Koval's new tasting room. Credit: Provided.

RAVENSWOOD — Koval Distillery, the pioneering Ravenswood-based spirits manufacturer, will open its new tasting room Friday.

A cocktail in Koval’s new tasting room. Credit: Provided.

The opening is part of the distillery’s years-long plan to consolidate all its operations at 4241 N. Ravenswood Ave. Founded in 2008 by Sonat Birnecker Hart and Robert Birnecker, Koval became the first distillery in Chicago since Prohibition ended.

The tasting room’s menu features a mix of classic cocktails and originals designed to highlight each Koval spirit, including crowd favorites like Koval’s bourbon and gin and more uncommon offerings like liqueurs, fruit brandies and limited-edition releases. 

In addition to cocktails, a variety of pairings, bite-sized treats, flights, light food and coffee drinks will be available. The full menu can be found on the Koval website

The tasting room is an open, airy space that is equal parts bar, cafe and living room with Italian leather couches. 

The bar is a custom-built Vermont Imperial Danby bar designed by Dando Projects. The tasting room’s artwork was created by Birnecker Hart’s mother, Charlotte Hart, and aunt, Susan Loewenherz. 

Koval’s tasting room bar. Credit: Provided.

The distillery bought the Ravenswood Avenue property three years ago with the goal of opening a visitor center, store, tasting room, outdoor patio and space for educational programs. The pandemic delayed those plans last year; in the meantime, Koval pivoted to initiatives like making hand sanitizer to help address a nationwide shortage. 

“We feel that the new tasting room truly completes a visit to Koval,” Birnecker Hart said. “When people come to the distillery, they will not only have the ability to tour behind the scenes and learn about our process, but also relax with a cocktail at the bar or patio, and even bring home a bottle. It really turns an educational experience into a full night out, which was always our dream from the very beginning.” 

Friday through Sunday, the distillery is hosting an on-site donation drive for Common Pantry. Visitors who bring an item to contribute to Common Pantry’s wish list will be entered to win a private tour of Koval for up to 15 people. Other prizes are also available.

The tasting room is open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Its patio will be open for seating for as long as weather allows. Everyone must provide proof of vaccination and wear masks.

For more information on the fundraiser, click here.

Koval’s patio. Credit: Provided.


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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.orgnnLincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.org Twitter @avhndz