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The Violet Hour

Photos by Matt K. and myself.

Heard about The Violet Hour, a little speakeasy-esque bar in the Bucktown/ Wicker Park area of Chicago, courtesy of Paystyle. When Pay suggests a place, I follow, no questions asked.

Matt and I definitely walked up and down the street a few times and looked around like baffled, confused tourists before finally finding this place. Of course, no sign-- just this awesome little scary Micky Mouse vampire dude doodle. The fun is in the hunt, I suppose. The guys at the door were surprisingly super nice (wow!). No obnoxious password needed (wow!!). It was around midnight on a Thursday, but they seated us immediately (wow!!!).

We walked through the lush velvet curtains and were greeted by opulently high ceilings, dimly lit chandeliers, and a gorgeous mirrored backbar lined with high-end, hard to find brown liquors.

The Violet Hour (CHI)

They sat us at a table, where the chairs had really tall backs. These chairs were probably about 9-10 feet tall and added to the atmosphere nicely.

My Whiskey Smash: Wild Turkey, Lemon, Mint, Peychaud's Bitters.

The Violet Hour (CHI)

Matt's Tequila Old Fashioned: Lunazul Blanco, Fees Old Fashioned Bitters, Grapefruit Oil.

The Violet Hour

I think I'm just really jaded by the SF/ NYC cocktail bar scene snobbery, and was pleasantly surprised by how easygoing everyone at this bar was. Although maybe we went on a chill night cause my friend who used to live in Chicago thinks this place is pretentious. I didn't think so at all!

1520 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL

T: 773.252.1500


  • Dude, a few of us went to Bourbon & Branch in SF the other night hoping to get a drink— it was around 11pm on a Tuesday night. It’s one of these “speakeasy” spots in SF. I admit it’s pretty neat inside.

    So we play along with the “speakeasy” game. We ring the fucking doorbell and this cute hipster girl comes out and blocks the door and asks us for the lame password. We give it to her, and apparently there are TWO SEPARATE PASSWORDS— one for the back room, and one for the more exclusive front room.

    Anyway, long story short, she didn’t let us in.

    FUCKING SO OVER IT. You are a BAR. Not a fucking elite gentleman’s club (which, btw, we easily got into for my bday).

    In comparison to this silliness, The Violet Hour, and its super accommodating staff, is the awesomest.

    kayoko on

  • I’m glad you went and enjoyed yourself. I don’t know about your friend, but I often find that many people consider cocktail spots pretentious if the place shows any care in the quality of ingredients/technique employed in their cocktails. I think many people are so used to shot slinging saloons that if a place uses ingredients like “grapefruit oil” they’re considered pretentious.

    Paystyle on

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