not sure where to start? The bartenders are veritable encyclopaedias of spirits history and are eager to share their knowledge with curious guests – no question is frowned upon, and they’ll even let you inspect labels of old bottles if you ask nicely. Seats fill up in advance, so make a reservation ahead of time to secure a spot.