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A bartender pours brown liquor into a fancy rocks glass
Nobody’s Darling has creative drinks in Andersonville.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Where to Drink Cocktails Right Now in Chicago

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

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Nobody’s Darling has creative drinks in Andersonville.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

As fall arrives in Chicago, the city’s thirsts shifts from the bright flavors of the summer toward the customary dark and stirred drinks of season. With that, it’s time to update Eater Chicago’s Heatmap to reflect sweater weather.

The city continues to battle COVID-19 with masks in place indoors. Outdoor seating offers less risk, but the temperatures aren’t so friendly without a fire pit. Still, there are plenty of bars that are taking safety and fun seriously.

Here, Eater Chicago highlights new bars and classics that have made changes to attract customers. There are eight new additions to the map, from a funky Logan Square bar with pizza pot stickers, a food hall with a beer stall and cocktail bar from one of the city’s most successful bar owners, and the return of two of the city’s most influential bars. Cheers.

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.

1. Mission Control Arcade Bar

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1408 W Morse Ave
Chicago, IL 60626

Head to Rogers Park for some nostalgic fun inside Chicago’s newest arcade bar with tons of vintage video game cabinets. There’s plenty of draft beer and a full bar inside the large space. There’s also food featuring pierogis. The venue is from the owner of the defunct Uptown Arcade.

a row of video games facing a wooden bar Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

2. Nobody's Darling

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1744 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

This Andersonville queer bar has continued to keep bustling through the summer. With a focus on community building and inclusivity, the bar mixes old-school Chicago tavern charm with modern comfort. “The Pink Kitty” (Hendrick’s Gin, aperol, grapefruit, sparkling wine) is an example of the drink menu’s “classic cocktails, elevated” creed.

A bright pink cocktail flows out of a shaker and into a martini glass. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

3. Lost Lake

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3154 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 293-6048
Visit Website

In case Chicago missed it, Lost Lake is back, but the popular Logan Square cocktail bar has returned without its signature tiki drinks. Management has opted to ditch the lavish glassware and move the menu toward “tropical,” which is more forgiving, especially given the concerning history of tiki. The changes have triggered mostly positive responses, though also been ample fragility from folks who prefer to cling to the status quo. Lost Lake’s bartenders still know how to make a mixed drink with fun and boozy concoctions that catch up if drinkers aren’t aware.

A red cocktail in a glass with a garnish. Lost Lake/Clayton Hauck

4. Ravinia Brewing Company

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2601 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 799-8050
Visit Website

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

5. The Whistler

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2421 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 227-3530
Visit Website

Wednesday, September 29 will mark the first time the Whistler has welcomed back guests in 18 months. This is a big deal for Chicago’s cocktail scene, as the Whistler is known for serious drinks that are mixed with care and creative ingredients. They’ve imported LA bartender Alex Barbatsis to take over the drink program which promises to offer several new drinks.

A drink being poured into a glass.
Whistler’s Torino Fizz
The Whistler

6. Verve Wine + Provisions

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2349 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 904-8536
Visit Website

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

7. 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]

8. 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

9. Way Out

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3213 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 799-8750
Visit Website

This Logan Square tavern has some of the funkiest pub grub in town including pizza pot stickers and fried cheese curds. The snacks will come in handy in forming a base while patrons imbibe local craft beers — plus Japanese import Sapporo, which is available by the pitcher. There’s also wine and classic cocktails. The Way Out is a playful spot that can serve as a shot and beer dive, but also an oasis for late-night snacking. Believe.

10. Bar Pendry Chicago

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81 E Wacker Pl
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 777-9000
Visit Website

Hotel bars can be wonderful if the space is right and the operator executes. COVID-19 times have made Chicago forget about hotel bars, but perhaps folks can take the right precautions so patrons can enjoy Bar Pendry, the tavern inside the Pendry Hotel, which resides in the historic Carbide & Carbon building. Classic cocktails and no-frills fun await customers. There’s also burgers, mac and cheese, and a small menu of bites.

11. Kumiko

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

Kumiko is back, as the West Loop’s Japanese-inspired cocktail bar has reopened for indoor service. The tavern is known for one of the most thoughtful drink menus in the city, with each beverage carefully balance using a variety of spirits, including a deep bench of Japanese whiskies. Those who don’t imbibe alcohol have plenty of options, as the menu offers a variety of spirit-free drinks, many of which use top-flight teas.

12. Bandit on 2

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841 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-6061
Visit Website

Bandit has quickly become a popular space for groups along Randolph Street with its retro dive atmosphere. Recently, the bar’s owners, DineAmic Hospitality (Bar Siena, Barrio) opened a second floor with even more space for large groups to the let their hair down. Bandit on 2 isn’t for someone who wants a quiet night; check out their specialty shot selection.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

13. Urbanspace Food Hall Washington

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15 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

Chicago’s first food hall opening of 2021 is a big one near State and Washington in downtown. Urbanspace features 12 restaurants, including Isla Pilipina and Roberta’s Pizza. But there’s also two spots for booze, courtesy of Footman Hospitality. The Peregrine Club is a cocktail bar, something Footman has demonstrated prowess with while operating Sparrow in Gold Coast. There’s also Footman Hospitality’s Beer Stall, and that taps into the company’s strength as shown with Bangers & Lace in Wicker Park. Both will provide weekend escapes and after-work happy hour destinations.

