Indigo, the bar at the newly renovated Hotel Orrington, has an modest, refined air while still providing a friendly lounge atmosphere. Lodgers will find Indigo a useful place to kick back with some gourmet appetizers, fine spirits and live piano. (The piano man takes requests as the night wears on.) Glancing at the drink menu, it is clear the mad martini scientists once set up shop here with beakers, Bunsen burners and bottles of booze to concoct unusual mixtures, all priced at $9. Try the eponymous Orrington Royale, with Tanqueray Ten gin, champagne and a lemon twist, or sweeten the deal with Bee's Knees, a saccharine combination of Bacardi, Cointreau, orange juice and honey, served with a honey rim. Wine, scotch and champagne are also available.
Food-wise, you can grab a quick bite of caviar, fried oysters or the shrimp margarita, a mix of scallions, jicama, cilantro, orange pieces and shrimp tossed in margarita froth. The appetizer-only menu runs in the neighborhood of $8-$12 per small plate. Black-tied servers keep you satisfied whether you're at the short, smooth bar or enjoying an oversized dining chair.
The room slightly resembles a banal banquet hall, but that's forgivable since it's not attempting to achieve any status as a thumping Evanston nightspot. It's the perfect pre-dinner spot or wind-down lounge for those staying at the Orrington; natives swinging through Evanston who feel like opening a bottle of something special will find Indigo worth a look.
Centerstage Reviewer: Jeremy Freeden