Paul McGee, one of Chicago's most-respected mixologists, is leaving The Whistler, a bar he helped launch a little more than three years ago. McGee circulated an email a bit ago saying he was parting ways with his partners, Robert Brenner and Billy Helmkamp, to work on a new venture with R.J. and Jerrod Melman.
While McGee's wife, Shelby Allison, who also serves as McGee's publicist, said they don't have more information to share at this time, Time Out Chicago confirmed that it will be in River North. Could it be the country/western bar they're putting into the old Frankie Z's space? With McGee's penchant for plaid and gingham, vests and his pretty awesome beard, coupled with the fact the Melmans told Eater they're shooting to open that in the summer, it seems like a good match.
"My partners at The Whistler remain great friends, and the wonderful and extremely capable staff of The Whistler will continue the great work we’ve done together since the beginning," McGee wrote in his email. His last day will be on Feb. 1, which coincides with the bar's final installment of its Book Club series.
· Paul McGee Leaving The Whistler for River North Melman Project [TOC]
· Melmans Morphing Frankie Z's into Country/Western Bar [~EChi~]
Paul McGee [Photo: StarChefs]