Two-for-one anything generally has an alluring appeal, which is probably why dual-concept spaces -- two experiences in one location -- continue to be such big hits. It's a familiar concept, one borrowed from the popular soda fountains of the 1950s, often found in the neighborhood pharmacy. It was the social hotspot where friends gathered to gossip, feed their cravings and conveniently shop at the pharmacy.
It's also perhaps why Urban Outfitters made the bold move to purchase an Italian food chain in hopes to revitalize its brand among Millennials, who are spending more on dining.
This is likely why locals have emphatically embraced RH Chicago, Restoration Hardware's new flagship location. This dual-concept of a shop and social locale has taken on a new life. The home furnishing company's new location in the Gold Coast is a treat all on its own with 70,000 square feet of décor inspiration, housed in a century-old building that once was the Three Arts Club of Chicago.
But RH Chicago is more than just a retail store and showroom. It's an experience. Build up an appetite for design and try the beautifully plated and equally delicious menu items at 3 Arts Club Café by Brendan Sodikoff and Hogsalt Hospitality. Breakfast, lunch or drinks is as elegant and luxurious an experience as the rest of the RH Chicago space.
Here are a few more unique dual-concept spaces in Chicago worth checking out:
C.C. Ferns - Another Brendan Sodikoff/Hogsalt Hospitality concept, this coffee house in Humboldt Park is not just for those looking to get caffeinated. Beyond the coffee beans and chill ambiance, it's also a cigar shop.
Heritage General Store - A locally-made bike brand, the first completely Chicago-made bike since Schwinn in the 70s, has gained adoration from the likes of Beyoncé and GQ. Locals share in this love, not just for the beautiful custom bikes the shop is known for, but also for its coffee. Self-described as "a mash-up of two concepts and cultures that really go hand in hand: bikes and coffee;" Heritage General Store is a unique place where local craft, artistry and good coffee are celebrated and enjoyed.
In addition to retail shops with eateries, there are several fun, quirky, and hip dual-concept spaces that have emerged in the restaurant/bar scene giving diners an opportunity to have multiple experiences under one roof. Some favorites are the exclusive, tucked away, or semi-secret bars housed in the lower or upper level of a bar or restaurant:
- The Office at the Aviary
- Charcoal Bar at Sumi Robata Bar
- Punch House at Dusek's (there's also a music hall in this shared space: Thalia Hall)
- Watershed at Pop's for Champagne
- The Drifter at Green Door Tavern
- Bordel just above Black Bull
- Heavy Feather at Slippery Slope
Then there are dual-concept (or in some cases, multi-concept) spaces that bring together two (or more) dining options under one roof. Take for example:
- BellyQ/Urban Belly
- Summer House Santa Monica/Stella Barra
- Green Street Smoked Meats/Hi-Five Ramen/Sawada Coffee (new*)
- Cafe Press and Sociale
- Fox Bar/Chicken Shop at Soho House
Chicago continues to embrace the dual-concept experience, paving the way for more of these two-for-one offerings to sprout up. Let's see what 2016 brings!