Tag Archives: Bloody mary bar

Bloody Mary Bar, Bub City

We’d heard about Bub City’s brunch from several food lovers. And after sampling Bub’s bloody at the Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition, we had no choice by to give it a try.

To be honest, we expected that walking into Bub City would be like walking onto the set of Coyote Ugly (or the cheesy bar that used to be in River North. Anyone?). Sure it is a Nashville-themed country bar, but the kitsch was kept to a tasteful level.


Bub City does a mean bloody mary bar. And while bloody mary bars can be crazy overwhelming, Bub City keeps it simple, even giving you directions along the way.

First, start with the rim and the booze. With three rimmers to pick from, we decided the Bub Rim made the most sense. It’s BBQ place, so the rubs must be good, right? You can choose from vodka, tequila, rye or bourbon, so one of us picked rye while the other went with tequila.


With your booze chosen, next you do as the sign says, “Fill ‘er up.” There are a few mixes from which to choose, but we opted for Bub’s house mix. When in Bub.


Finally, it’s time to dress up your bloody mary. There’s a plethora of spices and sauces you can add, and the garnishes are incredible. We love the roasted peppers, shrimp, pimento cheese-stuffed olives and mini grilled cheeses. Pro tip: be sure to grab a saltine with pimento cheese and sausage at the end of the bar.


Finally, grab a pony or two of High Life and enjoy. We really like this one, you guys. Smoky, flavorful and all around solid. We believe the word that came up was “legit.” What makes this one stand out are the smokiness of the house mix (which comes in part from the BBQ rub spices) and the taste of cumin.


We loved the food, too. Particularly the Green Chili Scrambler, which is kind of like a stew meets chilaquiles. In a really good way. It’s flavorful thanks to the green chili, cilantro and savory pork carnitas and lacks the sogginess factor of chilaquiles. Also, the Fried Chicken and Waffle. As Elaine says, “Wut.” Both perfectly crispy, which can be changed with the bacon-jalapeno honey or country-style gravy. We can’t wait to go back for the BBQ.



We normally don’t review bloody mary bars since it’s usually your concoction versus the bartender’s. However, this one was so legit, we’re rating this on the assumption that you go with the standard Bub City flavors and don’t stray too much. Because you don’t need to 🙂

Bloody Mary Bar, Bub City: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4

Spicy: 4

Treats: 4.5

Creativity: 4.5

Overall: 4.25


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Bloody Mary Bar, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba

Getting older hurts a lot less if you’re drinking a bloody mary.

At least that’s our theory. And we tested out said theory a few weeks ago at Cafe Ba-ba-reeba when one half of this duo turned another year older.


We’d heard tons about the famed bloody mary bar at Ba-ba-reeba. And tapas here are pretty much standard with out-of-town visitors. Birthday brunch no-brainer.


As far as bloody mary bars go, this is a pretty great one. It starts off like most others. You get a glass of ice and vodka. And here, you actually get to pick your generous pour. We both went with Absolut Peppar. Because delicious. Next, you pick a mix. Options include organic tomato juice, gazpacho and Uncle Dougie’s Torpedo Juice. Then you customize with fixings, hot sauce and garnishes. Speaking of fixings, just the right amount. Not too overwhelming. Lemon juice, lime juice, Worcestershire, beef broth, Revolution beer, to name a few.  And if you lose your way while dressing up your bloody mary, recipe recommendations are readily available.

For your mix, we’d recommend going with Uncle Dougie’s Torpedo Juice or the organic tomato juice. Or a mixture of both. Yum. The gazpacho was a bit on the watery side.


Here’s where we’d rate the bloody with our scale, but that would be just vain since we made these ourselves. Maybe create a whole new scale for bloody mary bars? What should the criteria be? Holler at your girls.

Cafe Ba-ba-reeba is located at 2024 N. Halsted. 

Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Lincoln Park
* Street Address
2024 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60614
* Phone
(773) 935-5000
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Gourmet Bloody Mary Bar, Rockit Bar & Grill

Herein lies the age old question: Where does one go for a bloody mary before a Cubs day game?

One of us coming from Wicker Park, the other from South Loop, we split the difference at Rockit Bar & Grill.

“You know there’s a Rockit in Wrigleyville?” you say.

Well, yes. Experience has taught us that any bar near the stadium would be a shit show for a weekend game. Plus, we took it as an excuse to give the Gourmet Bloody Mary Bar a shot.

For $5, this bloody mary has to be the best value in the city.


First off, you get a mug of housemade bloody mix and Absolut Peppar, not some crappy, insta-hangover, well vodka.

Where you take it from there is up to you. The menu claims at least 18 garnishes and ingredients. However, the chart at the bar (plus the hot sauces on the periphery) added up to at least 30.


You could make a meal out of the garnishes. Quality shit, too. Shrimp! Ham-wrapped cheese! Goat cheese-stuffed olives!


