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Inside Flora Fauna, a Star Industry Couple’s Ode to Latin America and Southeast Asia

River North’s hotly-anticipated tropical restaurant and bar opens June 12

Flora Fauna opens Wednesday in River North
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chicago’s eaters and drinkers get a highly-anticipated tropical destination in River North this week. Industry stars and married couple Liz Pearce and Jonathan Meyer debut Flora Fauna in the former Bohemian House space on Illinois Street on Wednesday, June 12 in hopes of giving downtowners a casual restaurant and bar to relax and indulge in drinks and dishes inspired by their travels to Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.

“We want [Flora Fauna] to be fun and casual,” Pearce, one of Chicago’s top cocktailers, says. “A place to get loud and talk to the people next to you and lounge and have a bunch of drinks.”

Pearce and chef Meyer’s partner Lou Waddle — owner of classic Chicago spot Green Door Tavern where Pearce’s essential speakeasy-style cocktail bar the Drifter is also located — secured the former Bohemian House space less than three months ago, she says. She and Meyer decided to turn the space into a home of “all our favorite things,” specifically a tropical vibe that feels like patrons are outside even in the middle of winter and a menu of the “world’s cuisines greatest hits.”

The quick turnaround of the space means the team implemented only cosmetic changes to make it “Tulum-inspired” and it still has a similar layout as Bohemian House. Changes include the “removal of anything European looking,” refacing the bar to be “California chic,” adding lots of tropical plants, twinkling lights, and painting using lots of greens and deep blues and tropical murals. Pearce says partner Allison Dincecco ran with her design ideas to create the finished space.

Full menus are not yet available but expect a range of drinks and dishes inspired by the aforementioned global cuisines, although Pearce says they’re “being very careful not to rip off anyone’s culture.” Items will include a hot pot that incorporates a molcajete, and a pineapple old fashioned with Old Forester 100 bourbon, pineapple cordial, blackstrap rum, and angostura bitters.

Flora Fauna opens on Wednesday and reservations are now available online. Take a first look around the space below.

Flora Fauna’s entrance on W. Illinois Street
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Green and blue tones enhance the restaurant’s tropical feel
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Tropical plants are tucked into corners and dangle overhead
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Tall windows let the sunshine into the space
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Customers can nestle into teardrop-shaped chairs or lounge on a bamboo couch
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
There are tables for large parties and smaller groups
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A hanging monkey lamp peers down on diners
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A refaced “California chic” bar runs along the side wall
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Behind the bar, there will be a focus on cutting down waste
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Owners removed all traces of “anything European looking” from the former Bohemian House space
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Intimate booths are offset by colorful, patterned wallpaper
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A long banquette lines the side wall beside the bar
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Textiles like this leafy fabric mimic the plants near the restaurant’s entrance
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Diners don’t need to be lepidopterists to appreciate these specimens
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Tiny birds and bees adorn the restroom doors
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Bohemian House

11 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 955-0439 Visit Website

Flora Fauna

11 West Illinois Street, , IL 60654 (312) 624-9276 Visit Website

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