70s-Style Cocktails and a Bacon Bar

By Sarah Freeman  |  August 19, 2013
Credit: Fogelson/Jetel

Retro cocktails and an entire restaurant devoted to bacon. These two concepts may seem unrelated, but now exist in harmony at The James Hotel. Even better is the fact that they share a wall, so the smell of bacon dogs cooking at Burkes Bacon Bar can waft into the sophisticated cocktail lounge, Jimmy, secretly located behind it. Check out the clash, or perhaps the perfect combination, of food and drink trends in the River North hotel.

Burkes Bacon Bar

David Burke really likes bacon. He likes it so much that his second restaurant in the James Hotel (in addition to David Burke ‘s Primehouse) will feature a bacon-centric menu of sandwiches, snacks, salads and desserts.

Nine “handwiches” can be mixed and matched ($4 each or three for $11) from the bacon bar. The options created by executive chef David Rick Gresh include the Big Kahuna Spamwich with BBQ spam, pineapple slaw, bacon crumbs, homemade pickles on a King’s Hawaiian bun as well as a banh mi with chicken liver-bacon salad, bacon, pickled vegetables, herbs and lime on a baguette.

Pick up a side of “Crack Snacks,” which are made when crispy tortilla strips are topped with bacon and spices. Conclude this bacon-y journey with dessert from pastry chef Jove T. Hubbard, such as bacon peanut brittle and bacon chocolate chip cookies.


If the bacon coma is not too severe, then escape to this speakeasy-style cocktail lounge. Located though a private entrance, the wood-paneled bar serves cocktail inspired by iconic cinema. Sip on the Bondsman (apple brandy, vodka, lime, cranberry juice, agave and seltzer) or a Dirty Little Secret (vodka, dry vermouth, olive brine, celery bitters, lemon and infused with a drop of A1 sauce).

For food, Jimmy serves a variety of small plates including goat cheese fondue created with basil, roasted peppers, capers and black olive with toasted baguette. In addition to the cocktail, the bar will also offer beer, champagne and wine by the glass. Perhaps just an aperitif is in the cards after all that bacon, luckily the plush seating is the perfect place to bacon detox.

610 N. Rush St.; 312-660-7200