DineAmic Hospitality has a reputation for excess, and the Chicago restaurant group behind Bandit in West Loop, uses playful food and drink and a generous helping of pop culture nostalgia to draw customers. That approach worked for 10 years at Public House, but all good things must come to an end as the River North bar closed in October for a remodel and rebrand. Enter Radio Room, a sparkling new bar with tiered towers of fancy bar food, glittery cocktails, and live music with DJs on the northwest corner of State and Kinzie.
When the pandemic took hold, a ban on indoor dining created an unexpected opportunity for ownership to completely revamp the space. The bar’s wide appeal was a key factor in its longevity, says DineAmic co-founder Lucas Stoioff. So he designed Radio Room to draw lunchtime diners, after-work cocktail drinkers, lively dinner crowds, and nocturnal party animals.
At 10,000 square feet, the main space is divided into an East Bar Room and West Bar Room, each with a 100-foot concrete and copper bar alongside booths and high-top tables. Though Public House’s exposed brick walls remain, the space is decidedly more bright and stylish, outfitted in various shades of gold. 200,000 RGB pin-twinkle lights shine from the ceiling resembling a blanket of glittering stars. Staff can set lights to strobe, change colors, and even spell out words, creating what Stoioff hopes will be a “wow moment” as musicians, DJs, and other performers keep the energy high.
Tucked in a slightly elevated ten-by-ten-foot space dubbed the Deck, patrons can find the “Pop-A-Shot Shot Bar” with familiar shot selections like flaming Dr Peppers and pickle-backs. Operators also transformed Public House’s intimate corner “library” into a slightly more private space called the Studio, complete with acoustic paneling on the walls, a gold disco ball, and handmade hanging light fixtures crafted from vintage microphones.
Stoioff and co-founder David Rekhson like to create an atmosphere that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That vibe extends to the kitchen, helmed by executive chef Andrew Sikkelerus (Barrio, Rosebud Restaurants), and menu items like the Phat Stack Sliders — four cheeseburger sliders piled atop one another and doused in cheese sauce on a mountain of curly fries (American cheese, pickles, crispy shallots). Other options include sandwiches like a smoked brisket Rueben (Swiss, caramelized sauerkraut, marble rye), grilled shrimp fajitas, and Public House’s popular wings. The team plans to soon add a brunch menu.
Drinkers can toast to cult classics like Donnie Darko with the glittery Sparkle Motion (the Botanist, Aperol, prosecco) or contemplate Matt Damon’s fake chin piercing with a frozen Scotty Doesn’t Know (wildberry sangria). There’s also a lineup of draft and bottled beers, wines, and shots.
Rekhson is especially proud of the Gran Plateu, his play on the decadent shellfish tower at DineAmic steakhouse Prime & Provisions. In lieu of crab legs and oysters, Radio Room loads its silver, three-tiered trays with bar favorites like chicken tenders, fried cheese curds, chicken wings, and crispy calamari. It can be paired with optional bottle of Veuve for just $350 extra — another nod to the co-founders’s “opulent versus casual” ethos.
Explore the space and menu items in the photos below.
Radio Room, 400 N. State Street, Open 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday; noon to 2 a.m. Friday; noon to 3:30 a.m. Saturday.