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While the Air and Water is cancelled for 2021, the Blue Angels will still perform.
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Where to Escape Chicago’s Air and Water Show

Not everyone is a fan of the sonic booms from the Blue Angels

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While the Air and Water is cancelled for 2021, the Blue Angels will still perform.
| Getty

There are two kinds of Chicagoans: those who await the annual Air and Water Show with breathless anticipation and head to the North Avenue Beach early to stake out the spots with the best view of the Blue Angels, and those who get twitchy at the sound of airplanes flying low overhead and rejoiced last summer when the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Event organizers once again cancelled the event this year due to COVID-19 concerns, but a major component of the show will still take place. As sort of a compromise, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels will take part in a solo demonstration on Saturday, August 21 and Sunday, August 22.

Technically, the Air and Water Show took place between Fullerton Avenue and Oak Street, but the strafing planes have been known to fly as far north as Rogers Park. There are options for escape. One is leaving town. Another is hiding in a basement. A third is finding a nice, peaceful patio far from the lake, ordering some nice food and drinks, and gazing up into a clear, quiet summer sky.

So here are 20 great bars and restaurants to escape the two-day event. Take back the weekend.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Annapurna Simply Vegetarian

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Annapurna Simply Vegetarian moved a little ways down Devon last summer to a larger corner space. Known for South Indian vegetarian food, this South Asian snack shop has been a fixture for years with dosas, samosas, puri (puffed flatbread), and more. The corner space means they have room to set up a rare patio on that stretch of Devon.

a street patio
Annapurna Simply Vegetarian has one of the few patios on Devon.
Aimee Levitt/Eater Chicago

Gene's Sausage Shop and Delicatessen

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After a yearlong hiatus for the pandemic, the rooftop beer garden at Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen is open again. Enjoy freshly grilled forcemeats and kebabs, along with an assortment of beer and wine, then stock up at the grocery downstairs on your way home.

Gene's Sausage Shop roof deck
Gene’s Sausage Shop roof deck
Photo: Gene’s

Angelo's Wine Bar

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Founded in 1962, Angelo’s underwent a makeover in 2015 that transformed it from a neighborhood pizzeria to a wine bar. It still features thin crust pizzas, but now also pastas, salads, charcuterie, bruschetta, sandwiches, and more alongside bottles and flights. The patio is one of the few outdoor spots in Albany Park.

BiXi Beer

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Chef Bo Fowler’s Asian-influenced brewpub has established itself as a Logan Square favorite, serving a smart and playful menu that includes springy noodles, Italian beef-inspired bao, spicy fried chicken sandwiches, and bacon cheeseburgers, plus an extensive selection of beers. All this, and a partially covered roofdeck, too.

Testaccio Chicago

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Logan Square’s restaurant Testaccio, inspired by the eponymous Roman neighborhood, serves a blend of cuisines from Greek, Malta, Turkey, and Morocco, and makes good use of the wood-burning oven left behind by former tenant Quiote. The restaurant is from Aldo Zaninotto of Osteria Langhe, and the menu features street food. There are also more than 60 outdoor spots on the patio and sidewalk.

Pizza Lobo

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New York-style pizzeria Pizza Lobo in Logan Square houses a 4,000 square foot patio where patrons can find a tight selection of pies, starters, and salads. It’s helmed by former Bad Hunter chef Dan Snowden and Heisler Hospitality (Sportsman’s Club), and also operates a carryout window on Sacramento Avenue. This was an outgrowth of a pizza operation that started inside Lone Wolf, Heisler’s West Loop bar.

The Leavitt Street Inn & Tavern

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This Bucktown tavern, run by two longtime neighborhood residents, is virtually a showroom for Chicago-area breweries and distilleries: there’s always something local on tap. The food is typical pub fare, but for guests who don’t feel like going home, there are three guestrooms upstairs.

Kennedy Rooftop

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The year-old rooftop bar at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Wicker Park provides views of, yes, the Kennedy Expressway, but also the entire downtown skyline. There’s food, drinks, lounge chairs, TVs, a retractable roof in case it rains, and a fire pit in case it gets cold: everything anyone could possibly need.

A rooftop patio bar. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This family-run Filipino restaurant not only has superb lumpia, halo-halo, and Cebuano-style pancit, it’s also got a tranquil back patio on which to enjoy them.

The Perch Kitchen and Tap

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The Perch, a year-old brewpub in Wicker Park, has not just food (from 4 Star Restaurant Group) and beer (from Finch Beer Co.), and a dog-friendly patio, it also has a sculpture garden, courtesy of landlord and neighbor Davara Fine Art.

