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#33 The Ladies Room (Chicago, Illinois)

Seating just 18 people, this intimate, speakeasy-style Illinois spirits haven is reminiscent of the fantan (Chinese gambling halls) and red light districts that proliferated around Macau in the mid-19th and 20th centuries. Adjacent to the award-winning restaurant Fat Rice (it is a six-time Michelin Bib Gourmand Recipient, among other awards), The Ladies Room is decorated with vintage 1920s Chinese pinup posters and a six-and-a-half-foot mural of an Asian Madonna to create the space’s sensuous, dimly lit aesthetic. The Ladies Room is famous for its exploratory menu of house-made tinctures, spirits, and cocktails. The Chicago bar experiments with a variety of house-made spirits in addition to ingredients that are unusual to typical cocktail recipes. Bar manager Annie Beebe-Tron revisits basic chemistry to develop her own liqueurs, infusions, and chartreuses and create out-of-the-box cocktail ingredients like pho-vermouth, which is included in her Saigon Street Breakfast (Pho vermouth, Pierre Ferrand, cognac, Rare Tea Cellar’s truffle bitters, and Thai basil). 

The Ladies’ Room currently offers 15 cocktails, eight house-made spirits that are poured à la carte, and upward of 50 additional house-made spirits, tinctures, and bitters that are rotated through different cocktails. Try the Side Hustle (Guotai Baijiu, Punt e Mes St. George gins, and orange bitters) and Run the Jewels (Hayman’s Old Tom Punt e Mes and house-made chartruese). Like the menu at Fat Rice, The Ladies’ Room is a global exploration of home-style comfort food that blends the exotic ingredients and flavors of China, India, and Southeast Asia with the colonial roots of the Portuguese travelers who were influenced by these ports over the past 500 years.

 

Francis Son
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