Opening today, Chef José Andrés is bringing Chicago another reason to celebrate. In partnership with Gibsons Restaurant Group, Andrés and ThinkFoodGroup will open two exciting culinary concepts on the first and second floors in the Bank of America Tower. Bazaar Meat will introduce a new style of steakhouse to Chicago with its theatrical interpretations of meat and vegetables. Bar Mar will offer a lively experience as well, but as opposed to the land, it will focus on the sea, as well as creative cocktails.
Bazaar Meat and Bar Mar represent the fourth and fifth new concepts in Chicago from ThinkFoodGroup, following Café By The River—another joint venture with GRG and located beneath Bar Mar—Jaleo, Andrés’s original and most personal Spanish restaurant, and Pigtail, the basement cocktail lounge below Jaleo in the city’s River North neighborhood. These December openings conclude a milestone year for the ThinkFoodGroup brand in Chicago.
“Chicago is one of the top culinary destinations in the world—one which we’ve been excited to join for many years,” remarks José Andrés. “We can’t wait to add these new concepts to the city, and there’s no better place to do so than from the Loop and overlooking the Chicago River!”
Bazaar Meat is a wild and wonderful celebration of the carnivorous, in all its forms. Guests will check-in at Bar Mar on the first floor, where they are greeted with a welcome cocktail before ascending to the elaborately redefined steakhouse, designed by Lázaro Rosa-Violán from Barcelona. The menu, ambiance and design all represent bold choices, big flavors and stunning showmanship. Past meat curing boxes at the entrance, the expansive dining room offers three experiences for dining—the main dining room, a 10-seat bar, or the eight-seat meat bar, positioned in front of the centerpiece Ispor brick oven from Spain, just one of two in the United States.
“Bazaar Meat is an exciting interpretation of the modern steakhouse. We were so inspired and impressed by the concept when we first dined there in Las Vegas that we wanted to bring it to our hometown of Chicago,” says Steve Lombardo III, chairman at GRG. “Our partnership with ThinkFoodGroup is a great one. Our operating philosophies are aligned, as we share the same core values of extreme hospitality and delivering incredible dining experiences to every one of our customers.”
On the extensive menu, meat reigns supreme with unique and rare offerings like Vaca Vieja ribeye (a Spanish tradition meaning “old cow”), whole Iberian suckling pig and the Japanese Wagyu program. Not to be missed, everything from poultry to fish to hearty vegetables are grilled or roasted to perfection in the restaurant’s “fire stage.” The shareable plates format offers all guests the opportunity to enjoy the vast breadth of delicious offerings, as do multiple tasting menu experiences inclusive of the little snacks, carpaccios and tartares.
Featuring a seafood-focused menu of small plates and bites along with an expansive list of beverages with Bazaar Meat’s signature theatrics, Bar Mar offers a lively destination to gather for any occasion—from lunch to after work drinks to dinner. With 200 seats within the 40-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, Bar Mar is the perfect place to see and be seen along Upper Wacker Drive. Also designed by Lázaro Rosa-Violán, a massive octopus hangs from the ceiling and provides a stunning centerpiece in the room.
Highlights on the menu include more than meets the eye—the Everything Bagel Airbread comes in the shape of a fish, filled with cream cheese espuma and topped with smoked salmon, while the Not so Po Boy José! features a fried oyster with Platinum Malassol caviar and tartar sauce in a steamed brioche bun. Guests can grab a seat at the bar for a bespoke cocktail or dine at the raw bar for a Margarita Oyster, Cobia “Rosa” Ceviche, or a simple but delicate crudo and sashimi. During the warmer months, the accordion-style windows will fold back to unveil a true indoor-outdoor feel with 40 additional patio seats.
Bar Mar (first floor) and Bazaar Meat (second floor) will open to the public on Dec. 15 at 120 N. Wacker Drive, within the Bank of America Tower. Bazaar Meat will open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Bar Mar will be open for lunch through dinner, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Reservations are available via Seven Rooms.
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