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Swissôtel Amuses With New Bar

By Sarah Freeman in Food on Apr 16, 2012 7:00PM

The hotel lobby: a limbo of sorts reserved for wasting time while waiting for taxis and escaping the parents when they come into town. No more! A $10 million renovation at the Swissôtel is cashing in on the trend allowing hotel bars to shine.

Amuse, the Swiss-inspired bar, is the centerpiece of the new lobby that was unveiled last week. Art instillations of dripping glass orbs welcome guests into the airy, modernized lobby and also hang over the modulated reception. Amuse has a club lounge feel with fuchsia chairs, black tabletops surrounding a central fireplace.

The bar menu created by Chef Dan McGee puts a Swiss twist on traditional bar snacks. Start with the deep-fried green olives that are stuffed with goat cheese and sausage or the Bavarian pretzels served with a sweet and salty beer, cheese and caraway dip.

The staples of the menu can be ordered in a tasting portion or to share. We recommend the veal schnitzel sliders topped with pickled red onions and horseradish sauce. The sautéed calamari is the most visually stunning offering, while fried avocado with spicy lump crabs takes the award for most unique addition to the menu.

The drink menu takes a less European and more craft-American approach with a select list of cocktails and 6 beers on tap in addition to the extensive wine list. We enjoyed the smooth simplicity of the Midwestern Manhattan with Jameson, sweet vermouth and plum bitters. Honorable mentions include the ginger sidecar, negroni spritzer and pisco punch.

Regardless if you are looking for your next Chicago staycation or just some flavors of Switzerland, Amuse will change your opinions of the hotel lobby.

Amuse is located in the Swissôtel at 323 E. Wacker Dr.