Sable Kitchen & Bar was recently named one of the best new bars in the US.
Bar DeVille: Brad Bolt Why he’s hot: Bar DeVille felt like just another Violet Hour wannabe until Bolt emerged, whipping up buzz-worthy cocktails.
Accolades: St. Germain Can-Can Classic National Finalist (2009), Bacardi Legacy Competition Chicago Winner (2010), Bombay Sapphire Most Inspired Bartender Chicago Winner (2010). 701 N. Damen Ave., 312-929-2349
Blackbird: Lynn House Why she’s hot: House is known for using ingredients that come straight from her backyard garden.
Accolades: 42Below Cocktail World Cup National Finalist (2010), Shake It Up National Finalist (2010), Absolut Rebel Grand Prize Winner (2010), Bacardi Legacy National Finalist (2011), Don Q Top Bartender National Finalist (2011). 619 W. Randolph St., 312-715-0708
Boka: Benjamin Schiller Why he’s hot: He oversees the cocktail program for restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm, at Boka, GT Fish & Oyster, and Girl & the Goat.
Accolades: Won several United States Bartenders’ Guild contests and a Chicago Gourmet-sponsored competition (2010). 1729 N. Halsted St., 312-337-6070
The Bristol: Debbi Peek Why she’s hot: She brings imaginative cocktails to top-tier eateries such as The Bristol and Balena.
Accolades: President of the United States Bartenders Guild Chicago Chapter, James Beard Foundation (Top Female Mixologists, 2008), three-time National Champion in the I.B.A. World Cocktail Challenge (2007, ’10-’11), US Mixing Star & Chicago Mixing Star: DiSaronno (2011). 2152 N. Damen Ave., 773-862-5555
The Drawing Room: Charles Joly Why he’s hot: Arguably Chicago’s first internationally known star mixologist, Joly draws throngs to the Drawing Room bar when he is at the helm.
Accolades: James Beard Nominee, Wine & Spirits Professional (2011), Auchentoshan Switch National Finals Winner (2011), International Margarita Competition Winner (2011), NBC-TV’s “On The Rocks” Winner (2010), Del Maguey Mezcal Competition Winner (2010). 937 N. Rush St., 312-266-2694
The interest in craft cocktails has exploded in the last few years.
Melman project: Paul McGee Why he’s hot: Credited with bringing the cocktail scene to Logan Square via The Whistler, McGee is heading the beverage program for Jerrod and R.J. Melman’s upcoming River North project, a rumored country-western bar.
Accolades: StarChefs “Rising Star Mixologist (Chicago)” (2011). 435 N. Clark St., no phone or web at press time
Sable Kitchen & Bar: Mike Ryan Why he’s hot: The former Violet Hour chef and bartender successfully transitioned to his new post, yet he continues to approach cocktails from a culinary standpoint.
Accolades: Food & Wine 50 Best Bars in the USA (2011), Food & Wine Best New Bars (2011). 505 N. State St., 312-755-9704
Sepia: Josh Pearson Why he’s hot: The Australia native wins over customers with his charming accent and cocktails that perfectly match Sepia’s upscale cuisine.
Accolades: Experience Cognac Chicago Finalist (2011), Don Q Mix Off Chicago Winner (2011), T & T With a Twist Winner (2010), Barenjager Cocktail Contest Winner (2010). 123 N. Jefferson St., 312-441-1920