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Couch seating with low tables in a basement bar.
Dorothy debuts Friday underneath Split-Rail.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Tour This Funky New Basement Cocktail Den With Comfy Couches and Vinyl Records

Dorothy opens Friday underneath Split-Rail, near Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village

Chicago’s bars, in their purest form, are comforting community spaces that welcome all while giving customers the space to relax and express themselves. These are places where bartenders won’t judge customers, whether they order a cheap canned beer or a fancy cocktail that takes a few minutes to mix. Dorothy, opening on Friday in the basement of Split-Rail — a restaurant near the Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park border — is a throwback to that affable feeling, a cocktail lounge where customers won’t feel as if they’re being packed in like a can of sardines.

The basement features plush seating and a funky ’70s motif with disco balls. The pillars are decorated with the drink and beer lists. The corner area houses loft-like seating where customers could put their feet up and relax while listening to an all-vinyl soundtrack. Dorothy won’t be looking to keep customers churning in and out. Owners Zoë Schor and Michelle Szot are launching a new hospitality company, Drinking Policy; after Split-Rail, Dorothy is the duo’s second project. They’ve created a bar for those who are more confident in what cocktails they like, with a come-as-you-are atmosphere.

Szot’s drink list comes in a cute circular menu. The signature drinks use a variety of spirits; she’s not concentrating on a single liquor like mezcal or whisky. Dorothy will open with seven draft beers, including one custom brewed for the bar with Dark Matter coffee. Red and white wines and a margarita are also available on draft.

The wide-open space affords Schor and Szot flexibility to throw events. Schor wants to host a queer night, which will further demonstrate the space’s dedication to inclusivity. Take a walk through the space below. Dorothy opens on Friday.

Dorothy, in the basement of Split-Rail, 2500 W. Chicago Avenue, opening on Friday, will be open daily at 5 p.m.

A red door in between gray brick walls.
Dorothy has a separate entrance off Chicago Avenue.
A red door.
The other side of the door on the inside.
A black baby grand piano in front of a bar.
A giant shaggy organ couch, gray lounge chairs, and more.
A large square wooden bar surrounded by tall barstools. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The bar is in the center of the space.

To the left of the door, this loft space is perfect for large groups to hang out.
A loft couch that’s elevated.
Tons of pillows, fluffy couches, and more.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Couch seating with low tables in a basement bar. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

It’s very Regal Beagle inside.

Two comfy chairs with a lamp in between.
There’s plenty of room to relax and stay for a while.
An organ in back with two comfy chairs and a lamp table.
The organ in the back is a nice touch.
A round rink menu with illustrations, and a purple-ish drink on the right. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Night Circus (Old Tom gin, strawberry liqueur. lemon, basil, creme de violet, black pepper)

Split-Rail

2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website

Split-Rail

2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website
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