Craig Schoettler Takes Over Drumbar; Can Arty Cocktails Go Mass Market?

Schoettler (center) at The Aviary.

312 Dining Diva broke the news (in a year-end roundup piece, of a sort) on Monday: Craig Schoettler, former executive chef of The Aviary, had surfaced at Drumbar. Eater then deduced that a photo tweeted by Drumbar of an Aviaryesque device suggested that Schoettler was doing more than just picking up a few shifts to cover the rent, and wondered if an announcement was on its way. And within a few hours it was, as the Tribune reports that Schoettler has taken over the bar program (opening mixologist Benjamin Newby is either consulting or has departed, depending on who you ask) and is transforming the beverage program at the bar atop the Raffaelo Hotel. This is interesting not just as a where-are-they-now story, but because it will be an interesting test case as to whether The Aviary's rarefied style of cocktails, which are as much performance art as mixology and delivered in a very specific atmosphere which eschews many of the traditional comforts of bar tending, can make it in a more traditional Friday-night-singles atmosphere— and make their way in some form across the entire bar scene.