While we were in Chicago visiting friends for the 4th of July, we went to Aviary, Grant Achatz’s new bar by Fulton Market. I was looking forward to it because I originally had reservations to the restaurant next door, Next, but had to cancel because I was busy moving in with Ken the weekend of our reservation. We arrived around 7pm and they didn’t have any openings but said we would probably be able to sit in less than half an hour. We had to wait outdoors (which I thought was a little odd) but the time went by quickly:
We were able to get a table pretty quickly because we didn’t mind standing next to the kitchen, which is separated by a floor to ceiling cage:
The mixologists prepared all types of interesting cocktails while we were there and we had a great view of the action:
Their drinks range from $15-28 and range from standard to very creative (depending on how far the bird is from the description):
The server sold us on the three course cocktail tasting. My roommate from college, John, had just moved back to Chicago from Ft. Lauderdale and joined us for drinks and we thought it would be a good idea to be more adventurous.
Our first drink was sangria with frozen fruit:
The wine was poured into a coffee press with herbs and more fruit:
And then poured into our wine glasses:
We were a little shocked that they were serving us the sangria – I mean, when you go to a restaurant like Alinea or Next, you have expectations that it’s going to surprise and wow your palate. It definitely surprised us – I was disappointed that we would be served a simple cocktail like sangria. It was paired with melon and baked prosciutto:
Our second drink was a slushie concoction that was served with lemon grass and chili peppers:
The server poured more alcohol into the frozen slushie:
John stirring the drink:
The drink was served with pork belly:
Our last drink was a smoothie served with bourbon, bananas and chocolate:
Alongside strawberry cheesecake bites:
Overall, we were pretty disappointed with our experience at Aviary and thought the place was a bit overrated and expensive; Ken ended up paying around $200 for the three of us. I had high expectations for the lounge but was disappointed by the food and the drinks. The service was very nice – they offered to bring us to The Office downstairs – but it was quite slow.