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The Team Behind The 'World's Best Bar' Are Opening A New Location In Chicago

By Emma G. Gallegos in Food on Aug 20, 2015 9:45PM

Some of the cocktails at GreenRiver from left to right: Firefox, Gangster's Paradise, Easy Eddie, Cullerton Street (Photo by Huge Galdones)

Chicago's already world-class cocktail scene is about to get even better: The people behind New York City's Dead Rabbit are opening up a restaurant and bar in Streeterville called GreenRiver next month.

That's a BFD for the cocktail world. Dead Rabbit last year was named The World's Best Bar by Tales of the Cocktail, which is kind of like the Oscars for cocktails.

It's going to have nice views, too, from the 18th floor of 259 E. Erie St.

GreenRiver's interior (Photo by Huge Galdones)

The duo behind Dead Rabbit, Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, will be collaborating again. The pair hail from Belfast where they worked at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast (which was winner of World’s Best Cocktail Bar in 2010). That explains the Irish theme. GreenRiver says it wanted to celebrate the famous and notorious Irish-Americans who helped rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871.

The cocktail menu will be divided up into eight sections, based on the ingredients used to distill spirits: rye, corn, barley, agave, wheat & oat, sugarcane & molasses, grape & apple, and juniper. Each section will include four cocktails inspired by Irish-American Chicagoans. For example, there will be a cocktail called the Prima Donna, based on Harold Fowler McCormick (1872-1941). It will feature Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey, Fernet Branca Menta, pomegranate, lemon, sumac & burlesque bitters.

The Prima Donna (Photo by Huge Galdones)

There will be also be a little story to go along with your drink, like this:

A member of one of Chicago’s most prominent Irish-American dynasties, McCormick was chairman of the International Harvester Company—the source of the family’s great wealth. However, his real passion was aviation, and he attempted to establish a commuter airline as early as 1914. His second wife was Ganna Walska, an aspiring but terrible opera singer, whom he promoted at great expense. It’s reported that Orson Welles partly drew on McCormick for the character of Charles Kane, who similarly indulged his over-ambitious and under-talented second wife.

“We researched hundreds of historical Irish characters and chose an exemplary few who stirred our mixological creativity. The menu celebrates Chicago and its history in every drink,” McGarry said in a press release.

The bar says it will have a healthy selection of Irish and American whiskey, including bourbon and rye, as well as Scotch and Japanese whisky. There will also be an "approachable" wine list and 12 beers on tap, mostly from Chicago breweries.

Chef Aaron Lirette will be helming the kitchen and promises American comfort food with seasonal ingredients from local farms. Some dishes on the menu will be crudités of local vegetables paired with scallion crème and harissa; terrine made from Slagel Farms pork with housemade mustard and greens; and a tartine made with smoked Great Lakes whitefish, egg yolk, radish, and celery.

Slagel Farms Pork Terribe (Photo by Huge Galdones)

Vegetable crudite from local farms (Photo by Huge Galdones)

Smoked Great Lakes Whitefish Tartine (Photo by Huge Galdones)

GreenRiver will open in September at 259 E. Erie St., 18th Floor