Hidden in the basement of the building adjacent to one of the oldest bars in Chicago—The Green Door Tavern—is The Drifter, one of Chicago’s original speakeasies.

Marked by the tavern’s signature green door (which, in the prohibition era, represented a place one could find alcohol and other illegal entertainment), John Chesney, bartender and night manager of The Green Door Tavern, walked us through the Green Door’s bar and gastropub, through to the back and down the stairs until we reached a heavy, disguised door to the building next door. It opens to what feels like an entirely different era in time.

The Drifter’s walls are lined with Prohibition-era memorabilia, including an original Mobil Gas Pegasus, a wooden phone booth, and bottles that have lived on the shelves since the mid-20s. Original video footage of flappers project on the back wall, that also double as a stage.

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When I first joined the team at KOVAL and learned about our cocktail classes, everyone described the instructor, Devin Kidner, as "a living Pinterest board."

While her delicately crafted cocktails are certainly picturesque, Devin is, of course, so much more than that. Here are just a few examples of what she's been up to lately: she recently won a national cocktail competition through Slow Food USA, earning her a position as a delegate to Slow Food International's biannual Terra Madre conference, considered the Olympics of Food. In addition, she was chosen as the moderator of the American Speakeasy workshop at Terra Madre 2014. She's also a Top Rated teacher on and is a host for

I was able to grab a few minutes of Devin's time and learn about her love of the local food and agriculture industry, as well as why she loves being her own bartender.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_flats-cocktail.jpgLast week, we headed over to adjoining Uptown neighborhood for the opening of FLATS Studio’s most recent community art exhibit, PoorTraits.

Supported by FLATS Chicago, FLATS Studio is a way of using empty storefront and vacant commercial spaces in FLATS buildings to support, engage, and encourage the artistic spirits of their communities. PoorTraits, located at the Uptown Gallery at 1050 W. Wilson, displays the work of Chicago artists whose work deal with issues of race, class, family and identity.  

While we mixed up some autumnally appropriate cocktails (Fall Moscow Mules), we also got a chance to wander the thought-provoking gallery and listen to live music from the funky and talented Carla Starla.

After-the-fact, we were lucky enough to snag five minutes of FLATS developer and local entrepreneurial superstar Jay Michael’s time to hear more about their initiatives and what he loves about the FLATS’ north side neighborhoods.

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 The Woman’s Board at Rush University Medical Center made donating look good at their 88th annual fashion show, Imagine. Held on October 2nd at the Morgan Manufacturing space in the West Loop, money raised went towards installing state-of-the-art intra-operative imaging technology at the Rush Medical Center. This would be the first center in Chicago to have this advanced technology to aid the nationally recognized neurosurgeons at Rush, including Dr. Lorenzo Munoz and Dr. Richard Bryne.

Starting in 1884, The Woman’s Board is the single largest donor to the Rush Medical Center with this event being the longest continuously running charitable fashion show in the nation. The idea for the show came from Mrs. Hathaway Watson and Mrs. Frank Hibbard after they attended a few charity shows in France in 1927. Over $16 million have been raised to date with expectations of making $500,000 per show in recent years. The show has been hosted by some incredible venues, like the Stevens Hotel, Civic Opera House, Orchestra Hall, and Medinah Hall.

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Capturing Chicago

KOVAL’s founders left their careers in part because they wanted to move back to the city they loved: Chicago. The city has always played an important role in our company’s identity, and we are proud that our products are 100% Chicago-made. We draw inspiration from others who love this city as much as we do and believe that there are so many ways that this city is celebrated in the work and lives of those who call it home.

Danny Mota, quite literally, captures Chicago in the moment. Aside from being the content manager for Havas Worldwide, he is a well-known Chicago Instagrammer. We first discovered his Instagram talents in a Buzzfeed post titled “14 Instagram Accounts That Make The Chicago Cold Look Worth It”. There is something distinctly special about the way he captures the city; his pictures are thought provoking and abounding with raw emotion. When he agreed to set the KOVAL bottle against the Chicago landscape for us, we were thrilled.

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