Pizza Friendly Pizza

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Powered by recipes from Noah Sandoval, the chef of Michelin-starred Oriole, 16” on Center opened a Sicilian pizzeria next to the Empty Bottle, its name an echo of the Bottle’s famous slogan “Music Friendly Dancing.” In addition to pies, there’s salad, breadsticks, and the option of a $25 meal for two for takeout or consumption on the petite alley patio.

The management of Recess in the West Loop boasts that it has the city’s largest patio. While this remains unverified, it is true that Recess has enough space for ample social distancing at several different levels, with artificial turf and without. There are also frozen cocktails and nice sunset views.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Lettuce Entertain You’s Aba in the West Loop restaurant, has one of the loveliest rooftop patios in the city where diners can lounge and eat their way through CJ Jacobson’s Mediterranean/Middle Eastern menu, particularly the stracciatella with marinated tomatoes.

Perched atop the Hoxton Hotel, Stephanie Izard’s project, which made Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list, serves both brunch and dinner inspired by the cuisine of Peru: ceviche, tiradito, and more.

Osito's Tap

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Mixologist Denisse Soto has been given the full range of spirits available at Moreno’s Liquors, where Osito’s is housed, speakeasy-style, to create cocktails that conjure the flavors and feel of Mexico City, right in the heart of Little Village. There’s also an extensive craft beer selection, and Moreno’s boasts the Midwest’s largest collection of tequila.

The Duck Inn

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Located on a quiet corner in Bridgeport near the Chicago River, the Duck Inn feels much farther away from downtown than it actually is, especially out on the back patio. Chef Kevin Hickey’s menu ranges from the simple — a classic Chicago-style duck-fat hot dog — to the spectacular — a full rotisserie duck.

The Duck Inn Patio Duck Inn

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream

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The name of this spot tucked in next to Maria’s Package Goods and Community Bar pretty much says it all. The pizza, which comes in tavern- and Sicilian-style, is from Eat Free; the fried chicken from Kimski chef Won Kim; and the ice cream pops from Pretty Cool Ice Cream.

The Woodlawn

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This restaurant, cafe, and event space in Chatham also has a rooftop patio that seats 10 socially-distanced people. The menu features salads, sandwiches, and chicken and fish, both jerk and fried.

Open Outcry Brewing Company

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Beverly brewpub Open Outcry opened its rooftop beer garden two years ago. Guests can enjoy wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and, of course, beer.

One Eleven Food Hall

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This Pullman food hall and business incubator features the tastes of the South Side: Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine, AndySunflower Cafe, and Lexington Betty Smokehouse. Take lunch out on the patio and take in the sights of this former company town.

Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Annapurna Simply Vegetarian

a street patio
Annapurna Simply Vegetarian has one of the few patios on Devon.
Aimee Levitt/Eater Chicago

Annapurna Simply Vegetarian moved a little ways down Devon last summer to a larger corner space. Known for South Indian vegetarian food, this South Asian snack shop has been a fixture for years with dosas, samosas, puri (puffed flatbread), and more. The corner space means they have room to set up a rare patio on that stretch of Devon.

a street patio
Annapurna Simply Vegetarian has one of the few patios on Devon.
Aimee Levitt/Eater Chicago

Gene's Sausage Shop and Delicatessen

Gene's Sausage Shop roof deck
Gene’s Sausage Shop roof deck
Photo: Gene’s

After a yearlong hiatus for the pandemic, the rooftop beer garden at Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen is open again. Enjoy freshly grilled forcemeats and kebabs, along with an assortment of beer and wine, then stock up at the grocery downstairs on your way home.

Gene's Sausage Shop roof deck
Gene’s Sausage Shop roof deck
Photo: Gene’s

Angelo's Wine Bar

Founded in 1962, Angelo’s underwent a makeover in 2015 that transformed it from a neighborhood pizzeria to a wine bar. It still features thin crust pizzas, but now also pastas, salads, charcuterie, bruschetta, sandwiches, and more alongside bottles and flights. The patio is one of the few outdoor spots in Albany Park.

BiXi Beer

Chef Bo Fowler’s Asian-influenced brewpub has established itself as a Logan Square favorite, serving a smart and playful menu that includes springy noodles, Italian beef-inspired bao, spicy fried chicken sandwiches, and bacon cheeseburgers, plus an extensive selection of beers. All this, and a partially covered roofdeck, too.

