For Dino Vulpitta, choosing a name for his Italian-American lounge came easy. "We have a sister location in Las Vegas, the whole Marlon Brando thing and my son is named Brandon," says Vulpitta. Situated at the ground level of the historic Fisher Building, Brando's offers a little style for the Loop's after-work crowd.
The inside provides a perfect backdrop for a Chris Consani painting where Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean share laughs over drinks. Grape-colored booths serve as buffers between large windows and a narrow path leading toward the back. A handsome bar stands tall, rimmed with intricately designed cast iron. You'll notice how heavily scaled carp, designed into the cast iron over the largest booth, meld well with the Fisher Building insignia. And metal-tile walls, resembling the inside of an air conditioning vent, add a pure and distinct touch.
Young professionals gather in booths, with additional friends planted around them on freestanding stools. They engage in office chatter, sip wine and take pictures. Another party strolls in from the West Suburbs to celebrate a 30th birthday. Businesswear appears the norm, but building residents choose a more relaxed, sporty look; no one stands out. Visit Thursdays through Saturdays and find a resident DJ spinning house as a projector plays an artistic video-mix. Other nights, lounge music plays, focusing on an Enigma/Dido sound.
Van Gogh is the vodka of choice here, coming in a range of flavors. Have the bartender put together a Mango-tini (Vulpitta's favorite) made with real mangos ($8). Choose from about 20 wines; an average glass of white wine is $8.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez