On the brink of their 13th anniversary Logan Square, The Whistler has announced the reopening of their unmarked doors on Milwaukee Avenue (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.) on Wednesday, September 29th. After 18 months of serving to-go cocktails and advocating for the arts & independent music venues as co-founders of CIVL and founding members of NIVA, the bar is easing back into the scene with an all-star team, dozens of new rotating cocktails to look forward to, and a full calendar of live music, resident DJ nights, and community-focused programming.
To helm the craft cocktail program, Whistler Founders and Co-Owners Billy Helmkamp and Rob Brenner tapped three-times James Beard Award nominee Alex Barbatsis (Rivera L.A., Good Housekeeping L.A., Machine) to join the team as Head Bartender. Barbatsis, who moved to Chicago following more than a decade in Los Angeles, stepped into the role only a handful of days before the venue’s closing in 2020, and will debut an all-new lineup with seasonal drinks rotating on-and-off menu regularly in Whistler style. While working at the closed bar for over 18 months, Barbatsis saw an opportunity to focus on in-depth cocktail development, creating dozens of new drinks to showcase throughout the first months of reopening. “The Whistler was the first bar I visited when I moved to Chicago,” says Barbatsis. “When I saw how they approached craft cocktails, the dedication to the quality and inventiveness of each one, I knew I wanted to join the team. I can’t wait to have our neighbors back at the bar to show them the incredible lineup of drinks we’ve been working on.”
Founded on the mission of supporting Chicago’s independent music community, the live music venue and in-house record label is returning with programming, specifically designed to showcase local artists. While safely operating at a reduced capacity, The Whistler will stick to its musical roots and offer nightly performances including live “wild card” sets on Thursday, resident DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, and the resurgence of the beloved Relax Attack Jazz Series on Wednesdays, a staple of the cocktail haven since its inception 2008. A full list of updated programming can be found on their website.