iBar "showtender" Alex Segura
We left downtown Chicago, found our exit 18B off the Eisenhower, and arrived 30 minutes later at iBar. From the parking lot, in my mind, I heard Derek Zoolander
ask: "How can there be a 70-foot interactive touch screen if it can't even fit in the building?" In Zoolander's defense; this place did need to be, at least, three times bigger.
The exterior could not have been more of a contradiction to the hot look inside Bart Bazam's electric lounge of mirrored walls, blaring DJ booth, and light show that begins during daylight hours. Three divergent arenas loop iBar together: rectangular 'interactive’ bar, dance floor framed with darkened corner of black-and-white art deco seating, and enchanted beer garden with twice the available seating inside.
I was fortunate that, Bazam, the 24-year-old owner, was there to explain his industry debut and where I should be looking for this tremendous, newfangled mode of interactivity. It was ... the bar itself. Remember Etch-a-Sketch? It's like a contemporary, colorful version, but with drinking, no unnecessary pen, and auto-erase! When Bazam met British designer Thomas Gardner in a London hotel swimming pool, he heard the idea, loved it, and straightaway dove into the concept. Strikingly, Gardner's design of an LED light/crystal surface that reacts to thermal touch, has only one model: iBar in Melrose Park.
But the sight/touch connection feature at iBar's bar isn't the most uniting virtue available. That would be a tie between the LCD text-to screens (primarily to 'holla') and Alex Segura (pictured), the demure iBar showtender. A showtender is also known as a flairtender or flirtender. Now you're starting to get it.
The food menu is currently unavailable, just like the drink menu. There are no specialty cocktails, so just order what you know, and get ready for some flair/flirt if Alex Segura is your showtender.
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Anderson