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Drink Global: Tanta Plans A New Cocktail Lounge in River North

Arbella will feature drinks and small bites from around the world.

Future site of Arbella
Future site of Arbella
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.

The drinks aren't all about trendy Pisco for the folks at Peruvian powerhouse Tanta, as they've announced plans for a new cocktail lounge in River North featuring drinks and food from around the world. Arbella is scheduled to open in March at 112 W. Grand Ave., according to restaurant reps. Chicago magazine first reported the news.

"It's going to be a very cozy spot," Tanta assistant GM and soon-to-be Arbella GM Diego Pilares said. "It's going to be fairly moody, fun, not too clubby; it's not big enough for that."

There will be room for 70 seats inside. The bar's name comes from the ship Puritans used in 1630 to sail the Atlantic Ocean to Salem, Mass., where passengers brought about 10,000 gallons of booze with them, hence the cocktail connection for Tanta. Arbella wants the "Old World meets New World" metaphor reflected in their drink list of classics augmented by "new-age progressive cocktails" from around the globe. But they'll still mix a mean Pisco sour, Pilares reassured.

Tanta executive chef Jesus Delgado and sous chef Cristian Padilla are also creating a menu of mostly small plates to complement the drinks. The menu remains in development, so there's no word if it will include Tanta's famous pork fried rice.

As for music, Pilares and Co. will wait to see how customers embrace their new project before deciding if they'll employ DJs. Inside, artwork from Joseph Danger India and Bendow will decorate the space with a theme of exploration and travel, just like the passengers onboard that 17th Century ship.

"For me, personally, just like Tanta, the most exciting thing is being able to not just teach, but to open the gateway toward giving people the opportunity to taste something they haven't before," Pilares said. "To give them the option to try something different and new. Especially these days, it's so hard to find something different."

Tanta Chicago

118 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 222-9700 Visit Website