Style is an ever changing thing. It's always mutating and evolving, using us as its vessel of expression. No one can quite pin point when it happens, but it seems every few years people just look, act, and dress completely differently. That change is inevitable, but there is a type of elegance that never changes, and has never gone out of style. It seems to have been perfected sometime during the 20th century, and no one since has seen any real need to change or improve upon it.
The Violet Hour is a beacon of classical elegance, a sort of island sitting in the heart of the dive bars and cafés that make up the Wicker Park facade. The Violet Hour has a certain intrigue about it, and one look at the website arouses a certain fascination. Especially the house rules which forbid the use of cellphones in the lounge, demand proper attire, and advise you not to bring anyone in the lounge you wouldn’t bring to a Sunday dinner with your mother. The menu points out there is no Budweiser, and absolutely no bombs of any kind. This alone gives you a very good clue to the kind of atmosphere the good people at the Hour are trying to cultivate. It's almost like stepping back through time. The Violet Hour encourages, no demands, that we leave some of our less becoming modern habits outside, and immerse ourselves into a world that's long since disappeared.
Anyone that steps inside will feel like Cinderella arriving at the ball. Large blue velvet curtains open up revealing a chandelier lit coordior that leads into the lounge, long shadows are cast along the gold trimmed walls by the soft glow of dozens of burning candles, and a fire place at the end of the room serves to multiply the ambiance of elegance.
A row of large plush leather stools stand along the long ivory bar. It's the most vibrantly lit spot in the room. You almost expect to find yourself sitting next to a half drunken writer with arched eyebrows and a very pronounced widows peak, while being served by a man in a red jacket and a bow tie named Lloyd. The square white tables are as smooth as marble, and are surrounded by chairs that are like leather thrones, each is designed to be its own little microcosm, its own little world.
When you look at the menu, you will be glad you took the advice of bringing someone you wouldn't mind bringing to your mother's, because this place can burn through your wallet quickly, and to be honest, you might not be familiar with a lot of what's listed. Don't be afraid though! Just look for your liquor of choice, think carefully about what the ingredients are in the cocktail, and you'll be ok.
The food menu is more or less in-line with what you might find at a wine bar, and is very reflective of TheViolet Hour's style. There are cheese and meat plates served with items like figs, and prosciutto. There are a few oddball items that might tickle your fancy as well. For instance, there’s the “elegant hot dog,” or the grilled goat cheese.
The Violet Hour is proof this kind of elegance never goes out of style. It's really a once in a while kind of thing, but you should make the trip. It's a place that reminds you of the true benefits of alcohol it makes a quiet evening with a special someone that much better, and if that person is that special, it's well worth it. If you want a night that doesn’t involve Jager bombs, crying girls in tiaras, and a sea of backwards hats, then you'll want to check out The Violet Hour.
Take a look at some of the other cocktails below.