Chicago’s first joint distillery and cocktail bar got its name from two of the three elements that comprise alcohol’s chemical structure: carbon and hydrogen. In its design for the West Loop bar, local firm Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson emphasized the textures of the building materials.
Large windows behind the bar reveal the working distillery floor, where custom-built stainless steel and copper stills shine against an industrial backdrop of exposed concrete columns. Wooden ceilings hang over the bar and lounge-like seating areas. In the evening, the bar glows a pale blue, while dozens of tiny overhead lights hang from the ceiling, arranged in neat rows of three. The culinary team—whose collective resume includes Blackbird, The Publican, Avec, and Perennial—crafted a cocktail menu around CH’s “grain-to-bottle” operation, which produces vodka, gin, rum, and whisky. CH’s Mark Lucas told Time Out that vodka is his favorite liquor. CH makes its vodka only with Illinois-grown grains.
CH may take the menu seriously, but a tiff with pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma over the cocktail formerly named for their popular painkiller OxyContin proved a little levity can be therapeutic. Faced with a cease and desist order on the drink’s name, CH’s Krisy Schutte renamed the gin concoction “Cease and Desist.”