Subway: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Chicago(312) 988-7864 sumirobatabar.com41.894975 -87.634306 702 N Wells St (at Huron St) River North, Chicago
Mon–Wed 5pm–11pm; Thu–Sat 5pm–midnightAverage cocktail: $15
The character of this small, shadowy enclave beneath the outstanding Sumi Robata Bar is determined almost entirely by its sole bartender, Matthew Lipsky. Lipsky's demeanor is (we assume) intended to be deferential, but his performance of humility comes off stilted and uncomfortable. Instead of handing over a menu, he prefers to engage in the Socratic method to determine what drink you'd like; he chips away at an ice cube for multiple minutes to form an (admittedly beautiful) orb; and, just to warn you, his signature off-menu old-fashioned, made with pricey 10-year-aged Whistle Pig rye, rings up at $18.