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Elixir, a New Mixology Lounge, Opening This Weekend

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While many of the bars along the Halsted strip in Boystown hock a lot of bottled beer and vodka soda, the scene is about to get something a little swankier. Elixir Lounge, the latest project from Mark Liberson (Halsted's Bar & Grill, Hydrate), will introduce a craft cocktail bar with a special mixology program in an intimate space set to open this weekend.

Elixir, in the former RJ's Video storefront next door to Hydrate, was designed by Nick Bowers (Lillie's Q, Epic Sky) and underwent a total gut rehab. The 42-seat spot has high ceilings, luxe gray curtains, exposed brick and windows that open to the street. While cozy banquettes would have certainly added to the lounge vibe, a handful of high-top tables are instead placed throughout the space surrounded by comfortable stools with white leather seats. Liberson said they will hold the door and keep the lounge to its capacity in order to maintain Elixir's relaxed vibe.

Elixir's cocktail program, which was created by Johnny Costello (GT Fish & Oyster, Tiny Lounge), comprises many small-batch and boutique spirits, so don't expect to find Absolut and Bombay here. And Elixir will also have a special ice machine that produces uniform-sized cubes that melt slower to avoid watering down your drink.

Costello's debut list of handcrafted cocktails features 11 drinks ranging from the Honey Blossom (Dos Amos reposado tequila, creme de violette, orange blossom water, fresh lime and honey) and the Bourbon Shrub (Weller 7-year bourbon, homemade shrub, lemon juice, black tea and rosemary) to the Italian Iced Tea (prosecco, Ramazotti, Lillet Blanc, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice) and a margarita that has both Altos Plata tequila and Sombra mezcal. Cocktails will average $10.

And once you've had your fill of fancy cocktails and want to get your dance on, a secret door connects you directly to Hydrate so you don't even have to mingle with the rest of the people waiting out on the street.

Elixir Lounge

3452 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL