clock menu more-arrow no yes
The Violet Hour
The Violet Hour
Facebook

10 of the Best Chicago Cocktail Bars By Neighborhood

View as Map
The Violet Hour
| Facebook

Whether you're in Pilsen or Evanston, a fine cocktail bar is just around the corner. Chicagoans love a good drink so it's only fitting that there are lots of places happy to oblige. The following spots, categorized by neighborhood, are some of the best in town and you'll never have to travel too far again for a quality Manhattan or martini with this handy map.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Wicker Park: The Violet Hour

Copy Link
1520 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1500
Visit Website
The bar responsible for jump-starting Chicago’s craft cocktail scene hasn’t missed a beat over the years. It remains one of the city’s most innovative spots and the line to get in is usually long as patrons seek a dark escape from the bustle of Wicker Park. The overwhelming menu offers just about something for everyone but if you need help deciding, the knowledgeable mixologists are more than happy to help.
Violet Hour

2. Logan Square: Scofflaw

Copy Link
3201 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-9700
Visit Website
There’s no shortage of good cocktail bars in Logan Square so it takes something really special to stand out. Danny Shapiro has created a gin-focused lounge that somehow feels high end—one half of the space resembles a Victorian living room—and like a neighborhood spot at the same time. Best of all, most of the food and drinks are in the $8 range making it an affordable outing that won’t break the bank.
Marc Much

3. Streeterville: GreenRiver

Copy Link
259 E Erie St Fl 18
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0101
Visit Website
The swanky new rooftop bar from Danny Meyer and the team behind New York’s The Dead Rabbit has quickly become of the city’s hottest spots. Head bartender Julia Momose, an Aviary vet, is crafting cocktails inspired by legendary Irish-Americans who helped shape Chicago. They're organized by the raw materials used in distillation while former Celeste chef Aaron Lirette is dishing out "honest Midwestern food” with twists. Add an outside terrace with a gorgeous view of the downtown and you’ve got one of the year’s best openings.

4. The Barrelhouse Flat

Copy Link
2624 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60614
(773) 857-0421
Visit Website
Stephen Cole’s cocktail temple boasts one of the most impressive drink menus in all of Chicago. Whether you want a classic Manhattan or fancy an original creation, the extensive list has it covered. There's everything from strong whiskey, gin and rum concoctions to daiquiris and punch bowls along with bar snacks like popcorn and chicken wings. It’s all set inside a vintage two-story space that includes a casual saloon downstairs and a more richly-furnished, upscale speakeasy on the second floor.

5. Pilsen: Punch House

Copy Link
1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851
Visit Website
The Longman & Eagle team’s remarkable restoration of historic Thalia Hall also included the opening of a subterranean 70’s-style cocktail bar. As the name suggests, the menu is heavy on classic and contemporary punches so bring some friends along to share a carafe or bowl. Jared Wentworth complements the drinks with bar snacks and a fantastic Juicy Lucy that ranks among the top burgers in town.
Marc Much

6. Evanston: Ward Eight

Copy Link
631 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 420-7353
Visit Website
Proving that the far North Side can make a good drink as well, Ward Eight is a neighborhood gem from two alums of the late, popular Andersonville bar In Fine Spirits. The expertly-curated drink list is diverse and reasonably-priced while the cozy, relaxed atmosphere makes it a great spot for either a date night or a happy hour.
Barry Brecheisen

7. West Town: Bar Deville

Copy Link
701 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 929-2349
Visit Website
The party never stops at Bar Deville, the popular, hipster West Town club. You’ll find everything from a pool table to DJ-fueled dance floor blasting loud jams. Head bartender Brad Bolt keeps things straight and simple with his version of classics that include a sazerac, sidecar, mezcal margarita and more. Don’t forget to bring some bills either; it’s cash only.
Heisler Hospitality

8. Humboldt Park: California Clipper

Copy Link
1002 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 384-2547
Visit Website
Brendan Sodikoff revived the classic Humboldt Park dive bar last year and added an extensive cocktail list. The multi-page menu features a wide variety of spirits that even includes sweet and creamy ice cream drinks and boozy shaved ice. Not much else has changed about the space, which still has a vintage jukebox and the same laid-back vibe that's made it a neighborhood favorite for decades.
Kari Skaflen/Hogsalt

9. River North: Sable Kitchen & Bar

Copy Link
505 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 755-9704
Visit Website
The competition is fierce in River North when it comes to a stiff drink but Sable manages to come out on top thanks to an impressive menu emphasizing sherries, ports and vermouths. You can’t go wrong with the crowd favorite War of the Roses, a refreshing mix of Pimm’s, gin, lime, elderflower, mint and Peychaud’s bitters or one of the Spanish gin & tonics. Pair it with small bites like roasted bone marrow and poutine and you’ve got the perfect post-work spot.

