Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has launched dozens of concepts over the years, but a wine bar has never been one of them. Until now.
Bar Ramone, a wine bar overseen by LEYE sommeliers Ryan Arnold and Richard Hanauer, will open later this summer in the old Bottlefork space (441 N. Clark St.), a narrow room wedged between Frontera Grill and Bub City.
“It’s pretty small, by Lettuce standards,” said Arnold. “From 200-plus-seat restaurants, we’re pivoting to something with less than 100 seats. It will be a highly personalized experience.”
Is the Bar Ramone name a reference to the punk-rock band The Ramones?
“I wish,” Arnold joked. “Rich (Melman) just comes up with these names. However, the logo does have an 80s-ish, punk vibe.”
Arnold, who, like Harnauer, has created dozens of food-first wine lists for various Lettuce restaurants, said he’s looking forward to opening a wine-forward concept.
“It’ll be pretty straightforward,” he said. “We’ll have less than 100 bottles, 20 or so by the glass, and the list will rotate daily, so returning customers can always find something new. The idea is to create a conversation between the servers and customer; when you ask people who belong to wine clubs, it’s always about that personal connection.
“When you think about it, Chicago doesn’t have a ton of wine bars,” Arnold said. “Chicago is in the forefront of the culinary world, but in beverage, we’re probably more known for whiskey and beer.”
Accompanying the wines will be a small-plates menu by chef-partners Hisanabou Osaka and Doug Psaltis.
Follow Bar Ramone’s progress on Instagram at @bar.ramone, or at barramone.com.