Urbanspace

14. 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

15. Bureau Bar and Restaurant

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2115 S State St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 877-5122
Visit Website

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

16. Osito's Tap

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2553 S Ridgeway Ave
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 277-8117
Visit Website

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

1. Mission Control Arcade Bar

1408 W Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626
a row of video games facing a wooden bar Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Head to Rogers Park for some nostalgic fun inside Chicago’s newest arcade bar with tons of vintage video game cabinets. There’s plenty of draft beer and a full bar inside the large space. There’s also food featuring pierogis. The venue is from the owner of the defunct Uptown Arcade.

1408 W Morse Ave
Chicago, IL 60626

2. Nobody's Darling

1744 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
A bright pink cocktail flows out of a shaker and into a martini glass. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

This Andersonville queer bar has continued to keep bustling through the summer. With a focus on community building and inclusivity, the bar mixes old-school Chicago tavern charm with modern comfort. “The Pink Kitty” (Hendrick’s Gin, aperol, grapefruit, sparkling wine) is an example of the drink menu’s “classic cocktails, elevated” creed.

1744 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

3. Lost Lake

3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A red cocktail in a glass with a garnish. Lost Lake/Clayton Hauck

In case Chicago missed it, Lost Lake is back, but the popular Logan Square cocktail bar has returned without its signature tiki drinks. Management has opted to ditch the lavish glassware and move the menu toward “tropical,” which is more forgiving, especially given the concerning history of tiki. The changes have triggered mostly positive responses, though also been ample fragility from folks who prefer to cling to the status quo. Lost Lake’s bartenders still know how to make a mixed drink with fun and boozy concoctions that catch up if drinkers aren’t aware.

3154 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

4. 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

5. The Whistler

2421 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A drink being poured into a glass.
Whistler’s Torino Fizz
The Whistler

Wednesday, September 29 will mark the first time the Whistler has welcomed back guests in 18 months. This is a big deal for Chicago’s cocktail scene, as the Whistler is known for serious drinks that are mixed with care and creative ingredients. They’ve imported LA bartender Alex Barbatsis to take over the drink program which promises to offer several new drinks.

2421 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. Way Out

3213 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

This Logan Square tavern has some of the funkiest pub grub in town including pizza pot stickers and fried cheese curds. The snacks will come in handy in forming a base while patrons imbibe local craft beers — plus Japanese import Sapporo, which is available by the pitcher. There’s also wine and classic cocktails. The Way Out is a playful spot that can serve as a shot and beer dive, but also an oasis for late-night snacking. Believe.

3213 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

10. Bar Pendry Chicago

81 E Wacker Pl, Chicago, IL 60601

Hotel bars can be wonderful if the space is right and the operator executes. COVID-19 times have made Chicago forget about hotel bars, but perhaps folks can take the right precautions so patrons can enjoy Bar Pendry, the tavern inside the Pendry Hotel, which resides in the historic Carbide & Carbon building. Classic cocktails and no-frills fun await customers. There’s also burgers, mac and cheese, and a small menu of bites.

81 E Wacker Pl
Chicago, IL 60601

11. Kumiko

630 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661

Kumiko is back, as the West Loop’s Japanese-inspired cocktail bar has reopened for indoor service. The tavern is known for one of the most thoughtful drink menus in the city, with each beverage carefully balance using a variety of spirits, including a deep bench of Japanese whiskies. Those who don’t imbibe alcohol have plenty of options, as the menu offers a variety of spirit-free drinks, many of which use top-flight teas.

630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

12. Bandit on 2

841 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Bandit has quickly become a popular space for groups along Randolph Street with its retro dive atmosphere. Recently, the bar’s owners, DineAmic Hospitality (Bar Siena, Barrio) opened a second floor with even more space for large groups to the let their hair down. Bandit on 2 isn’t for someone who wants a quiet night; check out their specialty shot selection.

841 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

13. Urbanspace Food Hall Washington

15 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Urbanspace

Chicago’s first food hall opening of 2021 is a big one near State and Washington in downtown. Urbanspace features 12 restaurants, including Isla Pilipina and Roberta’s Pizza. But there’s also two spots for booze, courtesy of Footman Hospitality. The Peregrine Club is a cocktail bar, something Footman has demonstrated prowess with while operating Sparrow in Gold Coast. There’s also Footman Hospitality’s Beer Stall, and that taps into the company’s strength as shown with Bangers & Lace in Wicker Park. Both will provide weekend escapes and after-work happy hour destinations.

15 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

14. 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

15. 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

Related Maps

16. 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

Related Maps