Okay, okay: I need to get one gripe out of the way concerning the Lincoln Park spot The Parlour at The Albion Manor.
It might be in that tony area, but some may not consider it the easiest spot to get toif you're relying on public transportation.
Located at 1480 W. Webster Ave. (near the Regal Webster Place movie-theater venue), getting to The Parlour (and Albion) might involve a lengthy walk if you plan on utilizing the CTA. Even utilizing a rideshare serviceon this particular night, anywayturned out to be an expensive endeavor. (Most of the patrons apparently drove or even rode scooters.)
However, once you get there, you'll be entranced by this space.
The first floor is The Albiona fun British pub with culinary offerings such as Ploughman's Plate (with cheese and meat selections along with chicken pate, pickled egg and baguettes), short rib sandwiches and, of course, fish and chips, among other items.
But if you take the stairs up to the second floor, a different atmosphere awaitsone involving lush furniture, cool cocktails and, if you're lucky, musical and/or burlesque entertainment.
All of those items were on full display (so to speak) at my recent outing as I met up with a friend. And bartenders Shaq and Johanna led us through a colorful and heady journey of enticing small bites and heady cocktails.
After having a glass of wine, my friend had a Bobby Burns, which some see as a variation of a Rob Roy. The Bobby Burnswhich is definitely meant for sippingcontains Glenlivet Founders Reserve, Italian vermouth, Benedictine and bitters. I opted for the delicious but ominous-sounding Love Like Blood, which contains bourbon, allspice dram, blood orange and lemon. And then, Johanna fixed us her favorite concoction: The Lavender Lady, a lovely olio consisting of Tanqueray Rangpur Lime, Cointreau, cassis, lemon, egg white and lavender bitters.
Some of the other drink selections include the Vermont cocktail (Bar Hill Gin, chamomile tea, honey and tonic) and, fittingly, the United Kingdom (Tanqueray Seville Orange, Aperol and Mediterranean tonic) as well as mocktails like Not a Gimlet, Not a Mule and Not a Tonic. (With the mocktails, you can add one ounce of alcohol to make them low-ABV cocktails.)
But be sure to balance those drinks with some elevated bar bites. Chef James Menendez has crafted items that could double as conversation-starters. One of those examples is the cured beet tartare that comes with a plate of delightful, fragile puffed rice chips. Another is a dish consisting of chicken and chorizoand this delicious item might be one of the more artistic-looking chicken-related offerings you'll ever see. A couple of the other offerings are the hiramasa (yellowtail amberjack) tartare and the roasted maitake (also called "hen-of-the-woods").
And there are some pretty cool desserts. We absolutely devoured the vanilla panna cotta (with caramel, smoked kiwi, streusel and kiwi sorbet) and the mango pound cake (vanilla pound cake with mango cream and ice cream, with toasted cashews for a nice textural mix). But there's also chocolate cake with chocolate cream, toasted pistachios, apricot compote, cocoa nib and orange sorbet.
Moreover, the inviting atmosphere practically asks you to stay for hours. It's the kind of luxe place where a group of friends can wine, dine and cheerfully pass the time. But if you're there on a particular evening, you and your guests could be treated to something extra: Some nights there are groups such as Brooklyn Britches who could have you tapping or dancing to the musicand you could be entranced by burlesque performances. (BTW, "GLAMA Drag Show" will be on June 22 at 8 p.m. while "Brooklyn's Burlesque & Variety Show" will take place June 29 at 8-10 p.m. )
When you arrive at this Lincoln Park spot, be sure to check out ALL The Parlour at Albion Manor has to offer. You may not want to leave once you get there, for a variety of reasons.
Note: This visit was arranged.
More reviews and Chicago restaurant news are at future3733.substack.com .