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A wooden table with four wine bottles atop.
Natural wine selections on offer at Smyth.
Smyth [Official Photo]

18 Top Places to Drink Natural Wine in Chicago

The standout restaurants and bars to find unadulterated wine

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Natural wine selections on offer at Smyth.
| Smyth [Official Photo]

Though it’s somewhat of a buzzword, the term natural wine doesn’t carry a specific definition. Instead, it references a general wine category that typically involves less intervention from the winemaker — so, unadulterated fermented grape juice — during the winemaking process. These wines can span the spectrum of flavors from funky and sour to elegant and nuanced.

Originating in Parisian bistros, natural wine is everywhere today, manifesting in an array of hues from burnt orange to pale purple. While Chicago may not have any specific natural wine bistros, many of the city’s most forward-thinking restaurants and bars embrace this style, with more than half of their list devoted to “naked” wines. Below, some great options to test the natural wine waters.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Superkhana International

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3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9028
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At least half of the wines at Logan Square’s modern Indian Superkhana International lean natural. General manager and beverage director Colleen Malone heads up the list here with a general focus on sparkling wines, and she suggests trying Meinklang Foam Somlo ($48) from Hungary: “Meinklang is one of the most deeply devoted [producers] to biodynamic—the [wine’s] label with the cow in front is an indication of how all of the practices work together including pigs running around in the vineyard.”

The bar and dining room in a modern Indian restaurant
Superkhana’s bar and dining room
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

2. Young American

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2545 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 687-8385
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A full 100 percent of the wines at hip Logan Square drinking den Young American are either low-intervention and/or biodynamic. Co-owner and sommelier Jeff Donahue heads up the picks, and he suggests trying Flat Brim Wines Giant Sky ($9/$30), a rose blend of merlot and primitivo grapes. 

3. Lula Cafe

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2537 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-9554
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Chef Jason Hammel’s beloved Lula Café in Logan Square has offered natural wine for the last decade. Current general manager and wine director Dennis Webber has organized the list for the last three years, and he says that it changes seasonally along with Hammel’s cuisine. Per Webber, “A majority of our wines are natural, but I’d say the vibe here is ‘natural not natty.’ A lot of our natural wine is coming from old European producers who have been growing grapes without chemicals and vinifying with minimal intervention for generations.” He advises patrons to try Absentee Winery NMWD Cairignan 2017 ($64) from California.

The bar at Lula Cafe in Logan Square.
Lula Cafe’s bar has offered natural wines for the last 10 years.
Lula Cafe [Official Photo]

4. Good Fortune

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2528 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 666-5238
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About 95 percent of the wines on offer at Good Fortune — Logan Square’s newish new American eatery— “are considered low intervention and/or certified biodynamic and organic,” explains wine director Steven Mendivil. He suggests trying Eric Texier, St. Julien en St. Alban ($55) from France, stating that “Eric’s focus is purity, using different farming practices including Fukuoka, named after a celebrated Japanese farmer famous for no-till, no-herbicide practices, and rejects the use of copper and sulfur treatments.”

5. Daisies

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2523 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-1671
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“Our wine program at Daisies is predominantly composed of natural wines,” asserts bar director and assistant manager Kevin Murphy. “We like to highlight small producers with unique visions as well.” Those who venture to the seasonal Logan Square restaurant can expect more than half the wine list to lean in this direction. Try Red Tail Ridge from Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes of New York, specifically the skin-contact Miscreant Gewurztraminer-Chardonnay blend ($11/$49).

A restaurant bar with wooden bar stools and a rear brick wall.
The bar at Daisies
Neil Burger

6. Galit

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2429 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 360-8755
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Lincoln Park’s hot Middle Eastern addition Galit is into natural wine. Executive chef Zach Engel organizes his own wine list, and he sources bottles from the same parts of the world that drive his menu: Greece, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine. Says Engel, “The natural wine movement is still defining itself, but low-intervention production and farming practices align with our ingredient driven food menu.” Here, about half of the wines are organic or biodynamic, and Engel suggests trying Smockshop Band Red Wine #1 ($86).

