What To Eat And Drink At Tippling Hall In Downtown | Tasting Table CHI

There's something for everyone at Tippling Hall

As the latest restaurant from Mercadito Hospitality (Mercadito, Mercadito Counter, Municipal Bar), Tippling Hall may be part of a group. But it's already setting itself apart from other Downtown watering holes with a drink menu that's as cheeky as it is extensive, and a fun, unpretentious selection of comforting food.

On the drinks list, designed by the Tippling Bros. (Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay), you'll find a hodgepodge of draft and craft cocktails ($10 to $14), frozen "sloshees" ($12), spiked coffees ($6 to $7), Big Ass Marys ($11 to $14), beers galore, wine by the inch and more. While there's no denying its lack of continuity or brevity, there's something to be said for its pieced-together style.

A view of the bar

Between wittily named drinks and pop-culture references (such a the Derek Smalls, an on-tap concoction named for a character from the cult classic This Is Spinal Tap), we think the lengthy beverage list is as much about the cocktails as it is about the experience of reading it. Try not to smile as you flip through it, we dare you. But the drinks actually deliver, especially the Grumpy Cat ($10), a balanced, aromatic blend of amaro, strawberry, lemon and San Pellegrino sparkling grapefruit juice.

The food menu, focusing mostly on American classics with a twist, offers a similar sense of organized chaos, starting with bite-size morsels such as bacon-wrapped dates ($8.50) stuffed with smoked Manchego and drenched in mustard chile sauce and a lamb meatball dish ($12.50) reminiscent of a deconstructed gyro. There are also five different potato offerings and a colossal roasted beef short rib ($23.50) served on the bone. Our favorite? The just-like-Mom-made-it chicken potpie ($16.50) packed with juicy chicken and veggies encased in a butter-lacquered crust.

The only dessert offering is a chocolate chip cookie ($10). Sound lackluster? It's not: It's baked and served piping hot in a cast-iron skillet. The cookie is thick—almost cakelike—and arrives at the table topped with vanilla-rum ice cream and bacon brittle for a hit of savory crunch. The dish's balancing act of hot and cold, sweet and salty is exactly what all desserts should strive for.

Bottom line: Tippling Hall isn't struggling to find its identity. On the contrary, its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink selection is its defining factor.