After months of major renovations to bring a new concept to River North and a soft opening of the first floor in late October, Hubbard Inn’s (110 W. Hubbard St.) three floors are now officially open. While still incorporating elements from the original Hubbard Inn, guests will enjoy an evolving cocktail experience from Mixologist Consultant Meghan Konecny (Scofflaw, Sportsman’s Club, Best Intentions) along with artistic presentations of worldly-influenced American shared plates from Executive Chef Eric Babula (Punch Bowl, City Works) as they move throughout the establishment.
"Hubbard Street is an iconic street in River North, and the building at 110 W Hubbard has been a dynamic staple of hospitality, unique across the city as a three-floor concept. The renovations have been considerable as we aim to highlight Chicago's award-winning food scene complementary to an elevated cocktail program. While the spirit of Hubbard Inn remains in both name and texture, the reopening of Hubbard Inn presents a new and fresh direction in River North hospitality focusing on a worldly inspired menu presented in shareable fashion. We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to establish Hubbard Inn as a continued landmark in the neighborhood that’s always embraced us,” said Carmen Rossi, founder of 8 Hospitality.
The first floor is the most reminiscent of the original Hubbard Inn, though after a complete revamp, the versatile space is anchored by an art deco-inspired center island bar and surrounded by plush, relaxed booth seating. With elements of soft glamor, the warm, inviting setting is encased by brick walls that are original to the building, painted in a neutral cream tone. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday, the menu features shareable American fare with a worldly twist and a focus on classic and seasonal craft cocktails.
Executive Chef Babula’s menu approach is elegant in flavor and playful in presentation, “My inspiration for the menu is shareable, approachable American fare with a fun twist. Anything and everything that would be fun to eat with friends and family while staying seasonal, as local as possible and respecting both the ingredients and from where they come.” Featured menu items from Chef Babula include Lobster Claws stuffed with butter poached Maine lobster, wild roquette, Old Bay Aioli, charred lemon; Bison Meatball with American co-op bison, bone marrow, marinara, mozzarella and parmesan; Ravioli with semolina dough, braised short rib, house ricotta, poached egg yolk, beef jus, parmesan reggiano; and a shareable Duck entree with Maple Leaf Duck breast, butternut squash purée, frizzled Brussels sprouts and thyme jus.
Designed by Mixologist Consultant Meghan Konecny, the first floor cocktail menu is comprised of “inspired classics” featuring seasonal or modern updates to both familiar and slightly obscure classic cocktails. Cocktails are $14 each and highlights include Mum’s the Word featuring Roku Gin, Carpano Bianco Vermouth, chamomile, thyme, Benedictine and orange bitters, served in a gold rimmed coup, the Shot in the Dark with Old Forester Bourbon, Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao, chicory, Blackstrap Bitters, toasted fenugreek and mint, and the Teacher’s Pet with cognac, Rhine Hall La Normande Pommeau, Pedro Ximenez sherry, baked apple shrub, bitters.
Hubbard Inn also offers Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring $1 East and West coast oysters (minimum of 6) paired with an optional wine or sparkling bottle including Sauvion Vouvray Chenin Blanc ($30) and Avissi Prosecco ($25). Weekend brunch service will debut in December 2019.
“BLUE VIOLET AT HUBBARD INN”
As guests ascend the staircase to the second floor, they will walk through a whimsical entrance leading them to “Blue Violet at Hubbard Inn”, a mixology-driven lounge named after the Illinois state flower. Bringing nature to the heart of Chicago, “Blue Violet at Hubbard Inn” is a lush and bright secret oasis complete with a wishing well, and an Instagram-worthy space with a luxurious, private club feel for groups or a romantic date night. Surrounded by flowers, foliage and dramatic lighting, patrons will relax in velvet swing chairs by windows overlooking Hubbard Street, or mingle among a mix of lounge seating and high-top tables.
Blue Violet’s cocktail menu is inspired by the garden setting of the space, and thoughtful use of flowers, fruit, vegetables, and other botanicals drive the flavor profiles of the cocktails. Highlights from mixologist Konecny’s menu include $14 cocktails like The Duchess with The Botanist Gin, ruby port, rhubarb, lavender, and earl grey served in a gold-rimmed coupe, Snake Venom with Scofflaw Old Tom gin, apple brandy, cynar, Amontillado sherry and cucumber served in a glass cobra, the Yearling with Legent Bourbon, pear cider reduction, ginger and black walnut, and the Kalpa Vriksha with Grey Goose, Chareau, honeydew, cucumber, coconut and lime.
Coming soon, guests will be able to pair their cocktails with desserts from Chef Babula with items like a Chocolate Porter Brownie (Valrhona chocolate, vanilla porter reduction, condensed caramel, grown up hot chocolate pour over) or a Rose Panna Cotta (Sparkling gelee, raspberry syrup, vanilla bean custard, rose macaron).
The third floor at Hubbard Inn is home to a new event space, dubbed “MASQ”, with an artistically driven, theatre-inspired throwback feel. Decorated in black and white with dramatic, rich velvet curtains, the space feels both mysterious and captivating. For any event, over a dozen private and semi-private event spaces will be available throughout Hubbard Inn. The venue offers three floors of event space for casual receptions to formal dining for 10 to 600 guests. Customizable event packages include cocktail receptions, dinner stations, seated dinners, valet parking, beverage packages, and bottle service.