Fort Willow

There's a Tent Full of Spiced Cocktails and Oyster Shooters In Here

You'll Find It Next to the Giant Fake Tree

By Sarah Freeman ·
None 12 Photos Fort Willow

Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” isn't even out yet.

But already it's holding powerful sway over our cocktail bars. 

Just take Fort Willow, a big fake forest of glowing lanterns and black leather booths surrounding a single ersatz tree trunk, now open for drinks in Elston Corridor. Take a look around.

A neon sign will illuminate your way to this clandestine cocktail bar, taking a cue from its sister, Ada Street. You'll enter, spy a swinging bench suspended from a slat-covered ceiling and a huge fake tree standing in the room's middle. You'll find the whole effect to be whimsical. If we had to guess.

Bring friends to take advantage of the booth inside of a canvas tent. Where you'll share plate after plate of za’atar-spiced labneh and duck rillette with naan. Each dish features the spices and flavors of a different country. Something you'd probably notice, if you weren’t so busy shooting oysters.

Look, here comes some Tree Fort Punch, a gin and mint cocktail made with green tea. And behind that, it's the Cape Route Mule loaded with turmeric, cumin, ginger and coriander.

And if you’re here between 5-6pm, those cocktails are just $5. Or if you come after 10pm, those drinks come with complimentary snacks.

Of course, there's something to be said for doing both.

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.


Fort Willow
1721 N Elston Ave
(on W Willow St)
Chicago, IL, 60642


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