The bar in a modern Israeli restaurant
Galit’s bar has plenty of natural wine
Galit/Sandy Noto [Official Photo]

7. Café Cancale

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1576 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 904-1121
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One Off’s breezy Wicker Park French bistro Cafe Cancale pours mainly French vino, and partner and wine steward Eduard Seitan helms the list. At least two-thirds of his selections are organic or biodynamic, and he suggests trying Sébastien Riffault Les Quarterons 2015 ($79), from France. “This is the most controversial wine on the list because it is not what you expect when you order sauvignon blanc. It is full-bodied, lush, juicy and rich, and comes from the most natural wine producer in the Sancerre area of France.”

8. Mott St

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1401 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-9977
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Wicker Park’s neo-Asian number Mott St was an early adopter of the movement, offering natural wines starting in 2013. Beverage director Matt Shores is responsible for the wine list, of which 60 percent is natural. He suggests trying Pulpe Fiction Muscadet ($14/$56) from France: “It has a fun and funky nose, with honeydew on the palate and crisp acidity on the finish.”

9. Clever Rabbit

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2015 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 697-8711
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Owner Chris Haisma commands wine over at his vegetable-focused spot, Clever Rabbit, in Wicker Park. Most of the list here is comprised of organic or biodynamic selections, and he suggests trying California-based My Favorite Neighbor’s cabernet ($15/$125).

10. Café Marie-Jeanne

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1001 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 904-7660
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Almost all of the wines on the list at bistro staple Cafe Marie-Jeanne in Humboldt Park are natural. Director of wine and beverage Jamie McLennan heads up the picks here, typically offering around 20 wines by the glass that are seasonally-focused, which cover a broad range of styles with the commonality that they’re almost all from producers that make natural bottlings. The additional bottle list is also around 20 wines, all of which are natural. McLennan suggests trying Christian Ducroux Prologue Gamay 2018 ($60) from France.

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11. Marisol

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205 E Pearson St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 799-3599
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More than half of the wines on offer at chef Jason Hammel’s new American eatery Marisol within the Museum of Contemporary Art in Streeterville lean natural. General manager Simon Kim organizes the list, and he suggests trying Mas Oller Blau Nit, Garnacha-Syrah 2018 ($13/$50) from Spain: “At first it is meticulous and poised, with a panoply of ripe dark fruits, espresso, subdued clove, but finishes with a playful and rustic quality — fresh cedar, a slight oceanic salinity, and chalky tannin.”

12. All Together Now

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2119 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 661-1599
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All the wines at Ukrainian Village’s hip bistro and market All Together Now are natural, selected by partner Erin Carlman Weber and wine director Jeremy Patenaude. They suggest trying sulfur-free Julien Brocard Chablis 7eme 2017 ($44). 

The interior of a wine shop and bar
All Together Now has a great wine selection.
Patsy McEnroe Photography/All Together Now [Official Photo]

13. WoodWind

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259 E Erie St 18th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 283-4270
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WoodWind — Streeterville’s freshly-minted new American boîte 18 floors up — is embracing low-intervention wines, with at least half the list involving natural producers. Wine director Greg Hartofelis suggests trying Château de Saint Cosme Les Deux Albions ($17/$68), a Grenache-based blend: “Being one of the producers on my list that are fully certified bio-dynamic since 2010, they allow the wines to ferment via spontaneous fermentation, meaning they wait for the ambient yeasts to take control therefore they don’t use commercial yeast strains.”

14. Pops for Champagne

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601 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 266-7677
Visit Website

Just because Pops is a bubbles bar doesn’t mean that the River North Champagne lounge doesn’t offer natural wines. Wine director Michael Seward helms the grower-focused list, with about one quarter of the wines veering natural. He suggests trying Domaine Tillardon, Pét-Nat Rosé 2018 ($62): “This vineyard is organically farmed since the beginning, with vines up to 80 years old. Farmed by horse and plow in a beautiful vineyard in Chenas, France, this sparkling wine is soft and balanced without the typical funk that can be found in most normal pét-nats.”

