The sleek new West Loop spot Market strays from the sports-bar norm: It’s less about the champagne of beers and more about champagne, from a Chandon Brut-infused Tom Collins martini to an entire roster of sparkling cocktails. The addition of yeasty, boozy champagne to my Market Mojito ($12), for example, turned a classic into something entirely fresh—and seriously strong, to the point where I, in a very un-Chaserlike move, had only one beverage.
Well, one and a few sips of what I was originally served, which was a mojito sans the bubbly. Although Market opened to the public on May 1st, the spot didn’t secure its liquor license until Tuesday, and a few drink kinks remain. When our server brought my mojito to the table, I told him it tasted flat; he told me he didn’t think the bartender knew how to mix the drink. In the end, the problem might have been a hiccup in the ordering system, but Market has room to grow elsewhere on the cocktail front: Our mojito and margarita came without limes, a no-no in my—and most bartending—books; the menu lists close to zero drinks made with whiskey, leaving the Maker’s Mark lovers of the world out in the cold; and drink sizes were all over the place (a tumbler for the mojito, a pint glass for the margarita—which would have become a champagne flute if the latter, like the former, had been reconfigured as a sparkler).
Market’s interior is a little more seamless: some of the plushest high-back stools I’ve ever sat on, a sea of blond and white wood, and a beer garden and rooftop deck that were rained out on our visit but seem more than promising. If Market sounds like a sexy place to cocktail it up after work with friends, it is—pending a few tune-ups—but good luck avoiding the game in favor of well-heeled chatter. The bar-restaurant hybrid may be co-owned by White Sox GM Kenny Williams, but that doesn’t mean the Cubs, or any other team, is off-limits. When the game is playing on a row of flatscreens hung above the bar and tucked into practically every corner, you can’t look away—even if you’d like to.