Even in a neighborhood as jam-packed with bars as Highland Park, this tiny building in the alley behind the recently opened Cafe Birdie is a welcome addition: a craft cocktail joint that manages to feel both upscale and unpretentious, with a stylish but spartan brick-walled interior and a drinks menu that rivals anyplace in town. Named after the peeling sign left over from the space's former days as a discount furniture store, Good Housekeeping is the work of bar director Alex Barbatsis and an A-team of mixologists who keep the specialty cocktail menu regularly updated with deliciously original concoctions and riffs on old classics. When they opened last fall, the star of the show was a charcoal-filtered Manhattan; this past summer, it was a toss-up between Barbatsis' Los Angeles Sour, a whiskey sour variation with peach liqueur and habanero bitters, and Lauren Pool's Down Under, an aromatic mix of rum, orgeat and the German digestif Underberg. With no TVs and no happy-hour specials, it's a quiet, candlelit refuge from its noisier, hipster-swamped neighbors.
[Correction: A previous version of this write-up incorrectly credited Nicholas Krok, Jeremy Simpson and Ryan Duffy as still being involved with Good Housekeeping. Although they were formerly associated with the bar, it has been run since May by bar director Alex Barbatsis. We regret the error.]