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Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Bar: Going to Prairie School

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Themed bars can be tricky. They exist because drinks are not enough — people need to be drawn to a watering hole with a little (or a lot) of flair. However, cool can quickly become kitsch if you aren’t careful. There are no shortage of good theme bars, like the Lebowski Bar in Reykjavik, or any number of Zombie Apocalypse haunts, but more often than not we wonder, “What were they thinking?” as we enter one of these places. We won’t name names, but anything that incorporates beds into a bar scene is a problem.

That said, the new Frank Lloyd Wright-themed cocktail bar is a cut above the rest. Word of warning, the website for the aptly named Prairie School is unhelpful to say the least. You can do little more than locate the address (in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood) and make a reservation. Without a menu or a description it is hard to say why you would go, but go you should, at least once, if you enjoy Prairie-style architecture and a fancy drink. The ambiance of the bar is the big draw with its beautiful lines and comfortable chairs and booths. Even the ice cubes have beautiful arts and crafts lines embedded in the surfaces.

Quintessentially Midwestern with the balance of Japanese architecture that influenced Wright, this school of drink and design is exactly what an upscale theme bar should be. Enjoy any number of cocktails, like the Gin Blossom, Toronto Sour, or Falling Water, while snacking on a distinct selection of small plates like pickled vegetables and cheese curds. Rumor has it there will be a malört-inspired cocktail, which, for a Chicagoan, is a real pick-me-up.

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