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Nosh, nibble and play at Virgin Hotels Chicago Commons Club

This autumn, Virgin Hotels Chicago invites guests and locals alike to nosh, nibble and play at The Commons Club with new food and beverage menus. A space meant for work and play, The Commons Club provides a chic retreat for those looking to set up shop, sip cocktails, or dine any day of the week. Focusing on bar snacks and small plates, the new lunch and dinner menus incorporate fresh twists on classics, while maintaining a focus on globally inspired dishes. A space fueled by libations, The Commons Club menus are the perfect complement to the overall experience at the heart of Virgin Hotels.

New Bar Bites & Old Favourites For starters, guests can indulge in bar bites such as Habanero Spiked Pistachios, Charred Corn Dip, Beer Cheddar Churros served with a two-year aged cheddar dipping sauce, and Bloody Mary Sliders. Larger plates include Angry Claws - snow crab, grapefruit and chili butter sauce; Pork Belly Tacos, and Sticky Beef Ribs. Other favourite Commons Club dishes remain with memorable and flavourful compositions like the Signature Fatty Noodles, a dish inspired by Executive Chef Rick Gresh’s late-night cravings, refined for the kitchen with the addition of lobster, rapini and dashi.  

Gresh takes his love of body art (he has multiple tattoos) to the kitchen, adorning the restaurant’s signature dish, beef sirloin, with a special design using his own tattoo gun.  

“The flexibility of the Virgin Hotels brand has allowed me to experiment with new dishes and techniques and one of my goals has been to bring art to the kitchen. I spent months learning the art of tattooing, and then working to create an edible ink,” said Gresh. “The black truffle ink is used to tattoo the Mini Steak Frites featuring beef sirloin medallions found in The Commons Club. I’m having a lot of fun surprising our dining guests.”  

New Crafty Cocktails:
Behind the bar, guests will also discover a new cocktail menu featuring drinks that are seasonal, fun and cheeky, yet intricately crafted, with many of them inspired by Head Mixologist, Jon Harris. “I love taking seasonal elements such as taste, smell and colour and creating cocktails that tell a story. Connecting with guests through those stories and the drinks are what makes a great bar and memorable experience.”

Inspired by autumn and the smell of walking in the woods, Walking on Air is made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Breckenridge bitters, old man guava berry, oak-infused maple syrup and Rare Tea Cellars Freak of Nature Oolong Tea – a rare tea that is exposed to wide temperature fluctuations including blazing hot temperatures during the day and freezing temperatures at night creating deep nutty flavours. This taste marries perfectly to develop a woodsy and smoky cocktail. 

Also found on the cocktail menu is Form of Flattery, a spicy, autumnal version of the Moscow mule made with vodka, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, sherry, lime juice, calmansi extract, and ginger beer. The allspice dram is a traditional island liqueur that adds spice and woodiness while the calmansi provides a rich, citrus kaleidoscope finished with ginger beer to help with easy consumption. The Bad Apple made with reposado, apple brandy, lemon, honey syrup, and tiki bitters is also offered in honour of everyone’s favourite season – apple season!

Chef Gresh and his team will also offer Kitchen Cocktails, nightly cocktails prepared from the kitchen that incorporate an array of seasonal ingredients such as roasted beets, pureed pumpkin and squash or roasted chestnuts. The special drinks will be unique to the season and offer more savoury flavours you’d find throughout the menu.  

There’s more!
The Commons Club program will also feature new experiences such as interactive and table-side preparations, flights and pairings. For those looking to wind down after work, half price Happy Hour specials on select wines valued at more than $100, are available from 3– 6pm daily. In addition, hotel guests can still indulge in a hosted Social Hour from 6-7pm., top shelf included.   Fuel up for Lunch:
The Commons Club revamped lunch menu features tried and true staples like soups, salads and sandwiches with that Virgin twist, such as Chicken Noodle Soup with poached egg, Skirt Steak Salad with kale, cilantro, broccoli, pickled red onions and tahini dressing, and Steak Frites with French fries and porcini butter. This menu is designed for those looking for a quick power lunch in Chicago’s Loop.  To see the entire new menu, click here.  

The Commons Club will be programmed throughout the holidays, as it’s already playing host to the hotels’ new Artist in Residence Collective featuring Nina Palomba with Bucketfeet, and a Fashion Funktion event featuring bespoke pieces from students and graduates of the Chicago Fashion Incubator.

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