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Where to Drink Cocktails Right Now in Chicago

Find fun beer gardens, fancy to-go cocktails, and more

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Chicago’s summertime vibes are in full effect as the city enjoys some pre-pandemic fun with restriction loosening around the state. Bars are enjoying big business on weekends, and the city have plenty of choices for cocktails, beer, and wine.

Here, Eater Chicago highlights new bars and classics that have made changes to attract customers. While bars are welcoming customers back indoors, understand that ownership have the right to keep mask requirements and social distancing to ensure staff feels safe.

State and local officials have lifted a variety of COVID-19 restrictions, including allowing restaurant management to waive mask requirements for fully vaccinated customers. Additionally, fully vaccinated guests don’t count against capacity limits. As of April 29, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 50 percent maximum capacity per room, or 100 people — whichever is fewer. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kumiko

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630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 285-2912
Visit Website

Julia Momose’s drive helped ensure state lawmakers allowed bars to sell to-go cocktails, which isn’t a small task. The star bartender, and her partners at Kumiko, continue to sell to-go drinks that are expertly mixed and balanced with a lean toward Japanese flavors and spirits. Momose is trying to bring Kumiko’s unique experience home and even offers craft ice to those who want to go the extra mile. As the staff gears up to reopen for indoor service, they still serve up patio drinks from a pickup window.

2. Nobu Hotel Chicago

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155 N Peoria St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 779-8888
Visit Website

The much-hyped Japanese restaurant from Robert De Niro has finally arrived in West Loop after eight years. Chicagoans aren’t sure they care, but upstairs, the rooftop has a lovely view of the city, and staff seem dedicated to social distancing off Randolph Restaurant Row. A winter strategy hasn’t been shared, so enjoy it before the ice. Reservations at the link.

A rooftop bar Nobu [Official Photo]

3. La Vaca Margarita Bar

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1160 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 829-1147
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The busiest patio in Pilsen (which also has a Lincoln Park location), serves plenty of margaritas inside a boisterous space that draws younger customers. Expect to wait in lines on weekends.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

4. Bureau Bar and Restaurant

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2115 S State St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 877-5122
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Kenny Johnson has brought his Little Italy bar to the South Loop. This is a full-service restaurant with a popular weekend brunch on a sidewalk patio. There’s also large windows that allow customers to seek cover if needed. Reservations are available via Tock.

Leslie McConnell/Eater Chicago

5. Osito's Tap

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2553 S Ridgeway Ave
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 277-8117
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Osito’s, which opened in 2019, is geared for the rain with tent and heaters for outdoor service. Find an array of fancy liquors like mezcal and tequila, and a great selection of beer. Osito’s also sells food, including tacos. Reservations via OpenTable. They have offered to-go cocktails and growlers.

A smoked old fashioned.
Osito’s Tap has wonderful cocktails.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

6. Mesler Kitchen | Bar | Lounge

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1401 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 289-1005
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Inside the Sophy Hotel, Mesler Kitchen has become a community meeting space along busy 53rd Street in Hyde Park. This isn’t a normal hotel bar. It’s well designed and comfortable. A covered sidewalk patio provides outdoor space and two cocktails are available to go. Reservations via Resy.

Cocktails from Mesler.
SOPHY [Official Photo]

7. Billy Sunday

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3143 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-2485
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This Logan Square classic, named after a former White Sox player who helped lead the temperance movement, is more relevant than ever. Find a carefully curated list of creative cocktail and ready-to-go refreshing bottled options. The dark and intimate bar is great for spirit hunters or special dates.

A cocktail shaker’s coffee contents poured into a glass sitting on a bar.
Billy Sunday’s Cafe Ahumado.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

8. Pilsen Yards

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1163 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 243-2410
Visit Website

Pilsen Yards is a home run as the bar owners revamped their space during the pandemic by adding a patio with a heated floor and a remodel. Serious cocktail fans are still waiting for the speakeasy-style cocktail bar inside the space. The Alderman, the bar inside the bar, will open later this summer. But for group hangs, Pilsen Yards may be the gold standard along 18th Street.

A large outdoor patio space with tables and chairs.
Pilsen Yards’ patio is prime.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

9. Pilot Project Brewing

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2140 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 270-5995
Visit Website

Pilot Project arrived in Logan Square and filled a niche for both bar goers and the beer industry. The massive patio and well-lit indoor space attracted crowds with a comfy spot to drink the fresh beer, coffee, and kombucha made on premises. For the beer industry, Pilot Project gave newish brewers an opportunity, as the unique set up is a low-cost way for beer makers to pursue their craft. There are five brewers, including Azadi and Brewer’s Kitchen, on tap currently.

