There’s a new buzz about in the West Loop, and it’s not on Randolph Row. You’ll have to look one block north on Lake, and a short walk east of the Kennedy. It’s here you’ll find Moneygun, a new bar with a thing for classic cocktails and exceptional victuals, opened quietly by the crew behind Dusek’s and Longman & Eagle last week.
It’s the team’s second surprise opening in as many weeks: they also opened Saint Lou’s Assembly, a spot that weds Midwestern comfort with the Southern tradition of meat and three sides, next door. But more on that at a later time.
On its face, Moneygun is a bargoer’s bar. Search hard enough and you’ll find something pretty about this place, maybe. There's a few booths. Some neon. A humble slab of wraparound pine.
It’s comfortable and unpretentious, but this being the West Loop, elevated — if classic — cocktails still endure. The best section on the menu goes by “Essentials”: from Manhattans to Sazeracs, Sidecars to Long Island Ice Teas, all the usual suspects are in attendance and come recommended highly.
The bar grub, though, is what warrants repeat visits.
Michelin-starred chef Jared Wentworth is the brain behind the recipes, primarily experimental riffs on barroom favorites that veer nowhere near what you’d expect.
And because food is always better with spirits on hand, below you’ll find a few pairings you cannot miss.
The Kentucky Fried Quail
What It Is: A twist on the old fashioned fried chicken dish that comes with mac and cheese, braised greens and black pepper gravy.
Pair It With: The Daiquiri
But Why? Says bartender Will Duncan: “The acidity of the cocktail cuts the richness of the dish. It’s like having a big glass of limeade with your fried bird.”
The Foie Gras Grand Slam
What It Is: A stack of flapjacks with candied bacon powder, maple-braised apples and a helping of either a 2 oz. or 1/4 pound portion of foie gras. Also a deliciously whipped egg.
Pair It With: The Pink Squirrel
But Why? It’s a delightfully sweet cocktail from the ‘70s that tastes like a creamy almond popsicle. And you’re eating pancakes. No brainer.
The Prime Rib Sandwich
What It Is: A shaved prime rib sandwich with house made giard on an Italian baguette
Pair It With: The Dirty Martini
But Why? Because it's a play on the quintessential steakhouse pairing. Duncan again: "We use a house olive brine [for the beef] where we steep olive juice with savory herbs — so, essentially we are enchancing the olive for the dirty martini, which complements the beef perfectly."
Photos: Clayton Hauck