For those wondering what’s going on with Flight Club, the upcoming dart bar from the owners of the AceBounce ping-pong restaurant, listen up. Customers can expect to start flinging darts and sipping drinks sometime during the first week of May. Management won’t commit to an opening date for the space, just south of the Chicago River at 111 W. Wacker Drive. But in the meantime, Fight Club and chef Rick Gresh — who’s also in charge of the food at AceBounce — now unveil what they’ll serve customers.
The Chicago location will be the third iteration of Flight Club, which has two locations in England. Gresh talked about how the electronic scoring changes the experience. Just like at AceBounce, competitiveness isn’t a necessity to have fun. They’ll use real darts; visitors won’t find plastic tips here. The machines offer tutorials on how to play, so anyone can just jump in without being intimidated. Plus, electronic scoring means there’s no need to mess with chalk to keep tally. Creating a menu to accommodate dart players was a fun challenge to Gresh. Players may only have enough time for a quick bite in between turns.
“I thought about that quite a bit,” he said. “It’s so interactive when you’re on the oche and playing the game.”
Gresh has become indoctrinated with the game’s vernacular, as an oche refers to the line where players throw darts. There’s a special oche menu of smaller bites with items like flatbreads, skewers, and dips. Players will also find an extensive raw bar with seafood towers — here called castles. The menu also includes a New England-style white clam flatbreads and sliders made with pepperoni patties. There are items similar to AceBounce but prepped differently at Flight Club.
While Gresh used South Asia for inspiration at AceBounce, he’s leaning on the rest of continent for ideas at Flight Club. For the main restaurant, the commitment to raw seafood continues with an assortment of sushi. There are shrimp dumplings and mini poke tacos. For larger appetites, instead of serving a huge steak, there’s a 40-day dry-aged and dry-roasted short rib that could serve two to four. Gresh is a veteran of David Burke’s Primehouse, the shuttered downtown steakhouse which had its own dry-aging program on premises. Cooks will also dry age meats at Flight Club.
Gresh has been working on a wildcard for dessert: fresh cotton candy. Flight Club’s version won’t be the pink stuff from a festival. He’s thinking of flavors more aimed at adults like key lime pie, toasted coconut, and chai. It’s a good example of what they’re going for overall with the atmosphere at Flight Club: A playful, yet serious approach.
“It’s really meant to be a fun place,” he said. “If you’re not good at it, it doesn’t matter.”
Keep it here for more news on an opening date and the first look inside. Flight Club is one of the year’s most anticipated openings. Take a look at the menus below.