Testaccio Chicago

Logan Square’s restaurant Testaccio, inspired by the eponymous Roman neighborhood, serves a blend of cuisines from Greek, Malta, Turkey, and Morocco, and makes good use of the wood-burning oven left behind by former tenant Quiote. The restaurant is from Aldo Zaninotto of Osteria Langhe, and the menu features street food. There are also more than 60 outdoor spots on the patio and sidewalk.

Pizza Lobo

New York-style pizzeria Pizza Lobo in Logan Square houses a 4,000 square foot patio where patrons can find a tight selection of pies, starters, and salads. It’s helmed by former Bad Hunter chef Dan Snowden and Heisler Hospitality (Sportsman’s Club), and also operates a carryout window on Sacramento Avenue. This was an outgrowth of a pizza operation that started inside Lone Wolf, Heisler’s West Loop bar.

The Leavitt Street Inn & Tavern

This Bucktown tavern, run by two longtime neighborhood residents, is virtually a showroom for Chicago-area breweries and distilleries: there’s always something local on tap. The food is typical pub fare, but for guests who don’t feel like going home, there are three guestrooms upstairs.

Kennedy Rooftop

A rooftop patio bar. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The year-old rooftop bar at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Wicker Park provides views of, yes, the Kennedy Expressway, but also the entire downtown skyline. There’s food, drinks, lounge chairs, TVs, a retractable roof in case it rains, and a fire pit in case it gets cold: everything anyone could possibly need.

A rooftop patio bar. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Cebu

This family-run Filipino restaurant not only has superb lumpia, halo-halo, and Cebuano-style pancit, it’s also got a tranquil back patio on which to enjoy them.

The Perch Kitchen and Tap

The Perch, a year-old brewpub in Wicker Park, has not just food (from 4 Star Restaurant Group) and beer (from Finch Beer Co.), and a dog-friendly patio, it also has a sculpture garden, courtesy of landlord and neighbor Davara Fine Art.

Pizza Friendly Pizza

Powered by recipes from Noah Sandoval, the chef of Michelin-starred Oriole, 16” on Center opened a Sicilian pizzeria next to the Empty Bottle, its name an echo of the Bottle’s famous slogan “Music Friendly Dancing.” In addition to pies, there’s salad, breadsticks, and the option of a $25 meal for two for takeout or consumption on the petite alley patio.

Recess

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The management of Recess in the West Loop boasts that it has the city’s largest patio. While this remains unverified, it is true that Recess has enough space for ample social distancing at several different levels, with artificial turf and without. There are also frozen cocktails and nice sunset views.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Aba

Lettuce Entertain You’s Aba in the West Loop restaurant, has one of the loveliest rooftop patios in the city where diners can lounge and eat their way through CJ Jacobson’s Mediterranean/Middle Eastern menu, particularly the stracciatella with marinated tomatoes.

Cabra

Perched atop the Hoxton Hotel, Stephanie Izard’s project, which made Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list, serves both brunch and dinner inspired by the cuisine of Peru: ceviche, tiradito, and more.

Osito's Tap

Mixologist Denisse Soto has been given the full range of spirits available at Moreno’s Liquors, where Osito’s is housed, speakeasy-style, to create cocktails that conjure the flavors and feel of Mexico City, right in the heart of Little Village. There’s also an extensive craft beer selection, and Moreno’s boasts the Midwest’s largest collection of tequila.

Related Maps

The Duck Inn

The Duck Inn Patio Duck Inn

Located on a quiet corner in Bridgeport near the Chicago River, the Duck Inn feels much farther away from downtown than it actually is, especially out on the back patio. Chef Kevin Hickey’s menu ranges from the simple — a classic Chicago-style duck-fat hot dog — to the spectacular — a full rotisserie duck.

The Duck Inn Patio Duck Inn

Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream

The name of this spot tucked in next to Maria’s Package Goods and Community Bar pretty much says it all. The pizza, which comes in tavern- and Sicilian-style, is from Eat Free; the fried chicken from Kimski chef Won Kim; and the ice cream pops from Pretty Cool Ice Cream.

The Woodlawn

This restaurant, cafe, and event space in Chatham also has a rooftop patio that seats 10 socially-distanced people. The menu features salads, sandwiches, and chicken and fish, both jerk and fried.

Open Outcry Brewing Company

Beverly brewpub Open Outcry opened its rooftop beer garden two years ago. Guests can enjoy wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and, of course, beer.

One Eleven Food Hall

Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

This Pullman food hall and business incubator features the tastes of the South Side: Majani Soulful Vegan Cuisine, AndySunflower Cafe, and Lexington Betty Smokehouse. Take lunch out on the patio and take in the sights of this former company town.

Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Related Maps