Hotel bars tend to serve
a captive audience, never managing to become a destination for anyone farther away than Room 236. But when the Canterbury Hotel underwent its transformation last winter and became swanky Le Meridien, the overhauled first-floor bar seemed worth a visit. Well, prepare for an extended stay.
Bar manager Tyler Burns developed the excellent cocktail menu, and his goal was to start simple—barrel-aged liquors in classic concoctions. While the barrel-aged trend is starting to feel a little aged itself, serving the libations from an oak cask on your table updates things nicely. Among the premixed elixirs on tap, the Nutty Manhattan stands out—a boozy black-cherry nightcap on ice.
Natural light pouring in from Illinois Street shows off the whitewashed interior, which is full of surprises. A vault-like door leads down to an “apothecary lab,” where cocktail batches marinate in barrels. The room is open to Secret Society members, who can start a private barrel for a fee management will only divulge in person. If you’re looking for a hideaway, few places in the city say Do Not Disturb like this one. 123 S. Illinois St., 317-737-1616, spokeandsteele.com