A well lit industrial looking bar space.
Pilot Project is a big deal in Logan Square.
Pilot Project Brewing [Official Photo]

10. Life on Marz Community Club

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1950 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Marz Community Brewing has brought its South Side suds from Bridgeport to the border of Bucktown and Logan Square. This is a mini version of Marz’s headquarters, with a zany space for friends to gather and machinate. There’s a tight beer list, CBD seltzers, and more. For snacks, find hot dogs and Polish sausages, which just amps the space’s Chicago credibility.

Life on Marz is AOK in Bucktown.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

11. Esmeralda's lounge

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2539 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 479-7121
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Esmeralda’s has livened up Humboldt Park’s Paseo Boricua with sidewalk seating during the pandemic. The space loosely channels those Puerto Rican vibes by billing itself as a “tiki inspired craft cocktail lounge” with Caribbean leanings. The space turns more into a club a night with DJs. It’s from Dino Vulpitta who owns Kings of Cups in Lincoln Park and Brando’s in South Loop.

12. Big Mini Putt Club

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1302 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 363-2369
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Will summer 2021 be the season of mini golf? The owners of Big Mini along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park hope so. They’ve brought a DIY ethos in creating a mini golf bar with a full cocktail list to enjoy while playing on a 9-hole course. The windows swing out to Milwaukee for plenty of air, and customers can order from Big & Littles, which is a few doors northwest.

A bar lounge with tons of light wood.
Big Mini in Wicker Park.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

13. Lirica

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1000 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(872) 710-5700
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Navy Pier has been a ghost town until recently with the arrival of Lirica, the new restaurant inside the tourist attraction off Lake Michigan. The views are stellar with a patio along the pier’s boardwalk, and the cocktails are refreshing and potent. This will make a good summer spot for people watching.

Lirica at Navy Pier
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

14. Crushed By Giants Brewing Company

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600 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 544-0322
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Crushed by Giants, from the owners of DryHop Brewing — a Lakeview brewpub — has made adjustments since debuting during the pandemic inside the second-floor space where Heaven on Seven stood. But as one of two breweries in Downtown Chicago, the space and beer merit second looks so customers can enjoy thin-crust pizza and light and refreshing beers.

A beer pint glass in front of beer taps.
Crushed by Giants
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

15. Ravinia Brewing Company

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2601 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 799-8050
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Logan Square is developing a reputation for beer, and Ravinia is the latest to bring their suds to the neighborhood. This taco brewpub is a comfy space with a large back patio. There’s a full cocktail and beer list giving patrons something for everyone.

Three glasses full of beer.
The beer at Ravinia.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

16. Verve Wine + Provisions

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2349 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 904-8536
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An anchor of the development on top of the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park, Verve is the Chicago location of the San Francisco restaurant with a New York retail shop. The focus is “anti-snob” service, where customers aren’t shunned for a lack of wine knowledge. Find wines by the glass and bottles, plus house cocktails.

The bar at Verve.
Verve Wine + Provisions/Anthony Tahlier

1. Kumiko

630 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661

Julia Momose’s drive helped ensure state lawmakers allowed bars to sell to-go cocktails, which isn’t a small task. The star bartender, and her partners at Kumiko, continue to sell to-go drinks that are expertly mixed and balanced with a lean toward Japanese flavors and spirits. Momose is trying to bring Kumiko’s unique experience home and even offers craft ice to those who want to go the extra mile. As the staff gears up to reopen for indoor service, they still serve up patio drinks from a pickup window.

630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

2. Nobu Hotel Chicago

155 N Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607
A rooftop bar Nobu [Official Photo]

The much-hyped Japanese restaurant from Robert De Niro has finally arrived in West Loop after eight years. Chicagoans aren’t sure they care, but upstairs, the rooftop has a lovely view of the city, and staff seem dedicated to social distancing off Randolph Restaurant Row. A winter strategy hasn’t been shared, so enjoy it before the ice. Reservations at the link.

155 N Peoria St
Chicago, IL 60607

3. La Vaca Margarita Bar

1160 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The busiest patio in Pilsen (which also has a Lincoln Park location), serves plenty of margaritas inside a boisterous space that draws younger customers. Expect to wait in lines on weekends.

1160 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

4. Bureau Bar and Restaurant

2115 S State St, Chicago, IL 60616
Leslie McConnell/Eater Chicago

Kenny Johnson has brought his Little Italy bar to the South Loop. This is a full-service restaurant with a popular weekend brunch on a sidewalk patio. There’s also large windows that allow customers to seek cover if needed. Reservations are available via Tock.

2115 S State St
Chicago, IL 60616

5. Osito's Tap

2553 S Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL 60623
A smoked old fashioned.
Osito’s Tap has wonderful cocktails.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Osito’s, which opened in 2019, is geared for the rain with tent and heaters for outdoor service. Find an array of fancy liquors like mezcal and tequila, and a great selection of beer. Osito’s also sells food, including tacos. Reservations via OpenTable. They have offered to-go cocktails and growlers.

