The Drifter, River North

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CHICAGO | The Drifter is a speakeasy in River North, located in a space which housed an actual speakeasy back in the prohibition era. To find it, you have to go to Irish pub The Green Door Tavern, head downstairs, and knock on the unmarked wooden door near across from the restrooms. When you’re let in you’ll find is a place very different from the pub upstairs.

Bartender Liz Pearce (The Gage, The Drawing Room, Aviary) has created a space of low lighting, exposed brick walls, assorted knickknacks, antiques, and posters. As far as speakeasies go, it certainly feels the part. You’re handed a selection of tarot cards when you enter, and on the reverse of each is a cocktail. There’s an entire deck of cocktails, and the night’s selection is chosen randomly at the start of service. The South American Mistress – pisco, vermouth, Fernet, chocolate liqueur and bitters is fantastic, as is the B.B. Gun, a mixture of vodka, gin, spiced pear liqueur, ginger and prosecco.

Food is mostly sourced from the kitchen upstairs, and includes things like olives, tater tots, cheese and pastries. It’s not the highlight or focus of The Drifter, but it does the trick if you need a little something to nibble on.

At the end of the venue is a curtain, which sporadically opens to reveal a small stage with live entertainment. Expect things like belly dancers, jugglers and burlesque dancers. It’s all very fun, and fits in perfectly with the atmosphere of the bar.

The Drifer is a small bar, with a capacity of 37 so there can be a wait list during busy times, but it’s not so bad as you can just head upstairs for a drink while you wait. In a part of Chicago where trends often rule the day, The Drifter is a refreshing change that proves that it’s still possible to create a speakeasy that doesn’t feel cliched and overdone.

The Drifter

676-678 N Orleans Street
Chicago
Illinois 60654
United States

Telephone: 312 631 3887
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Wed – Sat: 5:00pm to 12:00am

The Drifter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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