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Check Into Sparrow Tonight, A Retro Hotel Themed Bar Without the Baggage

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The group behind Bangers & Lace gives Gold Coast an accessible and sophisticated option.

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Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Tonight, Gold Coast nightlife gets a boost, as guests can check into Sparrow, a hotel lobby-inspired cocktail bar from the management group behind The Betty and Bangers & Lace. The space soft opens this weekend, with the formal launch coming on Monday.

Few will recognize Sparrow from the former tenant, 12 West, as Footman Hospitality has restored the space's hotel lobby atmosphere. As stories are told, The Sparrow sits in an art deco apartment building that dates back to 1927. Footman's goal was to turn the space into a sophisticated spot for a night cap, making it feel like travelers have stepped back into Havana in the 1940s. The Cuban connection explains the rum-focused drink list (full menu below), curated by Peter Vestinos. He hopes he can do for rum at Sparrow what he did for gin at The Betty. There's pisco punch and sweeter stuff, but Vestinos' favorite may be El Presidente with rum, bianco vermouth, curacao and grenadine.

The space is a sharp contrast to the chaos next door at the late-night Hangge-Uppe. There's even a sign that says "no dancing." A working phone booth inside harkens to the days of analog and continues the retro feel, urging customers to call their moms. There's a couple areas of plush lounge seats —near the window, in the middle of the bar and the back. The back area is a place to converse with larger groups, while the booths in the corner provide a level of intimacy. It's all the comforts of a hotel bar, without the baggage.

Check out the photos above.

Sparrow, 12 W. Elm St., (312) 725-0732, open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Friday. Open until 3 a.m. on Saturday. Closed on Sunday.

Sparrow Menu