10. West Loop: The Aviary

Copy Link
955 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-0868
Visit Website
It should come as no surprise that a cocktail lounge from Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas is a cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind concept. The highly-acclaimed spot has been lauded as one of the best bars in the world for its fusion of molecular gastronomy and mixology. The balanced, well-crafted drinks are works of science and art that justify the costs. You won’t find an experience anywhere else quite like it.
Barry Brecheisen

Loading comments...

1. Wicker Park: The Violet Hour

1520 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Violet Hour
The bar responsible for jump-starting Chicago’s craft cocktail scene hasn’t missed a beat over the years. It remains one of the city’s most innovative spots and the line to get in is usually long as patrons seek a dark escape from the bustle of Wicker Park. The overwhelming menu offers just about something for everyone but if you need help deciding, the knowledgeable mixologists are more than happy to help.
1520 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

2. Logan Square: Scofflaw

3201 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Marc Much
There’s no shortage of good cocktail bars in Logan Square so it takes something really special to stand out. Danny Shapiro has created a gin-focused lounge that somehow feels high end—one half of the space resembles a Victorian living room—and like a neighborhood spot at the same time. Best of all, most of the food and drinks are in the $8 range making it an affordable outing that won’t break the bank.
3201 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Streeterville: GreenRiver

259 E Erie St Fl 18, Chicago, IL 60611
The swanky new rooftop bar from Danny Meyer and the team behind New York’s The Dead Rabbit has quickly become of the city’s hottest spots. Head bartender Julia Momose, an Aviary vet, is crafting cocktails inspired by legendary Irish-Americans who helped shape Chicago. They're organized by the raw materials used in distillation while former Celeste chef Aaron Lirette is dishing out "honest Midwestern food” with twists. Add an outside terrace with a gorgeous view of the downtown and you’ve got one of the year’s best openings.
259 E Erie St Fl 18
Chicago, IL 60611

4. The Barrelhouse Flat

2624 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, 60614
Stephen Cole’s cocktail temple boasts one of the most impressive drink menus in all of Chicago. Whether you want a classic Manhattan or fancy an original creation, the extensive list has it covered. There's everything from strong whiskey, gin and rum concoctions to daiquiris and punch bowls along with bar snacks like popcorn and chicken wings. It’s all set inside a vintage two-story space that includes a casual saloon downstairs and a more richly-furnished, upscale speakeasy on the second floor.
2624 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60614

5. Pilsen: Punch House

1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Marc Much
The Longman & Eagle team’s remarkable restoration of historic Thalia Hall also included the opening of a subterranean 70’s-style cocktail bar. As the name suggests, the menu is heavy on classic and contemporary punches so bring some friends along to share a carafe or bowl. Jared Wentworth complements the drinks with bar snacks and a fantastic Juicy Lucy that ranks among the top burgers in town.
1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

6. Evanston: Ward Eight

631 Howard St, Evanston, IL 60202
Barry Brecheisen
Proving that the far North Side can make a good drink as well, Ward Eight is a neighborhood gem from two alums of the late, popular Andersonville bar In Fine Spirits. The expertly-curated drink list is diverse and reasonably-priced while the cozy, relaxed atmosphere makes it a great spot for either a date night or a happy hour.
631 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202

7. West Town: Bar Deville

701 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Heisler Hospitality
The party never stops at Bar Deville, the popular, hipster West Town club. You’ll find everything from a pool table to DJ-fueled dance floor blasting loud jams. Head bartender Brad Bolt keeps things straight and simple with his version of classics that include a sazerac, sidecar, mezcal margarita and more. Don’t forget to bring some bills either; it’s cash only.
701 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Humboldt Park: California Clipper

1002 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Kari Skaflen/Hogsalt
Brendan Sodikoff revived the classic Humboldt Park dive bar last year and added an extensive cocktail list. The multi-page menu features a wide variety of spirits that even includes sweet and creamy ice cream drinks and boozy shaved ice. Not much else has changed about the space, which still has a vintage jukebox and the same laid-back vibe that's made it a neighborhood favorite for decades.
1002 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

9. River North: Sable Kitchen & Bar

505 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
The competition is fierce in River North when it comes to a stiff drink but Sable manages to come out on top thanks to an impressive menu emphasizing sherries, ports and vermouths. You can’t go wrong with the crowd favorite War of the Roses, a refreshing mix of Pimm’s, gin, lime, elderflower, mint and Peychaud’s bitters or one of the Spanish gin & tonics. Pair it with small bites like roasted bone marrow and poutine and you’ve got the perfect post-work spot.
505 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654

10. West Loop: The Aviary

955 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Barry Brecheisen
It should come as no surprise that a cocktail lounge from Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas is a cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind concept. The highly-acclaimed spot has been lauded as one of the best bars in the world for its fusion of molecular gastronomy and mixology. The balanced, well-crafted drinks are works of science and art that justify the costs. You won’t find an experience anywhere else quite like it.
955 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps