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Katie Schroeder | Photo: Axel Dupeux | May 28, 2013
Go back to the future at edgy, fun Jimmy—if you can find it.
Time keeps on tickin’, tickin’, tickin’… while it seems like just yesterday that The James Chicago’s swanky JBar opened for biz, it was actually seven years ago. And, like so many white-hot spots, in the blink of an eye, it’s over—the JBar has closed its doors.
Guests at The James Chicago, Gold Coasters looking for a trendy night out or diners in search of a few pre- or post-David Burke’s Primehouse cocktails, however, can rest easy. A trio of New York City nightlife gurus have teamed up to reinvent the space with a decidedly cool concept, Jimmy at The James Chicago, slated to open midsummer.
We like this idea: Imagine a quasi-hidden ’70s-themed artisanal cocktail lounge with seating for about 40, which patrons will have to enter through a new upscale sandwich shop, Burke’s Bacon Bar. Edgy? Yes. Risky? Probably not. In fact, the first Jimmy has gone over like one of partner Johnny Swet’s signature cocktails at The James New York in Manhattan.
“It will be an upscale, grown-up experience focusing on the art of cocktail culture, but without taking itself too seriously,” says David Rabin, a partner with Swet and Larry Poston in the venture. “We think it will be an ideal location for a post-work or predinner drink, or for that perfect nightcap after a great meal.”
So, how about that ’70s theme? “The ’70s were one of the most progressive periods in American culture, as the country embraced more liberal attitudes and edgy ideals,” says Rabin. “We want our space to encompass that spirit.”
While we don’t know if Jimmy will include a disco ball or a Gloria Gaynor-heavy soundtrack, rest assured it will be a modern take on the era: designer Thomas Schlesser, who dreamed up the aesthetics of the Violet Hour, the Publican and Avec, among other high-profile spots, is outfitting the space in earth tones, upholstered furniture, walnut paneling, bronze and chrome. “We’re also partnering with prominent Chicago photographers and designers, including Maria Pinto, to help us perfect the style,” says Poston.
It will be a cool environment to enjoy Swet’s creations. “The cocktail menu is heavily influenced by iconic cinema, which presented cocktail culture in a sleek, unpretentious manner,” he says. “We’ll feature classic drinks infused with seasonal, unexpected ingredients. We’re looking forward to bringing in a list of small batch and artisanal cocktails... crisp and clean with a hint of tongue-in-cheek humor.”
Hidden entrance aside, it’s safe to say that now, the secret about Jimmy is out.