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A bartender pours a jigger of Carpano on top of a tall cocktail.
Meadowlark turns the page with a brand new cocktail menu.
Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

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Celebrate the 130th Birthday of the 1893 World’s Fair With These Lavish Cocktails

Meadowlark used historical archives to develop their new drinks to celebrate the World’s Columbian Exposition’s anniversary.

Dust off that copy of The Devil in the White City, Chicago: Logan Square cocktail bar the Meadowlark has unveiled a new drink menu whisking patrons through the grand sprawl of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in honor of the cultural landmark’s 130th anniversary.

The final component of a three-venue corner from the team behind all-day salumeria Lardon and beer-focused Union, Meadowlark debuted in September. After nine months of a menu themed around birds of the Midwest, it's time for a change from Violet Hour alum Abe Vucekovich.

A bartender spoons green bubbles on top of a white cocktail in a collins glass.
Fisheries Building (Aalborg Aquavit, Clemente Martinique Rhum, Carpano Bianco, Green Chartreuse, lime seaweed-cucumber shrub).
A red-orange cocktail in a long-stemmed glass with a green lime twist garnish.
Hööden Palace (Mancino Sakura Vermouth, Oka Kura Bermutto, Takamine 8-year Koji-Fermented Whiskey, Kiyomi Japanese Rum).

Dubbed “The Magic City,” the new menu taps into research from newspaper archives and academic institutions, which translates into 16 cocktails inspired by the fair’s exhibitions and inventions that drew over 27 million visitors to Chicago in the late 19th century. Much like its ornithology predecessor, the menu is presented in a gorgeously illustrated and bound book that leads drinkers through the fairgrounds.

For example, the Streets of Cairo exhibition — a complex of 27 buildings filled with replicas of a mosque, public fountain, and kuttab — brings a cocktail made of Vusa African vodka, Uruapan Charanda Blanco, watermelon, and hibiscus. “The buildings were mostly built in Egypt and shipped to Chicago, allowing fairgoers to be transported back to the banks of the River Nile, where watermelons grow wild,” the menu reads.

A bound blue menu book beside two cocktails.
The Ferris Wheel (Singani 63, Dolin Genepy, Melon L’Apéritif de L’Artisan, Carpano Botanic, Herbsaint).

The snow cone-esque Ferris Wheel (Singani 63, Dolin Genepy, Melon L’Apéritif de L’Artisan, Carpano Botanic, Herbsaint), is named after engineer George Ferris’ giant moveable wheel that debuted at the 1893 World’s Fair; and the Hööden Palace (Mancino Sakura Vermouth, Takamine 8-year Koji-Fermented Whiskey, Kiyomi Japanese Rum), a tribute to the Emperor of Japan’s gift of three permanent buildings to Chicago, including the Phoenix Palace, known in part for its stylistic influence on Frank Lloyd Wright. The drinks are balanced by small plates from executive chef and partner Chris Thompson. These include hickory-smoked mussels, chicken liver mousse with sour cherries and pistachio, and a Cracker Jack-laden chocolate brownie from pastry chef Olivia Sweets (both Cracker Jack and brownies were first introduced at the fair).

Meadowlark’s team acknowledges the millions of stories in the White City with an afterword noting the troubling, often racist representation of BIPOC and other marginalized groups at the fair, and groups that used the event as an opportunity to speak out. These included Simon Pokagon, a Potawatomi leader who gave a speech at the fair condemning the widespread abuse of indigenous people in the U.S.

Such a closing note is rare in hospitality, where festive escapism usually reigns. It’s an intentional move, as Vucekovich hopes to foster conversations and reflections among drinkers about how the city has — and hasn’t — changed over more than a century.

A tall orange cocktail on a bar.
Horticultural Hall (Coconut-Infused Glendalough Gin, Broadbent 5-year Madeira, Plantation Pineapple Rum, Bamboo Orgeat, Coffee Pecan Bitters).
A pink cocktail in a tall collins glass.
A charcuterie board on a table next to a cocktail.
A display of a board with chicken liver mousse beside a cocktail.

Chicken liver mousse (sour cherries, pistachios).

A round dish of ice cream with whipped cream.
Pastry chef Olivia Sweet extends the World’s Fair theme into her desserts.
A round bowl holds a dessert with Cracker Jack and a chocolate brownie.
Cracker Jack chocolate brownie.

The Meadowlark

2812 West Palmer Street, , IL 60647 (773) 697-8070 Visit Website

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