The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet

Three Stories of Wine and Absinthe on Tap in the West Loop

It’s Also Got Fried Smelts

By Sarah Freeman ·
None 9 Photos The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet
The West Loop has another bar.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, is not a notable proclamation.

But when you consider the fact that the new bar is The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet... just so much more notable.

It’s a three-story imbiber’s paradise from the longtime restaurant pros behind such marvels as Marché, Vivo and Naha with two bars, one cozy dining room and a clandestine wine cellar. It’s open now, and here’s the slideshow.

Take note of the vintage birdcages suspended from exposed wooden rafters and the most comfortable leather banquettes on Randolph Street. Sit on one with a nice white blend courtesy of the Merkin winery. Rather than commenting on its tea and honey notes, casually mention that it’s made by Tool singer Maynard James Keenan.

Because it’s that sort of wine bar. Where you can eat fried smelts with Meyer lemon remoulade and mispronounce “gewürztraminer” without worrying about anyone judging you.

Or skip the wine altogether. The Budokan Pearl will attempt to steal the show with its gin, sake and pearl dust. And next month, you’ll be able to have one at the marble bar in the upstairs lounge.

For now, though, the white stone main bar with 24 taps offering sparkling wine and house absinthe should suffice. Or randomly invite 11 of your closest friends to dine at the private table in the basement wine cellar.

Special occasions be damned.
Sarah Freeman

Sarah Freeman is often accused of hiding secrets in her hair. She can make any cocktail, as long as that cocktail is a rye Old Fashioned, and has never met a saison she didn’t like.


The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet
736 W Randolph St
(at Halsted)
Chicago, IL, 60661


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