Bar Marta isn't in my neighborhood, but it is close, in Humboldt Park, and it's where I decided to go. I read before arriving that many of the people from Bar Marta had previously worked with Brendan Sodikoff's restaurant group, Hogsalt. I was not sure if this meant that it was part of the Hogsalt Restaurant Group, but it did give me an idea of what to expect. While the group has a number of restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines, they all have a certain commonality. They are all dark, their food menus are fairly small and each feature a significant of small plates with a few large plates. They have a good selection of craft beers and many of their featured cocktails are classics or based on classics. Pulling up to the restaurant, I saw that while there is a sign on the door, it is very unobtrusive and you would never know that the place was a restaurant unless you saw the sign. It sits on a corner on a main road with the narrow side on the main road and the entrance on the long side. Walking in, I saw that it followed one of Hogsalt's key things, it was very dark. There was a long bar opposite the entrance which is where I decided to sit. The dining room is carpeted and while there are large windows on the long side, opposite the bar, they are covered by heavy curtains. The room was a light color, but I because it was so dark, I couldn't really tell what light color it was. The bar was a substantial element in the room. It was big, looked heavy and had a white marble top. Looking at the beer and cocktail menu, I saw that they had a pretty good beer and wine list. The cocktails were divided into Shaken, Stirred, Sparkling, and Old Fashioneds. While I was interested in a cocktail, I wasn't looking for anything really heavy, so I went for one of the Sparkling drinks. Called a Strange Brew. Served on ice, it consisted of Gin, Pineapple Juice, and Evil Twin Yang IPA. As I like both gin and IPAs, this was a nice choice. It was heavier than a beer, but was a lighter cocktail. It tasted first of pineapple with herbal notes from the gin and the hoppy bitterness and head from the IPA.
Amaro. I was interested in a digestif, so I asked what they had (because it was too dark to really see the bar back to see what they had). After asking about a few things specifically, I ended up with an Averna. It was thick and thick with a gently herbal bitterness, and I thought it would go very well with my dessert.
Other than the dimness of the light, I enjoyed my time here. It was quiet, had a low-key vibe, and the staff was friendly and informative. The food was very good and there were a few things that I may have to return for.