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Look Inside La Sirena Clandestina, Opening This Week

Reclaimed wood and other materials were used throughout the restaurant
Reclaimed wood and other materials were used throughout the restaurant

[Photos: Brian Willette]

The opening for La Sirena Clandestina is inching closer and closer and should happen any day now. Word is inspections are taking place over the next couple of days so if they pass, the doors could open by the end of the week—if not before. You've already read about chef/owner John Manion's menu and Justin Anderson's drink program. So now it's time to hear about the space, designed by creative director Brian Willette.

La Sirena Clandestina, which means the "hidden mermaid," took over the former Dodo space (former owner Kim Dalton is also a partner in this venture). Back in January, Willette told Eater that Brigitte Bardot's 1964 visit to the Brazilian beach town of Buizos would partly serve as inspiration for the 42-seat spot and that "the vibe will be lively and fun, while staying approachable and sexy."

To achieve that, Willette used reclaimed wood in various colors found in a church on the city's West Side for the restaurants floor, table tops and even on the bar to create a feeling that it had been here a long time. For anyone who had ever been inside Dodo, however, you know that the space looks completely different. They have metal Toledo chairs found in a school for the tables and have 10 authentic Toledo stools from the 1940s at the bar. All the tables are bound in metal to give them a more industrial feel while keeping them sturdy.

MIT cage pendant lights, that look like industrial work lights, hang throughout the space giving off ambient light. A series of large globe lights hang over the bar being held up by nautical-looking wire meshing and cubical wood shelving hangs behind the bar to hold various spirits. Large warehouse windows grace the front and side of the restaurant, adding to the gritty urban vibe found just outside in Fulton Market. Toward the back, burnt orange leather banquettes sit against one wall while a found reupholstered vintage love seat, which spans two tables, sits just in front of the semi-open kitchen. And Bardot? A small mural of her likeness is painted on the brick above some tables across from the kitchen, just in case they ever need a reminder.

"I really pushed to create a space that is sexy and approachable without pretension," Willette said. "I wanted this to feel like someplace that has been here a long time. Something new, yet familiar."
· John Manion Reveals La Sirena Clandestina Menu [~EChi~]
· Justin Anderson on La Sirena Clandestina's Drink Program [~EChi~]
· John Manion Taking Over Dodo for La Sirena Clandestina [~EChi~]
· All La Sirena Clandestina Coverage on Eater Chicago

La Sirena Clandestina

954 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 226-5300 Visit Website