We were all like:


While this wasn’t our first rodeo with a bloody mary bar, we were quite impressed. It’s hard to compare it to Green Door because this one is less build-from-scratch and more dress-it-up yourself.

One thing is certain, you get a lot of bang, spice, zing for your buck. Like Arnold, we’ll be back.

Gourmet Bloody Mary Bar: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3

Spicy: 3

Treats: 4.5

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.5

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Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary, Green Door Tavern

We’ve lost track of how many people have commented, emailed, tweeted and told us in person to try the build-your-own bloody mary bar at Green Door Tavern.

So, alas, we did.

It certainly wasn’t our first rodeo at Green Door. Both of the ladies behind this blog used to work close to this fine drinking establishment and our good friends living in close proximity give us excuses to go back. Green Door is supposedly Chicago’s oldest running tavern, dating back to 1921. We’ve always liked Green Door for its chill vibe and no-nonsense clientele. It’s certainly a hidden (and non-fussy) gem in River North.

This was our first brunch here. Apparently there was a dress code that particular morning because all of our man friends randomly wore blazers.

Ladies and gents, the Blazer Brothers.


Now that we’ve distracted you with all of these good looking men, let’s chat about the bloody mary bar. The bar itself was impressive with its an endless feast of mixes, spices, hot sauces, juices and garnishes. Basically, you get a pint glass with ice and vodka and the rest is up to you. For starters, there were 4 mixes: Housemade bloody mix, Clamato, V8 and tomatillo. Plus, at least 30 hot sauces.


It’s hard (and maybe conceited) of us to review a bloody we made ourselves. So, we’ve decided to offer a few helpful hints instead.

Pro Tips for Bloody Mary Bars

  1. Make a game plan: Yeah, there are a lot of options. It’s best to do a quick scan of the ingredients and choose a few to start out.
  2. Hold your horses: So many options at your fingertips can be overwhelming. And it’s tempting to throw in everything you like at once. Don’t go crazy.
  3. Express yourself: Ok, go crazy. Now’s the time to get creative. Never tried celery bitters? Throw a few splashes in. Wonder how mustard tastes in a bloody? Go for it.
  4. Taste as you go: You’ve thrown in stuff left and right. Now, pause to sip in the fruits of your labor. Your bloody could probably use a little extra seasoning or spice.

Voila! Behold our creations. Pretty damn good, if we say so ourselves. Oh wait, we did.

So, next week, get thee to Green Door Tavern and get creative with your bloody brunch. Ok?



Restaurant Information

* Restaurant Name
Green Door Tavern
* Overall
* Neighborhood / Cuisine
Near North Side / American New
* Street Address
678 N. Orleans St. (W. Huron St.), Chicago, IL 60654
* Phone
(312) 664-5496
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Garnish-Your-Own Bloody Mary, Chief O’Neill’s

“The patio is amazing.”

“Build-your-own bloody mary bar!”

“Huge buffet!”

All things we had all heard about Chief O’Neill’s prior to enjoying brunch there.

Of course, the day we went, it was raining. So, the patio was a no-go.

We were seated in “the attic,” the dark, slightly moody upstairs dining room. In retrospect, the attic is the ideal setting for shamefully gorging yourself on a brunch buffet. Easier to hide awkward food pairings or just how much you ate.

It’s still hard to wrap our heads around the smorgasbord of food options. Most of which were not native to brunch. The best part of the brunch experience? You’re encouraged to eat all of your favorite foods. Together.

Love waffles with a side of sushi? Done.

How about an extra bacon omelette paired with calamari with mac and cheese? You got it.

Yeah, this happened. All of it.

“It’s like the Disneyland of food,” was the most apt observation of the morning.

Not pictured in the spread: Ham carving station, Guinness and cheese soup, fish and chips, pasta salad, tacos. The list continues.

But it gets even more amazing. There’s a dessert bar with all of this.

There are not one, but two chocolate fondue fountains with sweets for dipping. Plus, fruit, mini creme brulee (personal fave), brownies, cookies, tarts, cake pops, cupcakes, cream puffs, pastries. All freshly made in house.

Oh yeah, they serve bloody marys, too.

Chief serves a solid bloody. We were told it was a build-your-own bar, but in actuality, it’s more of a garnish-your-own bar. They bring the bloody to your table, complete with a housemade mix and vodka. The mix itself is nicely spiced with notable horseradish, parmesan cheese and pepper flavors. It’s up to you how you want to top it off. And there’s yet another bar with garnishes including cheeses, olives, celery, shrimp, hot sauce and worcestshire sauce.

But let’s be honest, Chief O’Neill’s has a full cast of characters. And the bloody mary simply plays a supporting role.

Garnish-Your-Own Bloody Mary: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:         3.5

Spicy:          3

Treats:        3.5

Creativity: 4 

Overall:      3.5

By all means, get thee to Chief O’Neill’s for the brunch buffet and a bloody. Sit on the patio we didn’t get to enjoy.

But prepare yourself for this when you leave:

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