VBD Hospitality owners Veronica and Vincent Beckman, Brian DeNicolo, and JP Bitting, alongside team members of Chicago’s Peruvian restaurant Tanta, expand their cultural expertise with the opening of Arbella (112 W. Grand Ave.). The new libation locale presents an energetic, sophisticated space celebrating the culturally diverse backgrounds of the team members. The 70-seat bar opens in River North this April—steps away from the group’s renowned first restaurant.
“Knowing Chicago is a hub for international travel, we wanted to create an eclectic experience where passions for mixology, food, music, and art are key components,” VBD Hospitality co-owner Veronica Beckman says. “Arbella is an intimate space where guests can escape and feel captured by a sense of travel and exploration.”
Arbella is rooted in the team's eclectic cultural backgrounds and family traditions, as well as a shared passion for travel. Pulling inspiration from their heritages and wanderlust, VBD Hospitality chose the name Arbella as a symbol of both a sense of discovery and a voyage of a ship traveling from the Old World to the New.
Arbella sets the scene as a sophisticated, social gathering place for cocktail enthusiasts reveling in the art of mixology—energetic with classic exotic touches from eclectic art and music. The owners of this travel-esque, boutique bar handpicked a staff that’s passionate about their craft, with a specialization in creating imaginative cocktails with an elevated presentation.
The exploration at Arbella begins with a menu showcasing a progressive craft approach, with techniques and flavors derived from Europe, Asia, the Americas, the Caribbean, and more. Touches of modern molecular mixology, infused ice, large-format cocktails, and dessert drinks make up the dynamic, explorative cocktail list. With playful displays and presentations, each cocktail intends to transport the mind to a specific place and evokes a sense of travel. From low-proof libations to boozier sipping potions, options appeal to both novice and dynamic drinking palates.
Chefs Jesus Delgado and Cristian Padilla take inspirations from the team’s diverse family backgrounds—Italian, Russian, Mexican, French, Swiss, Spanish, Irish, Chilean, Peruvian, and Vietnamese—to create an elevated, yet approachable menu. Many of the small-plate selections are created with the use of a wood-fire grill.
Designed by Bill Ewert of Chicago-based ESYN Design, Arbella pays homage to the fantasy of historical travels, which couples with the internationally inspired beverage menu. Heritage meets chemistry with design elements evoking both a sense of historical artifacts and chemical nomenclature. Custom artwork, created by artists such as Joseph Danger India, Bendow, Sierra Walker, and Jeff Zimmerman, portrays concepts of mapping, wondering, itinerary, and family memories.