River North’s newest club, where customers will sip on boozy drinks served in plastic containers reminiscent of a kid’s juice box, opens on New Year’s Eve. LiqrBox is a three-level, 7,500 square-foot-space where the Stone Lotus nightclub once stood at 873 N. Orleans Street. The nostalgia doesn’t stop with the adult juice boxes, as LiqrBox will also serve their take on a Chicago classic: the pizza puff.
The club holds a late-night liquor license, which enables the bar to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. every day except Saturday into Sunday when the bar can stay open until 5 a.m. While there’s plenty of music and dancing, LiqrBox’s owners also wants to stress the food component. They’ve brought in Mark Sparacino, chef/owner of Prosecco, the Italian restaurant that’s been around since 2007 in River North. Upscale bars/lounges, like LiqrBox, don’t want to be too intimidating, preferring to retain some semblance of approachability. Sparacino has created some unique riffs on tavern food including a five-cheese grilled cheese, corndog popcorn shrimp, and a short-rib Italian beef.
Some of that sounds a little like Regards to Edith in Fulton Market. Like LiqrBox, Regards to Edith has a cheffy pizza puff, an item that — according to the Tribune’s wonderful and in-depth pizza puff investigation — has as much in common with a chimichanga that it does with a calzone. The kitchen will stay open until 3 a.m.
Back to the drinks, including the LiqrBox’s signature selection, the adult juice box. It’s small enough to fit into a front coat pocket. The drink will come in seven different flavors, designated by a different colored box. They’ll also serve a selection of classic drinks to please purists.
The space will host music and the interiors will include tall plush booth seating installed against street-art inspired walls. The bar’s ownership is a partnership between BDG Hospitality (formerly of Parliament/Kensington) and Carmen Rossi’s 8 Hospitality (Hubbard Inn, Joy District, Barn & Company, HVAC Pub). BDG’s Matt Deichl is also part of the team behind Bounce Sporting Club, the River North sports lounge that opened last month.
A New Year’s Eve opening doesn’t mean a ticketed event for LiqrBox. They’ll open at 9 p.m. first come, first served. Come back in the coming weeks for more details.