Perfect for

A grown-up date night

Start with

The Purple Finch, a vibrant and fruity gin number

No new bar excels at the details quite like Meadowlark. The third concept at the corner of California Avenue and Palmer Street from Meadowlark Hospitality (the other two are charcuterie darling Lardon and bustling beer bar Union), it offers the kind of refined drinking experience that’s been hard to find since the pandemic. Beverage director Abe Vucekovich (Violet Hour) has compiled a menu of Midwestern bird–themed cocktails that deliver nuance, like the Song Sparrow, a delicate balance of mezcal and rye, with sherry and benedictine adding depth. But Meadowlark’s strengths go beyond the drinks — it’s the warm welcome at the desk where you check in, the highbrow-casual snacks like sour cream and onion chips with caviar, the book-lined shelves and the cozy leather couches, which all make it the kind of bar to go back to again and again. 2812 W. Palmer St.