When you set foot inside Vol. 39, you might feel as though you’re stepping into a decadent cocktail bar from a bygone era. Our menu offerings, from impeccable craft cocktails to small plates, are versions of the classics with a modern twist and a hint of irreverence. Bound vintage law books and tufted leather couches are balanced by delicate details like intricate glassware and hanging lamps crafted from cut crystal decanters. It all makes for an intriguing atmosphere that feels grounded in history, but with a hint of something new to be discovered.
Chef Brian Millman hails from the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, where his passion for the culinary world was established during frequent visits to new restaurants with his foodie parents. Brian continued to nurture his love of food and restaurant culture through his education, which included a degree in Culinary Arts from Chicago’s own Kendall College.
After graduation, Brian laid the foundation for his professional career as an executive chef while under the guidance of acclaimed chef Jean Joho at the world-renowned Everest Restaurant.
As Executive Chef at Vol. 39, Brian brings with him more than 20 years of culinary experience and a passion for the “eat local” movement. He pulls inspiration from classic 1930s era canapés and hors d'oeuvres, imbued with a seasonal touch. When he’s not in the kitchen, Brian can be found gardening, traveling overseas with his wife and son, or rooting on the Blackhawks, Cubs and Bears.
An Illinois native, Knox got his start bartending at Legends Sports Bar & Grill and Radio Maria restaurant while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Knox soon developed a passion for craft beer - wine and spirits would follow later - and decided to pursue a professional bartending career post-graduation.
After stints at Brass Monkey and Bread & Wine, Knox found his place at SideDoor, an upscale gastropub inside the historic McCormick Mansion and home of Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Chicago. While at SideDoor, Knox delved into the creation of high volume craft cocktails with house-made syrups, tinctures and infusions. Over the next two years, Knox’s passion for craft beer, wine and spirits grew along with his skillset to where he was promoted to head bartender.
Having staged at Sable Kitchen & Bar early in his career, Knox met fellow Kimpton bar vets’ John Stanton, Mike Ryan and Jess Lambert who introduced him to the Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants portfolio. Seeking more growth in his career, Knox accepted a bartender position at Vol. 39 in 2017 and was promoted to head bartender the following year.
At the helm of Vol. 39’s sophisticated wine, spirits and cocktail program, Knox curates a beverage menu steeped in classics with a modern twist and a hint of irreverence. His cocktails have been featured in TimeOut Chicago’s “Chicago’s Best Negronis,” Liquor.com and Forbes.