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One of Chicago’s Premier Bar Groups to Open in Willis Tower and Loop Food Halls

Bangers & Lace’s owners are slated to run bars in the two upcoming Urbanspace Chicago locations

A frothy orange cocktail in a coupe glass.
The group that makes the acclaimed cocktails at Sparrow will run two food hall bars downtown.
Sparrow [Official Photo]
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.

One of the city’s more successful bar groups has just signed on to operate the bars inside a New York company’s two upcoming downtown Chicago projects. Footman Hospitality — which runs Sparrow, Bangers & Lace, Spilt Milk, and more — will curate the beverages inside Urbanspace’s forthcoming Willis Tower and Loop food halls.

Footman partner and beverage director Peter Vestinos is excited to tackle Urbanspace’s halls. Both bars will have distinguishing features, he said, adding that there’s a mutual admiration between Urbanspace and Footman.

“For us, this is an opportunity to bring a new level of cocktailing into the Loop and to service the people who work in the heart of the city, visitors to Chicago, theater-goers, and the many residents moving into the area,” Vestinos wrote in an email.

Footman is finalizing the bars’s details, so stay tuned for intel on drinks and more. Vestinos did say they will share similarities with Sparrow, the group’s Gold Coast rum-heavy bar that’s popular as a date spot. The decor is reminiscent of a Prohibition-era bar in Havana.

“It will not be another Sparrow, but like Sparrow, we are working off of themes of transporting guests to an iconic, timeless time-period,” Vestinos added.

The Loop food hall should open “early next year” at 15 W. Washington Street, according to a representative. The Willis Tower location should follow sometime in 2020.

Urbanspace is a popular New York food hall operator that is bringing Brooklyn pizza icon Roberta’s to Chicago. Known for “Neo-Neapolitan” crusts, Roberta’s will be a tenant at both food halls. Urbanspace owners have vowed to lure a mix of local chefs and New York imports to fill out the rest of the lineups.

Alcohol sales can buoy the success of any restaurant, and food halls are no different. Bars are key elements at Politan Row in the West Loop and Time Out Market in Fulton Market. Time Out notably brought in the owners of Logan Square’s highly acclaimed tiki bar, Lost Lake, to run a bar on its second level, as well as an all-star lineup of bartenders to create drinks for its first-floor bar.

2019 might have been the year of the food hall in Chicago with four new ones, including Fulton Galley which opened and closed within a span of five months. 2020 may see the trend continue as Urbanspace opens at two high-profile downtown addresses — with two prominent bars. Expect more coverage in the new year.

Urbanspace, 15 W. Washington Street and 233 S. Wacker Drive (Willis Tower), Scheduled to open in early 2020 and sometime next year.

Willis Tower

233 S Wacker Dr, , Visit Website