Meet River North's Tippling Hall

November 11 2014 - 1:10 PM

River North has no lack of bars. But bars with awesome food? That’s something the neighborhood is crying out for. When I’m in the area I often find myself at odds – do I want a fancy dinner or a fun bar? There aren’t a ton of options in between.

Enter Tippling Hall, the newest offering from Mercadito Hospitality. Unlike a number of the restaurant group’s other offerings, the new venture focuses more on the cocktail, plus (semi) casual eats to accompany it. Tippling Hall combines the most successful aspects of the beverage programs from the other restaurants, from the perfect Mercadito margarita, to cocktails on tap like Tavernita and everything in between.

Here’s what you should know before you go:

  1. Tippling HallGo with a group
    The food menu is huge, and if you want to try even a fraction of it, you’ll want friends to share with. I’m not so sure that they’ve figured out the menu focus yet (you can get lobster pappardelle or beer cheese fondue), but I can’t complain because it’s all pretty tasty. If you happen to be in the mood for something more decadent, the pappardelle with big chunks of lobster is a steal for $23.50. The space is also impressive, with large booths not at all reminiscent of the previous Hop Haus space.
  2. Befriend your waiter
    The waitstaff is friendly, approachable and extremely knowledgeable for a new restaurant. Their honesty will help you out, even if you know exactly what you want to order. Our waiter recommended my favorite dishes of the night, ones I wasn’t even considering ordering – the mussels and the shrimp flatbread.
  3. Go to drink or go home
    Like I said, the drinks are the star of the show. The beverage menu has its own book, featuring wine sold by the inch, frozen cocktails, 5 bloody marys and cocktails to knock you off your feet. I loved the Good Juju, an Island inspired pineapple-rum concoction, and my BBQ Daisy, a spicy & smoky margarita. I’d go back just for these drinks.

While you might not get cheap drinks that you had in mind for a post-work gathering, you’ll certainly get a fun environment and delicious cocktails. And who doesn’t like bar food that doesn’t taste like bar food?

Tippling Hall
646 N. Franklin St.
Chicago, IL 60654