15. Aba

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302 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607
(773) 645-1400
Visit Website

More than half of the wines at Middle Eastern-inspired Aba in River North embrace natural practices. Alex Augustine and Nate Redner is behind the list, which he organizes by New World, Old World, and Ancient Civilization wines. He suggests trying Minimus Pet Nat Rosé 2018 ($85), made from Dolcetto grapes planted in organically and biodynamically-managed land in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Says Augustine, “This wine uses the ancestral sparkling method where fermentation occurs in the bottle forcing natural carbonation into the wine. [It’s] bubbly and fresh, with notes of grapefruit zest, ripe red raspberry and a rich, vinous character.”

16. Smyth

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177 N Ada St #101
Chicago, IL 60607
(773) 913-3773
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Over at chef John Shield’s fine dining number Smyth, sommelier Richie Ribando says that, “[m]ost of the producers that we showcase make wine naturally as far as using native yeasts to ferment/spontaneous fermentation.” And he’s especially keen on Movia’s Puro ($105): “Movia is a biodynamically-farming natural wine producer out of north-east Italy/Slovenia. If you haven’t seen it before, you have to disgorge the bottle of wine yourself.”

The exterior of a fine dining restaurant in the West Loop with lots of ivy
Outside Smyth and the Loyalist
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

17. Bad Hunter

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802 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 265-1745
Visit Website

Management at vegetable-loving Bad Hunter in the West Loop adores natural wine. Wine director Rebecca Schliff suggests trying A.D. Beckham Amphora Riesling from Oregon ($65). Winemaker Andrew Beckham makes his own Amphora (clay vessel for fermenting and aging wine), and also supplies them to many other local winemakers,” she says. “His amphora-aged riesling is bone dry, with beautiful floral and citrus aromatics.

18. Elske

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1350 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-1314
Visit Website

“We love our natural wines!” said Elske co-owner Anna Posey. All of her minimalist, Nordic-inspired eatery’s bottles lean toward low or no intervention, meaning that farming practices are organic or biodynamic, wines are made with minimal use of sulfur, and respect to the earth. Here, Marie Cheslik runs the wine selections, and she suggests trying Ribolla Gialla blend Maloof Wines’ Scrambled Sticks ($53) from Oregon. “[It’s] a great gateway drug for people who have never had orange wine before.”

The interior of a fine dining restaurant with a small bar.
Elske’s bar and dining room offers many natural wines.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

1. Superkhana International

3059 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
The bar and dining room in a modern Indian restaurant
Superkhana’s bar and dining room
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

At least half of the wines at Logan Square’s modern Indian Superkhana International lean natural. General manager and beverage director Colleen Malone heads up the list here with a general focus on sparkling wines, and she suggests trying Meinklang Foam Somlo ($48) from Hungary: “Meinklang is one of the most deeply devoted [producers] to biodynamic—the [wine’s] label with the cow in front is an indication of how all of the practices work together including pigs running around in the vineyard.”

3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

2. Young American

2545 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

A full 100 percent of the wines at hip Logan Square drinking den Young American are either low-intervention and/or biodynamic. Co-owner and sommelier Jeff Donahue heads up the picks, and he suggests trying Flat Brim Wines Giant Sky ($9/$30), a rose blend of merlot and primitivo grapes. 

2545 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Lula Cafe

2537 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
The bar at Lula Cafe in Logan Square.
Lula Cafe’s bar has offered natural wines for the last 10 years.
Lula Cafe [Official Photo]

Chef Jason Hammel’s beloved Lula Café in Logan Square has offered natural wine for the last decade. Current general manager and wine director Dennis Webber has organized the list for the last three years, and he says that it changes seasonally along with Hammel’s cuisine. Per Webber, “A majority of our wines are natural, but I’d say the vibe here is ‘natural not natty.’ A lot of our natural wine is coming from old European producers who have been growing grapes without chemicals and vinifying with minimal intervention for generations.” He advises patrons to try Absentee Winery NMWD Cairignan 2017 ($64) from California.

