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Chicago Is Getting A Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Bar, Thanks To NYC Cocktail Pioneer

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on May 10, 2017 8:54PM

Jim Meehan / Getty Images / Photo: Bryan Bedder

The man behind perhaps New York City's most famous neo-speakeasy is returning to his Chicago roots in decidedly Chicago fashion. Jim Meehan—the brainchild behind the "super secret speakeasy" PDT in New York—is teaming up with one of Chicago's leading cocktail-focused hospitality groups for a bar inspired by none other than architect (and open-house fave) Frank Lloyd Wright.

Meehan, a former James Beard winner, grew up in the Chicago area but made his imprint with PDT (Please Don't Tell), the celebrated East Village cocktail bar that patrons access through a phone booth inside a hot-dog joint. The novelty and by-all-accounts excellent drinks have made it favorite for travelers and production location scouts (see most recently it's appearance in Master of None, Season Two).

But for his Chicago concept, appropriately dubbed Prairie School, Meehan is mining architecture's favorite Midwest-associated modernist. It will land in the bustling West Loop/Fulton Market neighborhood (natch) at 326 N. Morgan St., where the old Smack Shack once lived. The bar is collaboration with Heisler Hospitality, whose long list of hotspots includes Sportsman's Club, Bad Hunter, Pub Royale and Bar DeVille.

"I'm eager to be part of it in this project, which affords me the opportunity to explore my roots as both an outsider and a native son," Meehan said in a statement.

The venture is actually a two-parter, but no specifics are yet available about the second, non-Prairie School half (perhaps a postmodern Jahn-inspired progression?). It'll be designed with help from the Rugo/Raff firm (Alinea, Roister, Aviary). The design and decor—like the drinks—take cues from Wright's style. Luckily, the nature of how liquid sits inside a glass tends to lend itself well to horizontal lines.