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House Special: “Purple Label” and “Rugby Sling” at RL

RL2Restaurant  bars, they’re mostly stamped from the same mold.  Whether it’s an island in the middle of the room or lined up against the back wall, they all look and feel the same and ultimately are forgotten as soon as you walk out the door.  Of course there are exceptions.   There are places which set a mood; whose charm is apparent in even the smallest of details.   There are places that change you as soon as you walk through the door. RL in Chicago is one those bars.

RL is in Polo Ralph Lauren’s  flagship store on Michigan Avenue and can be access either through the store or by it’s own entrance around the corner on Chicago Avenue.  It’s old money.  Its elegance is reminiscent of a European private clubs without the stiffness and formality.  In fact the dark rich floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, soft leather benches and seats, and dim lighting puts you at ease.   Its warmth relaxes you so you can enjoy your cocktail or food without worrying about which one is the salad fork or should you hold out your pinky when drinking.

The staff at RL are friendly and knowledgeable.  The bartenders address every patron by name.


The cocktail menu is a list of the classics (e.g. Martini, Manhattan, Gibson, Cosmopolitan, Negroni) with a couple house specials; the Purple Label (named for Ralph Lauren’s ultimate luxury label) and the Rugby Sling (named for Ralph Lauren’s trendy youthful collegiate label RUGBY)


The Purple Label

Ultimate Vodka

Veev Acai 

Pama Pomegranate Liqueur

Cranberry Juice

This tastes as you would expect it to.  The Veev gives it a hint of  sweetness.  The Pama and Cranberry make Purple Label slightly tart.  Its taste reminds me of a Cosmopolitan.


The Rugby Sling

Skyy Passion Vodka

Skyy Pineapple Vodka

Fresh Orange and lemon juice

This is a very refreshing drink .. like Orangina.  It’s very light and would be perfect for summer.

If you find yourself shopping on the Magnificent Mile, I highly recommend stopping by RL.  The ambiance, good food, classic cocktails, and friendly staff make RL a posh refuge in a hectic, bustling city.

Xan Garcia

Xan Garcia

Founder and senior editor of VODA. Cocktailian, Journalist, Traveler, and the next Robin Leach.

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