When Jerry Kleiner's Shelter closed its doors in the early '90s, a generation of club kids found themselves lost among the defunct warehouses of the then way-out-there Randolph Street. Fast forward to 2005: Shelter's clientele has traded in their Poison cassettes for more urbane vibes and the West Loop has exploded into a mecca of foie gras and sashimi. Kleiner saw the opportunity and opened Victor Hotel to celebrate the success of both the neighborhood and his earliest patrons.
Victor Hotel is situated a few blocks north of Randolph in a converted freezer building. Warehouse roots are apparent with its neon sign and the general run-down-mill feel of the exterior. Step inside and you'll feel like the Concorde landed in South Beach. Designed to resemble a European lobby, Victor Hotel would be where the A-list rests their heads if they really rented rooms. The entryway features black-and-white photography that straddles the NC-17 line. Velvet curtains are pulled back to allow entry and newcomers are drawn to the paintings by David Molinaro anchoring the establishment. A Kleiner signature: the painting's metal frame matches that of the barstools.
When not perched on the barstools, patrons can rest their pedicured toes on a mishmash of swivel chairs or lounge in a private room. Either way, anything that comes out of the martini shaker (all $11) is a can't-miss. Champagne makes a comeback at Victor Hotel and kisses the tops of the Bellinis and Pimosas. If there was ever a place for bottle service, Victor Hotel is it; offerings range abundantly from $36–$2000. Food-wise, upscale bar eats (think shrimp and artichoke quesadillas and beef satay) and elegant paninis are served.
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright