Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Drink With the Boss

Mob boss, not Springsteen, at The Tortoise Club

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Welcome back to old Chicago.
 
The whiskey is stronger, the pianos are grander, and mob bosses sit in the corner booth.
 
Not real mob bosses, but caricatures who guard the walls of the new Prohibition-era bar and eatery The Tortoise Club, opening Monday.
 
Tucked away in a sunken entryway off State Street, gas lanterns act as a reminder that you are not in 2012 anymore. Completing the illusion: a grand piano, forest green lounge chaise, and even a library stocked with real (gasp!) paper books.

But it's the leather-outfitted dining room of tufted booths and oriental rugs that steals the show, setting the amber glow backdrop for a menu of boudin blanc, pheasant pie, and steak tartare.
 
Stick around after dinner for a curated selection of quintessential whiskies and a slew of signature cocktails from the Tipsy Tortoise to the Corpse Reviver #2.

And remember those cheeky grinning portraits on the walls? Scan the QR code under each frame to read their stories.

Just like in 1922 — except with iPhones.

The Tortoise Club tortoiseclub.com
350 N. State St. (at Chicago River), River North
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Price: 3 (out of 4)
Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Subway: Brown, Green, Orange or Pink Line to State/Lake
Scene: Business casual power lunchers or happy hour executives
Best bets: Maine lobster roll; pan roasted quail; cauli mac
Hot seat: Crushed camel-colored velvet lounges sit equidistant from the bar and the baby grand piano
Nearby: House of Blues; Bin 36; Public House

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