We should have known.
When you're thinking about grabbing a drink in a new city, and you run a possible establishment past Bill Norris, always listen to his advice. If he sounds lukewarm and says "I know the owner there, but he moved to New York a while back," well, heed that implicit warning and hie you elsewhere. And if Bill gently steers you towards another bar, saying "... but Charles Joly at the Drawing Room is the best bartender I've ever met," well then, don't be stupid. Go there first.
The Violet Hour in Chicago indelibly taught us this lesson.
We'd read hundreds of positive reviews on Yelp (yeah, I know, I know!) and the drinks menu looked enticing, so we decided to check them out regardless. And try to meet someone there, which anyone who has ever been to the Violet Hour on a Saturday would tell you is a Very Bad Idea.
After finding the door, which is purposely hidden to make trixies feel in the know, we stood cheek to jowl in a tiny vestibule with about ten other people. It was not clear what one was supposed to do at this point. I hissed at Logan to please push aside the giant curtain separating us from the bar so we could figure out what was going on, and there he found a doorman who said that what we should do is wait. We'd be called in the order in which we arrived. To enter, one must have a seat - no standing allowed. And no meeting friends"without prior arrangement." (It was also implied strongly that "prior arrangement" does not really exist.) So friendly!
(More Violet Hour and we move on to the much more friendly Drawing Room, below.)