Cool, classic cocktails and food at Moneygun in the West Loop

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Hungry Hound: Monkeygun (WLS)

It's a typical weekday at Moneygun in the West Loop, beneath the Green Line tracks, and there's already a good crowd. And they are apparently thirsty.

"Dustin, Will and Justin here create 30 essential cocktails every night and whatever you want you can throw their way and they could probably make, and that's really the emphasis here is cocktails," said Chef Jared Wentworth.

The bar sits next to Saint Lou's Assembly - a Midwestern "meat 'n three" cafeteria - but a shared kitchen means a compact menu goes with those cocktails. There's a French-inspired warm frisee salad, featuring knobs of bacon and roasted tomatoes, plus a poached egg. Eggs are also whipped and served in their own shell, one component of the "Foie Grand Slam," which also features tiny pancakes, candied bacon powder and tiny spheres of maple braised apples, plus a generous two-ounce lobe of seared foie gras.

"We try to cross-utilize some product between the kitchens. We offer a blue plate from Lou's every night, if you want something more substantial than bar snacks," said Wentworth.

One shared item is prime rib. At Saint Lou's, it's sliced thick and served with side dishes; at Moneygun, it's shaved even thinner, added to a rich, beefy jus, then jammed into light, Italian-style rolls, topped with homemade giardiniera.

"I don't use sport peppers, I use fresh Melrose peppers but it's the same concept: have a little bit of heat, some vinegar and some oil," he said. "It's a hybrid sandwich. It takes the aspects of the "wet" the "dipped" and kind of combines them and makes them a little bit like a French dip sandwich, but it's not. Leans a little more toward the Italian history of the Italian beef sandwich."

So even though the emphasis at Moneygun is on cocktails, you're gonna be fine if you come hungry too, just realize there might be a little bit of a line out the front door.

660 W. Lake St., Chicago

EXTRA COURSE: The Pink Squirrel
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One of Moneygun's bartenders shows Steven how to make the classic cocktail insipred by a Wisconsin pub, the Pink Squirrel.

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foodhungry houndbarcocktailChicago - West Loop
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