2553 S Ridgeway Ave
Chicago, IL 60623

6. Mesler Kitchen | Bar | Lounge

1401 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615
Cocktails from Mesler.
SOPHY [Official Photo]

Inside the Sophy Hotel, Mesler Kitchen has become a community meeting space along busy 53rd Street in Hyde Park. This isn’t a normal hotel bar. It’s well designed and comfortable. A covered sidewalk patio provides outdoor space and two cocktails are available to go. Reservations via Resy.

1401 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615

7. Billy Sunday

3143 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
A cocktail shaker’s coffee contents poured into a glass sitting on a bar.
Billy Sunday’s Cafe Ahumado.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

This Logan Square classic, named after a former White Sox player who helped lead the temperance movement, is more relevant than ever. Find a carefully curated list of creative cocktail and ready-to-go refreshing bottled options. The dark and intimate bar is great for spirit hunters or special dates.

3143 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647

8. Pilsen Yards

1163 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
A large outdoor patio space with tables and chairs.
Pilsen Yards’ patio is prime.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Pilsen Yards is a home run as the bar owners revamped their space during the pandemic by adding a patio with a heated floor and a remodel. Serious cocktail fans are still waiting for the speakeasy-style cocktail bar inside the space. The Alderman, the bar inside the bar, will open later this summer. But for group hangs, Pilsen Yards may be the gold standard along 18th Street.

1163 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

9. Pilot Project Brewing

2140 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A well lit industrial looking bar space.
Pilot Project is a big deal in Logan Square.
Pilot Project Brewing [Official Photo]

Pilot Project arrived in Logan Square and filled a niche for both bar goers and the beer industry. The massive patio and well-lit indoor space attracted crowds with a comfy spot to drink the fresh beer, coffee, and kombucha made on premises. For the beer industry, Pilot Project gave newish brewers an opportunity, as the unique set up is a low-cost way for beer makers to pursue their craft. There are five brewers, including Azadi and Brewer’s Kitchen, on tap currently.

2140 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

10. Life on Marz Community Club

1950 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Life on Marz is AOK in Bucktown.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Marz Community Brewing has brought its South Side suds from Bridgeport to the border of Bucktown and Logan Square. This is a mini version of Marz’s headquarters, with a zany space for friends to gather and machinate. There’s a tight beer list, CBD seltzers, and more. For snacks, find hot dogs and Polish sausages, which just amps the space’s Chicago credibility.

1950 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

11. Esmeralda's lounge

2539 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

Esmeralda’s has livened up Humboldt Park’s Paseo Boricua with sidewalk seating during the pandemic. The space loosely channels those Puerto Rican vibes by billing itself as a “tiki inspired craft cocktail lounge” with Caribbean leanings. The space turns more into a club a night with DJs. It’s from Dino Vulpitta who owns Kings of Cups in Lincoln Park and Brando’s in South Loop.

2539 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

12. Big Mini Putt Club

1302 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
A bar lounge with tons of light wood.
Big Mini in Wicker Park.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Will summer 2021 be the season of mini golf? The owners of Big Mini along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park hope so. They’ve brought a DIY ethos in creating a mini golf bar with a full cocktail list to enjoy while playing on a 9-hole course. The windows swing out to Milwaukee for plenty of air, and customers can order from Big & Littles, which is a few doors northwest.

1302 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

13. Lirica

1000 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Lirica at Navy Pier
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Navy Pier has been a ghost town until recently with the arrival of Lirica, the new restaurant inside the tourist attraction off Lake Michigan. The views are stellar with a patio along the pier’s boardwalk, and the cocktails are refreshing and potent. This will make a good summer spot for people watching.

1000 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

14. Crushed By Giants Brewing Company

600 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
A beer pint glass in front of beer taps.
Crushed by Giants
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Crushed by Giants, from the owners of DryHop Brewing — a Lakeview brewpub — has made adjustments since debuting during the pandemic inside the second-floor space where Heaven on Seven stood. But as one of two breweries in Downtown Chicago, the space and beer merit second looks so customers can enjoy thin-crust pizza and light and refreshing beers.

600 N Michigan Ave 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

15. Ravinia Brewing Company

2601 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Three glasses full of beer.
The beer at Ravinia.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Logan Square is developing a reputation for beer, and Ravinia is the latest to bring their suds to the neighborhood. This taco brewpub is a comfy space with a large back patio. There’s a full cocktail and beer list giving patrons something for everyone.

2601 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Related Maps

16. Verve Wine + Provisions

2349 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
The bar at Verve.
Verve Wine + Provisions/Anthony Tahlier

An anchor of the development on top of the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park, Verve is the Chicago location of the San Francisco restaurant with a New York retail shop. The focus is “anti-snob” service, where customers aren’t shunned for a lack of wine knowledge. Find wines by the glass and bottles, plus house cocktails.

2349 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

Related Maps