Nearly seven years have passed since Estereo, a bright and breezy agave-obsessed cocktail bar, landed on a once-quiet corner in Logan Square with a loose, laid-back atmosphere that created a neighborhood drinking destination. Now, Fulton Market, one of the city’s buzziest dining neighborhoods, is about to gain its very own sequel from Heisler Hospitality.
Estereo FM, which opens today, May 12 at 1001 W. Fulton Market Avenue, is a “sister, not a twin” of the Logan Square original, says general manager DJ Dodd. Fans will instantly recognize the aesthetic similarities, from its corner location to a serpentine concrete bar to the patterned tiles on the floor.
“When this space became available, one thing it already had were all these operable windows,” Heisler co-founder Jeff Donahue says. “It has that open-air atmosphere that people know from Logan. It seemed like a no-brainer at that point.”
Heisler, also behind Lone Wolf and Sportsman’s Club, will ease patrons in with classics from Logan Square like the Breezy (cold brew yerba mate soda, falernum). Over time, Dodd and spirits manager Guillermo Martinez will develop an entirely distinct lineup of cocktails and spirits.
New opening menu options include a duo of frozen drinks: a salted mango cocktail with tequila, and a blackberry lime bramble with mezcal. Made in a double-barreled slushy machine, the flavors can be combined together into a boozy swirl. “I’m a big fan of Miko’s [Italian Ice] so it was our dream to recreate the frozen mango,” Dodd says. “I used to sneak it into Estereo and order a shot, so that’s kind of the inspiration.”
An eight-year veteran of the bar group, Martinez says Estereo FM (so named for Fulton Market, not the ancient radio art of frequency modulation) presents him with an ideal opportunity to expand the back bar and offer additional support to the small distilleries where he sources agave spirits. Bigger demand can make a significant economic impact on these purveyors who are also experts in agave, an agricultural product that can vary widely from year to year. Martinez says he’s happy to guide customers through the many corners of the agave universe and is confident that he can find an “expression” (or variety) for every willing patron. “If you see me behind the bar, challenge me and tell me that you don’t like mezcal,” he jokes.
Back in 2016, the original Estereo debuted with morning coffee service. That ended some time ago, but in a throwback move, Estereo FM will transform into a coffee shop and espresso bar staffed by the team from Avondale’s Four Letter Word. There will also be a daily menu of empanadas from Cafe Tola. Opening hours in Fulton Market are noon to 2 a.m. through Sunday, May 14.
Estereo FM, 1001 W. Fulton Market Avenue, open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday; 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.