MONEYGUN Pulled a Beyoncé

Looks like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar aren’t the only ones dropping surprise projects these days. 16” On Center, the esteemed company behind such hospitality hits as The Promontory and Dusek’s Board and Beer, just abruptly opened a new bar called MONEYGUN in the West Loop. The big difference with this spot, aside from its refreshing departure from a hyper-theme focus, is the fact that is premiered with zero pre-opening buzz. Considering the heavy-hitting caliber of talent behind it, that’s quite the accomplishment. 


MONEYGUN Pulled a Beyoncé
MONEYGUN Pulled a Beyoncé

MONEYGUN hails from Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden, a couple of gents with well-established credibility in terms of entertaining Chicagoans and getting them drunk. For their latest trick, they’re pared things down while ratcheting up their talent team. Combining the joint skills of business partners William Duncan, Dustin Drankiewicz and Justin Anderson, MONEYGUN reads like a veritable A-Team of bar savvy. Altogether, their resumes include Punch House, La Sirena Clandestina, Vanguard in Las Vegas, and Iron Horse in Milwaukee. Unlike all those other outlets, each boasting a specific and well-honed theme, MONEYBAR aims to fill that middle ground between neighborhood tavern and serious mixology haunt. The result is the rare humble bar that seeks to accomplish one thing: making customers feel good through a precise combination of classic drinks, welcoming vibe, friendly service and exceptional bar food. 

You see, the folks behind MONEYGUN don’t want to pigeonhole themselves into one category, or become a destination for one or two specific things, which is most definitely a direction Chicago cocktail bars have shifted towards in recent years. Rather, they’ve whittled down their drink list to feature a little bit of something for every customer. The drink list contains beer in bottles and cans, a handful of wines and about two dozen classic cocktails. In fact, we’d venture to guess MONEYGUN has one of the most comprehensive list of classic cocktails in town, with seemingly every staple present and accounted for. There’s a Mojito, a Gin & Tonic, a Sazerac, a Cuba Libre, a Negroni, a Pink Squirrel, a Sidecar, a French 75, an Amaretto Sour, and even a Cosmopolitan. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 


Photo by Clayton Hauck

Food-wise, Jared Wentworth strikes again with a bar food menu like no other. There’s a soy pickled egg with togarashi and bonito flake, a smoked cheddar popover and oyster quail egg shooters as snacks, along with burlier plates like Kentucky fried quail, Moroccan spiced tofu, a shaved prime rib sandwich and something called the “foie gras grand slam,” a riff on that Denny’s gut-buster made with pancakes, candied bacon powder, maple-braised apples and whipped eggs.

- Matt Kirouac