Italian-Inspired Cocktail Bar Set To Open This Week In River North

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new Italian-inspired cocktail bar is coming to River North.

Brandon Phillips, named “Bartender of the Year” by Chicago Tribune in 2016 announced the opening of a new Italian-inspired cocktail bar, named Otto Mezzo – set to open Wednesday, April 26 at 8:30 p.m.

The cocktail bar will join Rockit Ranch Productions, the Chicago-based hospitality group behind the award-winning restaurants The Duck Inn and Bottlefork and other popular spots in the city, such as, Sunda, Rockit Bar & Grill and The Underground.

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Otto Mezzo, a new Italian cocktail bar (Credit: Rockit Ranch Productions)

“We’re looking forward to providing our guests with a late-night experience unlike any other in the city,” said Phillips, Barman & Partner, who helms the venue’s beverage program, in a statement. “The passion we’ve put into designing every aspect of this space is palpable, and we hope guests can come to rely on Otto Mezzo as a place where they can enjoy specialty cocktails and distinctive small bites till dawn knowing they won’t have to sacrifice quality service or atmosphere.”

Phillips designed Otto Mezzo’s cocktails after being inspired by post-war Italian culture. He plans to pay homage to popular liqueurs and spirits of the era like amaro and grappa. In addition to an extensive list of handcrafted cocktails, the bar will offer a selection of authentic Italian beers and premium Italian wines, curated by Phillips’ brother and renowned sommelier, Michael Taylor.

 Italian Inspired Cocktail Bar Set To Open This Week In River North

An Otto Mezzo drink highlight – Chiampan, a carbonated red wine-based cocktail is inspired by Phillips’ Italian grandmother’s favorite drink, Lambrusco. (Credit: Rockit Ranch Productions)

Though drinks are the main focus of the Italian cocktail bar, Phillips partnered with Kevin Hickey, Chicago Tribune’s 2016 “Chef of the Year,” to create an an “aperitivo” menu that will include a selection of small bites and pasta dishes.

The 65-seat space was designed by Phillips and Hickey “to feel like an intimate escape from reality.” It is furnished with a mix of new and vintage art deco pieces and will play an array of Italian jazz and hip-hop music. The space plans to “take guests out of the daily grind and invite them to get lost in an atmosphere of comfortable, unique luxury.”

Otto Mezzo is located at 311 W. Chicago Avenue in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The cocktail bar will be open Wednesday – Sunday 8:30 p.m.- 4 a.m. (Saturday 8:30 p.m. – 5 a.m.)

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