After an action-free New Year’s Eve, you resolve to French more in 2011. Lots more.
Start at Maude’s, a snug, dimly lit bar that opened yesterday in the West Loop. Leave it to Gilt Bar’s Brendan Sodikoff to create a sexy space inspired by the Parisian dives of yesteryear.
Downstairs a record player echoes impeccably selected songs across the white subway-tiled bar, where cocktails range from classic (Sazerac, old-fashioned) to bubbly (St-Germain Fizz) to obscure (violet and green chartreuse Grand Marnier smashes).
Head upstairs for a smokier vibe: dark wood, leather banquettes, a subtly placed collection of original Dickens books. In the tiny open kitchen, Jeff Pikus (Alinea, Perennial) cooks rustic Country French food consisting of traditional (Burgundy escargot, duck rillette, French onion fondue) to what the menu deems “Almost French” (wine-braised chicken). Oysters and a perfect shrimp cocktail hail from the raw bar.
Maude’s Liquor Bar, 840 West Randolph Street, at Green Street (312-243-9712 or maudesliquorbar.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Maude’s Liquor Bar