Expansions & Renovations

Menin Hotels to Open Drumbar Atop the Raffaello Hotel in Chicago

Rooftop Bars Are the Latest Trend

CHICAGO, IL – May 25, 2012 – Drumbar takes the speakeasy-style bar to the next level — 200 feet up to be exact. Perched atop the 18th floor of the Raffaello Hotel located at 201 E. Delaware Place, Drumbar is the latest addition to the city’s nightlife scene. Boasting an intimate lounge area, an outside rooftop terrace, and an ever-evolving cocktail menu, this vibrant new lounge from Menin Hotels offers guests a modern take on a classic cocktail experience.

“The drinking scene has matured in Chicago, and people are looking for something more elevated and grown-up than the ubiquitous contemporary sports bar or nightclub,” says Jared Galbut, Managing Partner of Menin Hotels, which manages the Raffello Hotel among many Miami-based properties. “We love the warmth of Chicago, which is the defining trait of Drumbar, but we’re also offering a place that is modern, sexy, and with the open-air environs reminiscent of South Beach.” Menin Hotels plans to open a second location above their newest South Beach hotel property Gale, both set to open in December.

At the helm of Drumbar is Benjamin Newby, one of Chicago’s most celebrated and recognizable operators and mixologists, who has been named Vice President of Nightlife for the hotel group, and will also open up Menin’s second location of Drumbar inside the Gale Hotel in South Beach. Newby joins Menin after a successful five years at one of Chicago’s hottest clubs, The Underground, where he helped the club earn the title of “Best in the U.S.” by Nightclub and Bar Magazine, and will bring his award-winning cocktails and distinctly British charm to the new hideaway rooftop lounge. Newby plans to bring his signature “tableside mixology program,” to Drumbar.

Design/Concept:
The existing architecture of the historic Rafaello Hotel, built in 1925, provided much of the inspiration for the atmosphere of Drumbar. Designed by Jun Aizaki of Crème Design, Aizaki says, “We wanted to preserve and respect the inherent historical elements of the space, which boasts soaring ceilings and 14’ high arched windows, but also add a some modern touches, creating a nice balance of old meets new.”

Interior:
Upon arriving at the 18th floor of the hotel, guests are welcomed into the warmly lit indoor space and greeted by a white marble bar where cocktails are the focus. Opposite the main bar, groups can find sanctuary in one of the dark alcoves, luxuriously furnished with tufted leather banquettes, one of which offers an antique fireplace. The lounge area, or ‘Great Room,’ is a dramatic space east of the main bar, boasts 20’ high ceilings, dark wood panels, and a custom designed antique brass light fixture. A cluster of leather sofas offer guests a cozy yet social cocktail environment, and for those looking for a more discreet experience, a smaller bar is tucked away in the corner of the Great Room. Walls are wrapped in woven gold-flecked wallpaper, and the wood panel ceiling is reminiscent of the hotel’s original woodwork.

The Main Terrace:
A dramatic arched doorway off the Great Room will open in warm months, framing a 1,500 square foot outdoor terrace. The open space blends in with the fabric of neighboring architecture, and lends views of Lake Michigan and the Hancock Building. Comfortable built-in lounge seating borders the space, and two fireplaces are surrounded by more seating and verdant landscaping. Through a small corridor off the Great Room, a semi-private room offers city views in three directions and completely private access to the outside terrace, creating a balance of scenery and seclusion. A second terrace will be available for private parties and events in later months.

The Drinks:
The beverage program at Drumbar will focus on whiskys, bourbons and scotches, and will offer a seasonal cocktail menu created by Newby. The cocktails will embody Ben's heartfelt and experience-led concepts when it comes to mixology. He will be creating innovative yet accessible drinks to be enjoyed by both the connoisseur and the person looking for a great libation. Newby will also bring his signature tableside mixology to the new lounge, for seated groups looking for a drinking experience beyond bottle service or cocktailing.

Small plates courtesy of Michelin-rated Chef Mauro Mafrici’s Pelago will be available for those looking with cravings beyond thirst.

Hours of operation will be: Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. to 3 a.m.; and Sunday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. For more information, visit www.drumbar.com, or call 312.924.2531. Follow drumbar on twitter at @drumbarchi.

About Menin Hotels:
Menin Hotels, with locations in Miami Beach and Chicago, has become a fixture in the hospitality world, capturing the essence of luxury and innovation in each of its properties. Cousins Keith Menin and Jared Galbut, who serve as partners of the company, truly understand what it means to be a hotelier. With a lifetime of experience in this family-owned business, they lead with professionalism and expertise in all of their endeavors. As a hospitality management company, Menin Hotels provides operational services within the realms of purchasing, finance, revenue, renovations, food & beverage, human resources, sales & marketing and information technology to branded full-service hotels, luxury resorts, conference center hotels, underperforming hotels, condominium hotels and independent hotels. With a strong presence throughout the South and the Midwest, and a new location in South Beach opening in Fall 2012, Menin Hotels is quickly expanding into becoming one of the most sought after hospitality management corporations in the United States.

About crème:
crème is a cutting-edge, Brooklyn based creative design firm that offers architectural, interior, graphic, and custom furniture design services. Founded by Jun Aizaki in 2004, crème’s studio is a collaboration of young, international designers and creative professionals that work globally on a range of projects including; private residences, restaurants and retail stores. In Fall 2009, crème was awarded a Wave of the Future Award by Hospitality Design magazine. Recently completed work includes Red Farm (NYC), La Promenade (NYC), Distrito (AZ), and Vesper American Brasserie in Miami’s Shelborne Hotel.

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Food and Beverage: Investing to Keep Pace
After five harrowing years of recession and uncertain recovery, revenues in the hotel industry (including food and beverage) have finally surpassed the previous peak year of 2007. Profits are once again on the rise and are expected to advance for the foreseeable future. The consequence of this situation means that hotel operators now have the funds to invest in their food and beverage operations in order to keep pace with rapidly changing industry trends and the evolving tastes of their hotel guests. One of the most prominent recent trends is the “Locavore Movement” which relies heavily on local sources to supply products to the hotel restaurant. In addition to fresh produce, meats and herbs, some operators are engaging local craft breweries, distilleries, bakers, coffee roasters and more to enhance their food and beverage options, and to give their operation a local identity. This effort is designed to increasingly attract local patrons, as well as traveling hotel guests. Some hotels are also introducing menus that cater to both the calorie and the ingredient conscious. Gluten-free, low-cal and low-carb menu items prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients are available to more fitness-minded guests. Another trend is placing greater emphasis on “comfort” and “street” foods which are being offered in more casual settings. The idea is to allow chefs to create their own versions of these classic recipes, with the understanding that the general public seems to be eschewing more formal dining options. Finally, because the hotel lobby is becoming the social epicenter of its operation – a space which both guests and locals can enjoy – more diverse and expanded food and beverage options are available there. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on all the recent trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and document what some leading hotels are doing to augment this area of their business.