Stage 773 recently opened a one-of-a-kind immersive cocktail experience, WHIM.
Unlike any other bar that’s opened its doors in Chicago, Whim is an immersive cocktail experience, located at 1225 W Belmont Ave. Presented by Stage 773, the reimagined venue combines paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance along with fun and fanciful drinks.
As you enter Whim, the Lobby of Second Chances catches your eye. Featuring creations fashioned out of found objects – giving them a second chance as a one-of-a-kind piece of art. Unique furniture, toys, paper planes, bikes, anywhere you turned offered a distinct visual.
Making your way to the Second Shots Bar, a variety of cocktails are available. Ranging from the traditional to intricate, you will meet options such as the Chain Smoker, with tequila reposado, mezcal, bitters, agave syrup, smoked with cherry wood chips and spritzed with orange zest; Fluffy Punch, made with white rum, pineapple juice, house made raspberry syrup, topped with lemon lime soda and cotton candy; and Yummy Tummy, featuring gin, blood orange juice, mint, rosemary, ginger, and turmeric; topped with lemon lime soda. My guest tried the Chain Smoker and thought it was tasty with a lingering smoke trail upon the serving that also amplified the flavor of the cocktail. I tried the Yummy Tummy as a mocktail and it was fruity and refreshing and enjoyed the fizziness the soda added.
Once you have your cocktail, you can make your way over to the Enchanted Forest which features a stage for live performances, and a giant enchanted tree towering over it all. On this particular night, a lively drag show took place. While the performances were great, a downside to the enchanted forest is that it is a smaller space with limited sitting, make sure your get there early for a spot or wear comfy shoes if you do stand.
“There have been many changes in the entertainment and hospitality industries over the past years, and as we enter into a new era, WHIM’s mission is to put artists back to work and audiences back to play,” said Jill Valentine, Executive Director, and one of the creative forces behind WHIM. “We aim to offer Chicagoans and visitors more than a destination, WHIM is an exploration of creativity and inspiration where the line between artist, performer, and audience is blurred. The inner workings of the creative brain are explored and translated into reality for guests’ to play and enjoy. We’re thrilled to open Phase One to introduce the WHIM concept and expand upon the environment later this year.”
A fun spot for friends, dates, or hanging out, check out Whim. With a variety of fanciful cocktails, a creative space with plenty of photo opps, and entertainment, you cannot go wrong.
The team behind Phase One of WHIM includes Jill Valentine & Brian Posen, Creative Concept; Brad Younts, Producer; Alex Morales, Owner SmartMouth Designs, Scenic Design and Fabrication; Michelle Lilly, Scenic Design; Christopher Rhoton, Scenic Design; Liz McArthur, Props; Chis Binder, Lighting Design; L.J. Luthring, Sound Design; Anna Glowacki, Costume Design; Candice Johnson, Artist; Koda Witsken, Exterior Muralist; and Rose Johnson, Scenic Painter. Phase One is an introduction into WHIM, which will reveal a larger experience in the coming months. When the full experience is revealed, attendees will step inside a world, created by hundreds of Chicago artists, where all art forms come together to propel guests through a fresh, interactive playground. Complied of 30 distinct spaces fashioned to awaken visitors’ imaginations, WHIM will feature live performances from musicians, actors, dancers, and more.
WHIM is open from 6 p.m. – 12 a.m. Wednesday & Thursday, and 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday & Saturday. For more information, visit whimchicago.com.
About Stage 773
Stage 773 is a vibrant anchor of the Belmont Theatre District and home to Chicago’s finest off-Loop talent. We are a not-for-profit, connecting and catalyzing the arts community, while showcasing established artists and incubating up-and-coming talent. For more information, please visit www.stage773.com.
Photos courtesy Heron Agency