The word “speakeasy” usually conjures up images of basement bars, passwords, and escape tunnels, not jaw-dropping 18th-floor penthouses. But that’s the inspiration for the Raffaello Hotel’s new rooftop hangout, drumBAR. Jun Aizaki, founder of Brooklyn-based crème design, “immediately knew that the space was going to be something special.” And that it is. In a city littered with rooftop bars, this one stands out, mostly because they didn’t slight the interior component of the space, which is as exceptional as the view of the Hancock or Mies’ Lake Shore Drive apartments.
Once a penthouse suite, drumBAR’s interior opens into a collection of intimate gathering spaces, almost all capped by dramatic cathedral ceilings. Off the main bar, a dramatic custom fixture lights a central lounge, a constellation of brass armature and filament bulbs that highlights the volume of the room. A long aisle off the navelike lounge leads to a VIP area flanked by arched windows. Rich stained wood paneling and leather armchairs are accented with the occasional green lacquered stool. The color palette extends to the roof terrace with its custom club chairs framed with diagonal slats and all-weather fabrics. The design team’s success may be in designing a space that’s alluring in all four Chicago seasons.