Franklin Street in River North is one hot new bar away from becoming a drinking trend in and of itself—first the buzzy Tippling Hall a few months back, and now the Franklin Room (675 N. Franklin St., 312-445-4686). This brand-new temple of beer and whiskey (so much whiskey!) is a subterranean gastropub intended for both casual and hard-core imbibing.

The space itself is well appointed, and on its first weekend out, it was totally popping—we barely had room to take it all in. One entire wall is devoted to bottles of whiskey, and you can buy the stuff both by the glass and by the bottle. Even better, if you do buy the bottle, you can store it at the bar in a cabinet called the Bottle Keep and come back to take drinks at your leisure. And while some people had already taken advantage, most patrons this weekend were sipping a glass at a time.

Here's what else we saw when we stopped in.