Drink of the week:
A peach Grey Goose champagne cocktail at Krem, 1750 N. Clark St., on a Saturday night.
The damage: $12, though the drink isn't officially on the menu yet, so price is subject to change. All of Krem's cocktails range from $10-$15.
Thousands of bars in Chicago, why this one? When I first moved to Chicago, I sought out new, trendy bars as if they held the answers to a happy urban existence. Now I avoid these places for the same reason I steer clear of the DMV—I can't bear standing in line for something I could pick up on nearly any city corner. Whether it's a drink or a city sticker I require, with every block home to a pub and a Currency Exchange, why wait?
That's why last Saturday I was surprised to find myself at Krem, a stylish lounge in the former Sauce space. The name alone, which from what I can tell is taken from the phonetic spelling of creme, screams hip. So I was even more shocked to find myself nodding along to every techno-filled song while I sipped my pricey cocktail without guilt.
How it went down: Always fond of the bubbly, I bypassed Krem's main bar where they mix martinis and met the champagne bar's bartender, Renee, who enthusiastically showed me her talents with Grey Goose. She poured a shot of the newly released peach-flavored Goose into a shaker with fresh peach and pear purees. After a splash of pineapple juice, she transferred the mix into a stem-less glass and topped it off with Moet Champagne.
Even though you won't find this drink on Krem's menu yet, you're welcome to request it—and should. The thick fruit purees taste real, unlike fruit-flavored syrups you find in most bars' concoctions. After one fruity cocktail, I'm usually ready to reach for a beer, but not at Krem. Adding the effervescent champagne diluted the drink enough to tame its sweetness and made a Bud Light seem boring.
Would I want to become a regular? Only someone with a fat wallet, a penchant for pickup lines or a college student's tolerance could go to Krem every weekend. That being said, I'd like to go back. As far as trendy lounges go, Krem ranks low on the pretension scale despite its ultra-mod interior—white-washed walls accented by bright blue lights. A room resembling a sterile laboratory harbors half-drunk bottles of vodka waiting for their bottle-service owners to return. The energetic, female-heavy crowd dances around bed-like lounges to Fleetwood Mac turned techno.
On the night I was there, one patron was so drunk she actually stole my friend's drink and then fell down. Ah, to be enlightened again.
Dana Kavan scours the city for drink deals so good you'll offer to buy a round and creative libations that outshine your average on-the-rocks concoctions. Want to give Dana tips on where to rack up a bar tab? Share your finds before her next night out.