2537 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

4. Good Fortune

2528 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

About 95 percent of the wines on offer at Good Fortune — Logan Square’s newish new American eatery— “are considered low intervention and/or certified biodynamic and organic,” explains wine director Steven Mendivil. He suggests trying Eric Texier, St. Julien en St. Alban ($55) from France, stating that “Eric’s focus is purity, using different farming practices including Fukuoka, named after a celebrated Japanese farmer famous for no-till, no-herbicide practices, and rejects the use of copper and sulfur treatments.”

2528 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. Daisies

2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A restaurant bar with wooden bar stools and a rear brick wall.
The bar at Daisies
Neil Burger

“Our wine program at Daisies is predominantly composed of natural wines,” asserts bar director and assistant manager Kevin Murphy. “We like to highlight small producers with unique visions as well.” Those who venture to the seasonal Logan Square restaurant can expect more than half the wine list to lean in this direction. Try Red Tail Ridge from Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes of New York, specifically the skin-contact Miscreant Gewurztraminer-Chardonnay blend ($11/$49).

2523 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

6. Galit

2429 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
The bar in a modern Israeli restaurant
Galit’s bar has plenty of natural wine
Galit/Sandy Noto [Official Photo]

Lincoln Park’s hot Middle Eastern addition Galit is into natural wine. Executive chef Zach Engel organizes his own wine list, and he sources bottles from the same parts of the world that drive his menu: Greece, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine. Says Engel, “The natural wine movement is still defining itself, but low-intervention production and farming practices align with our ingredient driven food menu.” Here, about half of the wines are organic or biodynamic, and Engel suggests trying Smockshop Band Red Wine #1 ($86).

2429 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

7. Café Cancale

1576 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

One Off’s breezy Wicker Park French bistro Cafe Cancale pours mainly French vino, and partner and wine steward Eduard Seitan helms the list. At least two-thirds of his selections are organic or biodynamic, and he suggests trying Sébastien Riffault Les Quarterons 2015 ($79), from France. “This is the most controversial wine on the list because it is not what you expect when you order sauvignon blanc. It is full-bodied, lush, juicy and rich, and comes from the most natural wine producer in the Sancerre area of France.”

1576 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Mott St

1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Wicker Park’s neo-Asian number Mott St was an early adopter of the movement, offering natural wines starting in 2013. Beverage director Matt Shores is responsible for the wine list, of which 60 percent is natural. He suggests trying Pulpe Fiction Muscadet ($14/$56) from France: “It has a fun and funky nose, with honeydew on the palate and crisp acidity on the finish.”

1401 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

9. Clever Rabbit

2015 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

Owner Chris Haisma commands wine over at his vegetable-focused spot, Clever Rabbit, in Wicker Park. Most of the list here is comprised of organic or biodynamic selections, and he suggests trying California-based My Favorite Neighbor’s cabernet ($15/$125).

2015 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

10. Café Marie-Jeanne

1001 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Almost all of the wines on the list at bistro staple Cafe Marie-Jeanne in Humboldt Park are natural. Director of wine and beverage Jamie McLennan heads up the picks here, typically offering around 20 wines by the glass that are seasonally-focused, which cover a broad range of styles with the commonality that they’re almost all from producers that make natural bottlings. The additional bottle list is also around 20 wines, all of which are natural. McLennan suggests trying Christian Ducroux Prologue Gamay 2018 ($60) from France.

1001 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

11. Marisol

205 E Pearson St, Chicago, IL 60611

More than half of the wines on offer at chef Jason Hammel’s new American eatery Marisol within the Museum of Contemporary Art in Streeterville lean natural. General manager Simon Kim organizes the list, and he suggests trying Mas Oller Blau Nit, Garnacha-Syrah 2018 ($13/$50) from Spain: “At first it is meticulous and poised, with a panoply of ripe dark fruits, espresso, subdued clove, but finishes with a playful and rustic quality — fresh cedar, a slight oceanic salinity, and chalky tannin.”

