A couple weeks ago, Neal and I embarked on a date night to CH Distillery in Chicago’s West Loop. (AKA–my hood.) To be totally honest, I like to think I know my way around the West Loop dining and drinking scene pretty well, but apparently I was wrong. I had no clue this place existed!
It’s a bit further east than what is considered “restaurant row” but very close to the loop, making it a convenient spot for a post-work drink with coworkers, client dinner, girls night, or date night. It has a dark, industrial-chic vibe, and the romantic, dimly-lit setting makes you feel instantly cool. (In fact, it was so dark I couldn’t get good enough photos with my amateur skills, so I had to enlist the help of my talented photographer friend, Julie to come back with me to take photos!)
One of my favorite parts of being a blogger is helping to spread the word about local businesses that are truly unique and wonderful. After spending a few hours here, I got to know the staff–from their marketing director, to the bartenders, to the owner, the chef, and more. All would light up immediately when talking about their role with CH and what a wonderful place it is to work. Everyone has a true passion for this company, and it shows. (Don’t you love that?)
Have I convinced you to pay it a visit yet? Good! Here is our list of must-do’s when visiting!
What to drink:
Being a distillery, I have to admit, I didn’t walk in expecting some of the greatest cocktails in the city–after all, wouldn’t their speciality be making the booze, not making cocktails? But again–I was wrong! The cocktails we had were some of the best in the city.
Their head mixologist and Beverage Director, Azrhiel (ask for her at the bar and tell her I said hi!) has a lengthy resume which boasts the likes of The Aviary and The Drawing Room, so you know CH Distillery’s cocktail menu is essentially the cream of the crop.
If want to try something new, I’d suggest a “mood” cocktail, where you chat with the bartender, telling them about your day, and they make you a cocktail to suit your mood!
Neal had a dirty martini with their traditional CH London Dry Gin, and I had some crazy awesome gin mood cocktail, made with their Key Gin AKA the “gateway” gin that will totally turn you into a gin drinker. Instead of tasting like a typical Christmas tree, it has these wonderfully subtle citrus and floral notes, with a hint of white pepper. I’m pretty picky when it comes to Gin, and I loved it so much, we even took a bottle home!
What to do:
If you’re going to pay a visit, I’d recommend coming on a Tuesday or Saturday, when they offer customers a chance to go behind the scenes and take a distillery tour. Tours begin at 5:30pm and last for about 45 minutes. The owner, Tremaine, gives the tours himself, and is not only informative, but also really funny. He’ll take you through the process of how CH distills their booze, and peppers in plenty of fun facts along the way. This was totally not what I expected a distillery to look like–how beautiful is their equipment? They also give you a vodka tasting at the end!
What to eat:
We didn’t get a chance to try everything on the menu, but I can definitely vouch for the duck tacos, which were delicious. I’ve also heard rumors about how the lamb chops are one of the best dishes in Chicago–so we’ll definitely be back to try that one! They have a great menu both for sharing, and for those who want their own entree and don’t want to give you ANY bites of their food (cough…MISSTERRR LOFTUS). So if you’re just looking for a snack, or a full blown dinner, they’ve got something you’ll love.
What to wear:
Like many places in Chicago, you can get all dolled up, go super casual, or anything in between. Personally, since I work from home, I love any excuse to put on a cute dress, so I went with a military shirt dress and simple gold tassel necklace. Neal went with nice jeans and a casual button down.
Where to buy:
You can pick up any bottle that you’d like when visiting the distillery, but they’re also sold at most local Chicago retailers, like Mariano’s and Binny’s! We snagged bottles of the Key Gin, as well as their pepper vodka, which is perfect for Bloody Marys! You can learn more about CH Distillery Spirits on their site here. Also, check out the CH Distillery Events page for their latest offerings and events!
Overall, this place is definitely a winner. If you’re looking for a new spot to try out in Chicago, Neal and I both give it two thumbs up! We might see you there soon! 😉
Have you been to CH Distillery yet?
Photos by Julie Kennedy