VBD Hospitality, alongside team members of Chicago’s powerhouse Peruvian restaurant Tanta, announced the May 16 grand opening of Arbella (112 W. Grand Ave.). Arbella is a new River North 74-seat cocktail lounge with a sophisticated, energetic environment celebrating the culturally diverse backgrounds of the team members.
Arbella sets the scene as a refined, social gathering place for cocktail enthusiasts reveling in the art of mixology and looking to embark on a journey to savor worldly flavors. With playful displays and presentations, each beverage intends to transport the mind to a specific destination and evokes a sense of travel.
The exploration at Arbella begins with a menu showcasing a progressive craft approach, with techniques and flavors derived from Europe, Asia, United States, Mexico, South America, and Caribbean. Mixologist Tona Palomino and Bartender Eric Trousdale add touches of modern molecular mixology, infused ice, large-format cocktails, and dessert drinks that make up the dynamic, explorative cocktail list.
Upon opening, Arbella also offers a daily happy hour special from 4 to 6 p.m. where guests can explore complimentary, off-menu small bites with purchase of a cocktail. The off-menu appetizers represent one region and rotate on a quarterly basis. Additionally, guests can enjoy wine specials during happy hour.
The following details a sample of cocktails featured in the five regional menu sections, which will rotate to showcase new worldly flavors throughout the year:
- Good Old Tom with gin, lemon, sugar, thyme, and carbonations
- Fraise d’Amor with cognac, strawberry, and liquid nitrogen
- Perfect Marty with gin, sweet vermouth, Luxardo, and orange bitters
- Tempo Bello with grapefruit-infused gin, Luxardo, and Tempus Fugit
- Hanky Panky with gin, fernet, and vermouth
- Old School, peanut butter vodka, Concord grape juice, lime, and a jelly-infused ice cube
- Doctor’s Orders with bourbon, chamomile, lemon, and honey
- Slippery Slope with rye, amaro, and cherry
- Son of a Preacher Man with rye, ginger, and carbonation
- Chicago Fire Extinguisher with BenRiach Heart of Speyside, Luxardo Amaro Abano, smoked Angostura Bitters, and infused with hickory smoke
- Push the Wood with Cedar Whisky, Dolin Dry, and Tempus Fugit Torino
- China Poblana with tequila, shiso, cucumber, and lime juice
- Queretaro with tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, liquid nitrogen, and a red wine topper
- Pal o’ Mine with mezcal, pineapple, yellow chartreuse, and absinthe
- Funky Chicken with Lollipop Rye, lemon puree, beer, and tajin rim
- La Coqueta with mezcal, ginger syrup, Yuzu, and grenadine
South America & Caribbean
- Chilcano with cucumber-infused pisco, ginger beer, simple syrup, and a cucumber and kiwi-infused ice cube
- Airmail with rum, honey syrup, lime juice, and prosecco
- Down the Hatch with pisco, sake, Cocci Rosa, and grapefruit
- Ti Punch with Rhum, lime juice, and sugar cane syrup
- Hokkaido with sake, gin, and triple sec
- Midori with Shochu, sake, and violet
- Bombay Government Punch with rum, Batavia, Demerara syrup, and lime juice
- Singapore Sling with gin, cherry herring, Benedictine, and lime juice
- Hanami with plum wine, Kinjo Shochu, Yuzu, egg white, and peach bitters
- Chefs Jesus Delgado and Cristian Padilla take inspiration from the team’s diverse family backgrounds to create an elevated, yet approachable menu. Many of the small-plate selections are made with the use of a wood-fire grill, and a sample of these dishes include:
- Ahi Poke with ahi tuna marinated in soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and topped with an egg yolk
- K.F.C. (Korean Fried Chicken) with Amish Chicken drumettes, Korean spicy and sweet glaze, and peanuts
- Morcilla with grilled morcilla, piquillo, and onion escabèche, fried fingerling potatoes, and smoked aioli
- Moules Fumees with smoked mussels, butter, sea salt, parsley salad, and served on toasted bread
- Polpo with grilled octopus, roasted fingerling potatoes, spicy pesto, and green olive chimichurri
- Short Rib Bao with short rib, Thai sate sauce, squash puree, and pickled vegetables
- Cha Gio with fried egg rolls stuffed with pork, shrimp, and vegetables
- Taro Taco with taro chip tortilla, tuna tartare, avocado, and jalapeño
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