205 E Pearson St
Chicago, IL 60611

12. All Together Now

2119 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
The interior of a wine shop and bar
All Together Now has a great wine selection.
Patsy McEnroe Photography/All Together Now [Official Photo]

All the wines at Ukrainian Village’s hip bistro and market All Together Now are natural, selected by partner Erin Carlman Weber and wine director Jeremy Patenaude. They suggest trying sulfur-free Julien Brocard Chablis 7eme 2017 ($44). 

2119 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

13. WoodWind

259 E Erie St 18th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611

WoodWind — Streeterville’s freshly-minted new American boîte 18 floors up — is embracing low-intervention wines, with at least half the list involving natural producers. Wine director Greg Hartofelis suggests trying Château de Saint Cosme Les Deux Albions ($17/$68), a Grenache-based blend: “Being one of the producers on my list that are fully certified bio-dynamic since 2010, they allow the wines to ferment via spontaneous fermentation, meaning they wait for the ambient yeasts to take control therefore they don’t use commercial yeast strains.”

259 E Erie St 18th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

14. Pops for Champagne

601 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

Just because Pops is a bubbles bar doesn’t mean that the River North Champagne lounge doesn’t offer natural wines. Wine director Michael Seward helms the grower-focused list, with about one quarter of the wines veering natural. He suggests trying Domaine Tillardon, Pét-Nat Rosé 2018 ($62): “This vineyard is organically farmed since the beginning, with vines up to 80 years old. Farmed by horse and plow in a beautiful vineyard in Chenas, France, this sparkling wine is soft and balanced without the typical funk that can be found in most normal pét-nats.”

601 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610

15. Aba

302 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607

More than half of the wines at Middle Eastern-inspired Aba in River North embrace natural practices. Alex Augustine and Nate Redner is behind the list, which he organizes by New World, Old World, and Ancient Civilization wines. He suggests trying Minimus Pet Nat Rosé 2018 ($85), made from Dolcetto grapes planted in organically and biodynamically-managed land in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Says Augustine, “This wine uses the ancestral sparkling method where fermentation occurs in the bottle forcing natural carbonation into the wine. [It’s] bubbly and fresh, with notes of grapefruit zest, ripe red raspberry and a rich, vinous character.”

302 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607

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16. Smyth

177 N Ada St #101, Chicago, IL 60607
The exterior of a fine dining restaurant in the West Loop with lots of ivy
Outside Smyth and the Loyalist
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Over at chef John Shield’s fine dining number Smyth, sommelier Richie Ribando says that, “[m]ost of the producers that we showcase make wine naturally as far as using native yeasts to ferment/spontaneous fermentation.” And he’s especially keen on Movia’s Puro ($105): “Movia is a biodynamically-farming natural wine producer out of north-east Italy/Slovenia. If you haven’t seen it before, you have to disgorge the bottle of wine yourself.”

177 N Ada St #101
Chicago, IL 60607

17. Bad Hunter

802 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Management at vegetable-loving Bad Hunter in the West Loop adores natural wine. Wine director Rebecca Schliff suggests trying A.D. Beckham Amphora Riesling from Oregon ($65). Winemaker Andrew Beckham makes his own Amphora (clay vessel for fermenting and aging wine), and also supplies them to many other local winemakers,” she says. “His amphora-aged riesling is bone dry, with beautiful floral and citrus aromatics.

802 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

18. Elske

1350 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
The interior of a fine dining restaurant with a small bar.
Elske’s bar and dining room offers many natural wines.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

“We love our natural wines!” said Elske co-owner Anna Posey. All of her minimalist, Nordic-inspired eatery’s bottles lean toward low or no intervention, meaning that farming practices are organic or biodynamic, wines are made with minimal use of sulfur, and respect to the earth. Here, Marie Cheslik runs the wine selections, and she suggests trying Ribolla Gialla blend Maloof Wines’ Scrambled Sticks ($53) from Oregon. “[It’s] a great gateway drug for people who have never had orange wine before.”

1350 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps