Tag Archives: Bar Sotano

“Barra del Gusto” is Bar Sótano’s Chef’s Counter Experience

Our newest jewel, Bar Sótano—our smallest venue—has premiered an even smaller, more special experience for six guests.

At the Barra Del Gusto—the chefs’ tasting counter—guests will enjoy five tasting courses prepared just for that evening by Chef Rishi Manoj Kumar and his team. Think: modern Mexican expression of Japan’s omakase tradition.

Each course will be carefully paired with a cocktail tasting from the acclaimed mixology team of Lanie Bayless and Roger Landes.

The Barra del Gusto experience will be only available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Bar Sótano & Galit: It’s a Mexican-Mediterranean Mashup!

For one night only, Chef Zach Engel and the Galit crew bring the bold flavors of their Middle Eastern kitchen to Bar Sótano for a collaboration menu like no other.

The dinner takes place July 17. Reservations are available at Resy.com and we strongly suggest you don’t hesitate on making them. Like right now.

The special menu for the evening includes food and drink favorites from each restaurant, plus two collaboration cocktails from Lanie Bayless (Bar Sótano) and Olivia Duncan (Galit) and three wildly delicious mashup dishes from Chefs Rishi Manoj Kumar and Zach Engel. 



Restaurant Week at Frontera!

Braised Short Rib, Oaxacan Pasilla Salsa at Leña Brava

Chicago Restaurant Week is one of our favorite times of the year. Why? We get another chance to show off what we do best, while you get a great bargain. Here’s the rundown of what our restaurants are offering Jan. 24-Feb. 9 2020. Pro tip: Make those reservations now – we always fill up quick!

Bar Sótano
$36 three-course dinner MENU

Frontera Grill
$24 three-course lunch MENU
$36 three-course dinner MENU

$24 three-course lunch MENU

Leña Brava
$24 three-course brunch MENU
$48 four-course dinner MENU

Cruz Blanca
$24 three-course lunch MENU
$36 three-course dinner MENU

Riff Tracks: Bar Sótano’s Cocktail Competition

Riff Tracks is a night of cover songs and cover cocktails at Bar Sótano.

The theme for our inaugural cocktail competition is agave “riffs” on classic cocktails (think tequila Mai Tais and mezcal Martinis) coupled with the most bangin’ playlist of cover songs ever assembled.

Competing in this one-of-a-kind clash are bartenders from some of our city’s finest drinking establishments, including Lazy BirdAda StreetThe Loyalist, Dusek’s, La Josie and Tzuco.

The top three contestants will be decided in a popular vote — by you — and the finalists will face the judge’s gauntlet of Chicago Magazine dining editor Amy Cavanaugh, Imbibe editor Emma Janzen and our very own Lanie Bayless.

The winner gets a spot in Banhez Mezcal’s December 2020 trip to Oaxaca, an amazing opportunity to see first hand exactly how a community-driven mezcal is made.

Your $28 ticket offers cocktail tastes from all participating bars. We’ll also have a limited menu of Bar Sótano cocktails and Chef Rishi’s modern Mexican street food available for purchase.

Say Hola to Bar Sótano

We’ve got some news.

Rick & Deann Bayless, along with the Frontera Group’s beverage director (and their daughter) Lanie Bayless, will soon open an agave-focused, late night cocktail bar in the basement—in the sótano—of Frontera Grill.

Technically located at 443 N. Clark St., Bar Sótano will be accessible by a century-old freight elevator located in the alley behind Frontera Grill. It is slated to open November 15.

The cocktail menu—inspired by the unparalleled bounty of Mexico’s markets—is punctuated by uniquely crafted mezcal and tequila drinks, all developed by Frontera spirits director Lanie Bayless and bar manager Roger Landes. Health-promoting herbs marry in a homemade vermouth. Sugar cane is squeezed fresh for a touch of sweetness.  Chiles and fruits play off each other. The flavors of aromatic tacos al pastor even make an appearance in libation form. 

The Sótano team travelled to Ejutla, Oaxaca, to blend a one-of-a-kind mezcal from barril and espadin agaves to take these cocktails to a new level. Like your mezcal neat? You can bet there will be one of the largest selections in the country. Not into mezcal? There will be a selection of Mexican wines by the glass and Mexican craft beer. 

Chef Rishi Manoj Kumar, a veteran of Topolobampo, developed a menu of modern Mexican bar food that includes charcutería and snacks (homemade suckling pig ham and panela cheese, pickled pigs feet spread, tlayudas, Oaxacan roasted peanuts), sweet-and-spicy Yucatán fried chicken, Ensenada mussels cooked with garlic and Baja wine, fresh and broiled oysters and a cooked-to-order arroz (think: paella with the flavors of Mexican chorizo and Gulf shrimp.)

Bar Sótano’s lifeline is the vibrant markets of Mexico, where fruit stalls, healthy herb stands and chile vendors swirl in a symphony for the senses. The craftsmanship of those who keep these Mexican flavors alive — including those who craft dozens of agave varieties into distillates — is unlike any in the world. Bar Sótano will reflect this side of Mexico’s exhilarating culture,” Rick Bayless said.

When you visit the intimate, 50-seat bar, you know right away that you’re in a classic late-1800’s downtown Chicago basement, rock walls and all. Muralist Juan de la Mora, from the Jeanne Gang studio, has created a floor-to-ceiling piece for the space.  This is will be Bayless’ sixth Chicago outpost and the latest addition to River North’s bustling nightlife scene. A limited amount of reservations will soon be made available on the Reserve app and by phone.

Website: barsotano.com
Phone:  312-391-5857
Hours: 4pm-12am, Tuesday-Thursday; 4pm-2am, Friday & Saturday; Closed Sunday & Monday

The Proxi-Bar Sótano Mashup is Here!

Our latest mashup brings the global street food flavors of Proxi to Bar Sótano’s Mexican market-inspired basement bar.

For one night only on March 4, we’re offering a special menu featuring our favorite dishes from the Proxi and Sótano kitchens, plus a few never-before-seen collaborative dishes from chefs Andrew Zimmerman and Sótano’s Rishi Manoj Kumar. 

Behind the bar, Proxi’s Jess Sandberg and Sótano’s Lanie Bayless will weave the flavors of their world travels into unique cocktails, spotlighting drinks from their renowned bars and collaborating on a few brand new ones, too. 

We just can’t wait.