During the first weeks of May 2022, a new boba restaurant, 9 Bar, surfaced close to IMSA. 9 Bar is located nearby at 1330 N Orchard Rd, allowing IMSA students to go on walking trips there. Their hours from Sunday to Thursday are 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM and from Friday to Saturday are 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM.
Inside the restaurant, there are currently four tables and a waiting space for customers to sit. Additionally, customers can enjoy taking pictures with the restaurant’s Chinese dragon mural in the back.
9 Bar offers a variety of drinks and Asian cuisine. Their drink categories consist of house special milk teas, fruit teas, smoothies, macchiatos, and house specials. Some of their most notable drinks are their Cloud Thai Tea and Brown Sugar Milk Tea. They also offer fun toppings to complement their drinks such as tapioca, tapioca poppers, and jellies. However, not only is 9 Bar varied in drinks but also in food, offering appetizers, noodle soup, sliders (bao), and rice bowls. This is their tentative menu as 9 Bar continues to expand their menu as shown on their website.
I was able to talk to one of the owners, Johnny Ma. He explained the story behind 9 Bar. There are three owners at 9 Bar that “each owns a different restaurant.” Together, they own 6 different restaurants across the greater Chicago area. Because of the effects of the pandemic, they decided to combine their specialties together believing that together they have “nine different specialties.” Thus, the name “9 Bar” was created. Ma additionally expressed how they hope to make this restaurant an actual bar when they obtain their liquor license.
Personally, I’ve had great experiences taking a walk to Orchard with friends and having a new option to eat. Some of my recommendations for orders are their Passion Fruit Tea and Scallion Pancake. The servers are very amiable. When I dined in, they would check up on my friend and me frequently, asking if the food was good. The business has been booming at 9 Bar because of the timeliness of its opening. It has proven to be an ideal place for IMSA students to destress and embrace the lovely and warm weather.