The Good Life: RM Champagne Salon

As someone who recently started paying their own cell phone bill, I’m declaring myself a grownup. Officially. And since nothing says adulthood quite like catching a buzz on a weekday, I ventured to the West Loop’s much ballyhooed RM Champagne Salon. Opening this Sunday!

RM is hidden behind Nellcote by way of a cobblestone alleyway on Randolph Street. So, my first task was finding the joint. Thankfully, there was a pack of immaculately dressed, recently-engaged types who seemed to know people who know people. I followed them and, as predicted, was led to a bubbling glass of Rose′. Thanks, ladies!

When I reached the courtyard I was immediately taken by the space’s industrial feel. RM could have flipped the switch on style and turned the space into a faux LA art studio or upmarket look-at-me-and-how-cool-I-am “hot spot” – but it didn’t. In fact, when I asked about the possibility of serving brunch, RM’s sommelier Jason Wagner told me, “We’re about the booze.”

RM, at first glance, does not seem to be about imposing a grandiose sense of self-worth on Chicago’s dining scene. And if stumbling home at 1 am with a truffle pizza stain on my pants is any indication, Wagner’s right when he says that RM is about the party.

It’s difficult for a “summer spot” to come off genuine, especially one with as much anticipatory hype as RM. It’s even harder to stay void of pretentions when your champagne menu includes a $1,500 magnum of ’99 Jacques Selosse Milesme Brut. But RM reads authentic. It’s true to its champagne culture but not totally unapproachable for aspiring adults (like me!).

Taste is a funny thing. It develops. Remember how awesome Mountain Dew, Fruity Pebbles, and hot dogs with just ketchup used to be? Things change. Obviously. I ate my first Airhead since ‘94 the other day and about went into anaphylactic shock.

Growing up is not so bad. Places like RM remind us that there will always be a party. Just don’t be afraid to trade your keg cup for stemware.

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