When world-renowned Chef José Andrés opened a new restaurant in River North this summer, it came with it the promise that he would also open his first-ever speakeasy directly below. The popular chef’s new Jaleo restaurant has been met with excitement and acclaim since it opened its doors and sure enough, a bespoke cocktail experience named ‘Pigtail’ has now officially opened in an intimate lower level space.
People of Chicago! @pigtailcocktail is ready for you…when I saw the basement of Jaleo I knew we could create something special. First we get the best ibérico products from Spain, then we create amazing cocktails like nothing you have seen or tasted before…now we’re talking!! pic.twitter.com/gfy3BK7mmn
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) October 15, 2021
The basement speakeasy, like its restaurant above, channels the flavors of modern-day Spain only this time it draws inspiration predominantly from Spain’s trendy cocktail scene. The Pigtail cocktail menu from Miguel Lancha features many drinks made from Andrés’ favorite ingredient jamón ibérico such as the Consomé Cocktail, which combines a house-made pork consomé, the Negroni Cristal which is fat washed in ibérico ham, and a mezcal distilled with an entire jamón ibérico leg hanging in the still.
While many of the drinks and snacks prominently feature pork, there are of course pig-free drinks and foods available. A selection of starters and sharing plates include some traditional Spanish dishes such as the Tortilla Moderna which is described as a”modern take on the classic Spanish potato and
onion omelette.” Guests will also find a variety of Spanish vermouths, beer, and several other spirits. The full menu can be viewed here.
In his first casual cocktail bar, Andrés has attempted to provide a place to enjoy drinks before dining at Jaleo upstairs or a more casual spot to sneak away to for post-dinner drinks. The Pigtail website describes the 33-capacity cocktail lounge as “a speakeasy-style bar featuring ibérico pork and bespoke cocktails. The menu highlights Spanish ingredients throughout, with a variety of small bites and inventive cocktails. The intimate space is the perfect place to start or end your evening with a libation experience you can’t find anywhere else.”
The dimly lit space has been decorated by Barcelona-based Capella Garcia Architecture in keeping with its pig theme. Neon lights shaped like a pig’s curly tail line the walls and complement an already pink lighting setup whilst miniature flying pigs with feathered wings dangle from one of the speakeasy’s walls. You can also expect relaxed Spanish jazz to assist in the attempt to bring alive the spirit and flavors of modern-day Spain.
Located in the basement space below Jaleo at 500 N. Clark Street, Pigtail, 500 is now open 5–11 pm Thursday through Sunday and can be booked through OpenTable via the Pigtail website. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are recommended!
[Featured image from Pigtailcocktail.com]