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Boka’s New Fulton Market Cocktail Lounge to Feature Live Music

Lazy Bird joins Stephanie Izard’s Peruvian restaurant inside the Hoxton Hotel

A rendering of the Hoxton Hotel.
Morris Adjmi Architects/GREC Architects.
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.

CORRECTION: Live music is a part of Lazy Bird, but won’t it won’t be featured nightly. The story has been updated to reflect those changes. Also, a spokesperson said the hotel is now opening April 4.

Lazy Bird is the name of Boka Restaurant Group’s new basement bar inside the under-construction Hoxton Hotel in Fulton Market. Named for a John Coltrane song, the cocktail lounge will feature live music. It joins Stephanie Izard’s rooftop restaurant (Cabra) and the all-day Mediterranean-inspired restaurant from Chris Pandel (Cira) inside the hotel. The Hoxton is slated for an April 4 opening at 200 N. Green Street.

This bar is the first cocktail lounge Boka has designed from the ground up, said company beverage director Lee Zaremba. That gives Zaremba some room to play around with details inside the 65-seat room. The bar top will feature black and brown marble. AvroKO designed the space, and Zaremba described it as Midcentury Modern. There’s also a baby grand piano inside.

Customers will be greeted by a dense leather-bound menu featuring 52 classic cocktails. The book features hand-drawn illustrations and will also be for sale. Though the cocktails will be available daily, every week Zaremba plans to feature a particular drink. Staff will be briefed on the drink’s history and they’ll relay those stories to customers to celebrate the beverage.

These drawings are part of a leather-bound book for Lazy Bird.
Boka Restaurant Group [Official Illustration]
Boka Restaurant Group [Official Illustration]

Zaremba’s worked on Boka’s Gold Coast spots (Somerset and Devereaux) and the drinks at Bellemore in the West Loop. While Zaremba is quick to point out bartenders will make a classic drink the way a customer prefers, the drink book contains special takes on classics including an Old Fashioned with sarsaparilla. The bar will also rotate special drinks including the “Don’t Speak.” That’s a pisco drink with yerba mate, pear, lemon, barolo chinato, and crème de menthe.

“The thing I like most, besides the cocktails, what excited me about the bar is once you enter the space the doors kind of closed behind you,” Zaremba said. “It’s one big room and you could be anywhere — you could be at like a jazz club downtown 30 years ago.”

The lounge will host occasional live music and Chicago’s renowned musician JC Brooks will perform. Having a venue in Fulton Market has its advantages, Zaremba said. Apparently Boka founders Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz have musical connections that Zaremba didn’t know about. Boehm would drop names of performers who would pass through his old Nashville restaurant (Six Degrees). Names like Trisha Yearwood and George Strait. That impressed Zaremba.

“I was like, who are you?” Zaremba said.

Stay tuned for more details as April’s opening date grows closer.