The Dandy Crown, a cocktail-focused neighborhood bar located in River West at 694 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago, quietly reopened in July since the COVID-19 mandated shut down in March. Unveiling a brand new spacious and comfortable patio, the additional outdoor capacity of 126 more than doubled the interior capacity. The Dandy Crown staff has been taking all the proper safety measures, and has appropriately spaced seating to ensure social distance for both patrons and staff.
A custom-painted fence surrounds the new outdoor space. Chicago muralist Cyd Smillie was the commissioned artist along with an assist from Jeff Kierna. The fence, topped with flowing flower boxes, features bold, colorful images and quotes, which were both socially conscious, and musical tributes to Angela Davis, John Lewis, Basquiat, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Bowie, and even The Supremes.
There’s another sizeable floral mural, also painted by Cyd Smillie, which was emblazened upon the side of the building facing the patio. The patio ground (perfect for social distancing) featured new brick pavers, and there were a variety of seating options that included intimate two-tops, loungy four-tops, and umbrellaed six-tops to accommodate parties of all sizes.
The Dandy Crown is a very special cocktail bar and lounge. Each drink on the seasonal menu is creative and beautiful. When my guest and I visited this summer, we were intrigued. The bar took their drinks very seriously and strived for a unique experience for its patrons. Inside at the bar are various garnishes made in-house for the drinks such as dehydrated citrus and savory herbs like sage and basil.
The outdoor patio itself is a lovely, star-lit spot to kick back as night descends and sip a delicious cocktail. The coral murals on the walls boast brightly colored flowers which adds to the decor.
Though the Dandy Crown does not have a food menu out just yet, the patio is dog friendly and BYOF (bring your own food), which are added bonuses. What better way to enjoy the drinks, than by having your furry best friend by your side at the table?
The current summer menu features ten different cocktails put into two categories: old friends and new friends. Of course, everything on the menu looked delicious, but my guest and I were drawn to certain cocktail concoctions such as the citrusy and smooth Nice and Easy (sherry blend, passion fruit, Alpine Amaro) and the smooth tasting 99% Yes (bourbon, amaro, black currant, elderflower). The passion fruit in the Nice and Easy was the shining star of the tart yet fruity concoction. This particular cocktail was light, crisp and refreshing, while packing a punch with the wonderful dark fruit notes from the floral black currant, which balanced the sweet bourbon and bitter elderflower out nicely. The drink was garnished with savory sage which added a lovely smokiness.
Other notable drinks included a sweet twist on the traditional House Old Fashioned (bourbon, Pedro Ximenrz, Angostura), a pleasant sipper for any bourbon lover, and the Champs Elysees (American brandy, yellow chartreuse, lemon), where sweet vermouth balanced out the herbal notes of the chartreuse.
The grand finale drink before we left for the event was a pleasant sipper cleverly entitled One for the Road (ages rum, scotch, raspberry, Amaro), which was nice and rich with smoky scotch and left a pleasant sharp, spicy kick to the palate. This drink was a perfect end to our wonderful evening.
I highly recommend the Dandy Crown if you’re looking for a pleasant evening outdoors while sipping inventive cocktails. There is no better way to enjoy a lovely summer experience in Chicago.
Photos: Jennifer Lunz unless otherwise noted.
About The Dandy Crown:
The Dandy Crown is a River West neighborhood cocktail tavern located at 694 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60642.
Open seven days a week: Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday from noon to midnight, with last-call being 11:00 p.m. all days of the week.
For more information, please visit the website or call 312-846-6420.