Bubbles, Bubbles Will Relieve Your Troubles

(Photo Courtesy of Freddy Love)


Thankfully those days are behind us when we only sipped champagne on special occasions. With the influx of bubbly-focused bars around town, more folks are indulging without worrying about burning a hole in their wallets.

That’s in part due to venues like City Winery putting its own spin on France’s most famous sipper. The New York-based operation opened a second location in the West Loop over the summer, and part of its appeal will be the house wines and sparkling wines when that program gets underway later this fall.

In the meantime, they’ve curated an impressive sparkling wine selection by the glass that ranges $12-$20. From the classic brut of Henriot to the more robust rosé  of Lucien Albrecht, the list is ideal when everyone has different tastes. Alas, by-the-glass selections are decreased for those taking in live entertainment in City Winery’s concert hall. Nevertheless, guests do get to choose from an affordable selection by the bottle, which ranges $40-$100.

Say cheers to even more impressive sparkling wine spots:

Long before the sparkling wine trend was a trend, Pops For Champagne was the only place in town with more than 200 different selections and sexy live jazz to complement. They’ve ditched the live-music format and replaced it with champagne-friendly small plates (oysters, caviar, charcuterie) to make this spot a popular after-work watering hole. The menu is designed to highlight the many options of sparkling wine and champagne. Guests may order the more popular brands in the large-format category or opt for non-vintage selections, vintage, rosé, grower-producer champagnes or “sweeter” sparkling wines.

(Photo: RM Champagne Salon)

The West Loop’s no doubt on fire, and one of its new attractions is RM Champagne Salon, which is owned by the team behind Nellcote and Old Town Social. Stylish and vintage-inspired with a hearty nod to timeless fashionista Grace Kelly, RM Champagne Salon specializes in a large selection of estate-grown wines. You won’t find the more popular brands here; instead esteemed wine director Jason Wagner has carefully culled a menu you won’t find anywhere else. The choices are best enjoyed with selections from the cheese cart, which highlights some curious, yet esoteric choices.

River North hot spot Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar entices bubbly lovers every Tuesday with discounted bottles of sparkling sake every week. Selections such as Okunomatsu Junmai Daiginjo (with notes of melon, honey and cotton candy) and the Champagne-style Mizbasho Pure pair well with most maki rolls offered.

No doubt the sexiest section in the multi-faceted Untitled is the Champagne Lounge that’s tucked inside the main dining room. Here, guests may indulge in a raw bar that’s complemented by an impressive list of sparkling wines by the glass and bottle. You’ll even find a number of boutique wines prominently displayed next to the more famous brands.

If you’re unsure about where to start when it comes to learning about sparkling wine, Lincoln Park’s Webster Wine Bar serves as a great launching pad. With a quaint neighborhood atmosphere, the long-time lounge puts newcomers at ease with its knowledgeable and laid-back staff. Heighten the experience on Mondays when there’s live jazz.


For more about Steaks see: CHICAGO’S BEST STEAKS & STEAKHOUSES

Who are Chicago’s Best Restaurants?