Perfect for

Downing funky cocktails in a space that’s new Chinatown cool

Start with

The Pink Cadillac. Made with vodka, Campari, strawberry, and Thai basil, it’s supremely crushable.

Chinatown’s first cocktail bar was always going to be a groundbreaker. But it’s hard to imagine more of a slam dunk for a neighborhood’s debut. What started as a Lunar New Year party at Moon Palace in 2019 turned into a scrappy pandemic pop-up in 2020, when co-owners Lily Wang (Estereo) and Joe Briglio (Blind Barber) began offering highballs and Japanese sandos. The next year, Wang’s parents scaled back Moon Palace to counter-service carryout and passed the torch. Siren Betty, one of the city’s best hospitality design firms, gave the space a big dose of cool with colorful lights, palm plants, wafting incense, a DJ booth, and a giant silver fan behind the bar. It’s the perfect backdrop for the duo’s cocktails.

Those tipples are fresh and unexpected, and highlight Asian ingredients. The mai tai has a housemade almond cookie orgeat that gives it deep nutty notes. The Paradise Lost is everyone’s favorite; it’s a clarified milk punch loaded with tropical flavors like mango, ube, and pineapple. How about baijiu? I love what they do with the biting Chinese sorghum spirit, which currently finds a home in a highball with aperitivo and rooibos. Snacks from chef Elvis Mom offer the same level of inventiveness, whether that’s the mapo hot fries or the McKatsu, a Big Mac crossed with a katsu sando. Transforming a longtime family restaurant and neighborhood anchor into something new took guts, but Wang and Briglio somehow managed to make it look easy. 216 W. Cermak Rd.