Through a hidden door in a wall on Damen Avenue, past heavy velvet curtains and one serious ID-checking host, The Violet Hour unfolds to reveal multiple large, blue and purple-lit rooms. If you visit between Sunday and Wednesday, being led to a seat shouldn’t be a problem, but on any given weekend night, be prepared to find a crowd between the two curtains. The speakeasy does not take reservations and only permits sitting at their small square tables and high backed chairs. No standing. The framed set of House Rules that appear both on the wall and in flyer form with your check (“Please, no baseball hats,” “No Budweiser/light beer/Greygoose/Cosmopolitans,” “Please do not bring anyone to The Violet Hour that you wouldn’t bring to your mother’s house for Sunday dinner”) seem a bit pretentious at first, but the wait staff is so nice that you would never believe you would actually be chastised for ordering a cosmo.

Of course, the artisan drinks are the focus here and they do not disappoint. The menu of special Violet Hour drinks is separated by its base alcohol, and each concoction is marvelously made. My favorite of the mixes I tried was called The Oldest Living Confederate Widow, a delicious gin-based drink comprised of Beefeater, lemon, honey and absinthe. And what better complement than a tower of the bar’s French fries, accompanied by their house-made cinnamon ketchup, horseradish-mustard and smooth aioli. Overall, The Violet Hour is a place to feel cool and classy and knock back some really delicious and well-made cocktails—if you can find the door.

The Violet Hour
1520 N. Damen Ave (Wicker Park), Chicago, IL
One block from the Damen Blue Line Stop

Sunday – Friday : 6PM – 2AM
Saturday : 6PM – 3AM