Charles Joly | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Mother's ruin

First, congratulations to Danny and his team on opening Scofflaw. The space was begging for something more than the dime a dozen predecessor that occupied it. The neighborhood is excited to have a new addition where we know we can get a great drink, a bite to eat or just enjoy a beer and conversation with friends.
Second, I'd like to respectfully disagree with the idea that we are "doomed". Chicago's bar scene has been steadily growing over the past five years and continues to do so. I'd much rather see thoughtful growth than a slew of kitschy bars pop up and dilute the scene. That being said, we certainly have more room to grow and welcome the addition of quality bars programs.
I find it of the utmost importance that we treat the growth of the cocktail culture with respect. Quality ingredients, balanced drinks and care taken with your drink that equals what our chefs are doing with your food should be the expectation, not the exception. My hats off to Chicago's hard working professional bartenders that do this everyday.
There are certainly programs here that are not "everything to everyone". Violet Hour, The Drawing Room, Aviary and many others unapologetically open their doors every day to offer what I humbly think is a special product.
Personally, I strive to give my guests whatever they're looking for. If a guest has a request and I have the means to meet it on hand, so be it. If I don't believe in a particular spirit, beer etc, it won't be in the bar in the first place- so it's not an issue. To me, that is hospitality. That is a lack of pretension that makes me love the Midwest.
Instead of mimicking what's happening on the coasts, Chicago has made a voice of its own. Some of our most talented bartenders work along side many of our most revered chefs. Our style is neither rigidly classic nor chasing the lastest buzzword. Although we may not have the quantity of venues the coasts offer, I will put the quality of the product we produce up against any market. Our style reflects diverse influences and is certainly not confined.
We have an exciting year ahead of us. The opening of Balena (a collaboration between Bristol and the Boka group!), Ada St. (great work Tim), Paul McGee's projects and others all promise to enrich the scene.
I'm couldn't be more proud to be part of the food and beverage industry in this city. I wouldn't have it any other way.
On a trip with a group of bartenders to visit some distilleries in Scotland, an onlooker jokingly said to us "Don't be Chicago" (I guess that meant to behave.)
I say, humbly and unapologetically, go on- Be Chicago.
Charles Joly

42 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Charles Joly on 03/22/2012 at 12:29 PM

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