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A cocktail with a green root beer leaf.
Claudia is featuring cocktails, like Queen Bee, inspired by Brothers Grimm.
Claudia

Where to Drink Cocktails Right Now in Chicago

Say welcome to 2023 with a refreshing beverage

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Claudia is featuring cocktails, like Queen Bee, inspired by Brothers Grimm.
| Claudia

Happy New Year, Chicago. That’s right — 2023 is here — and it’s time to update Eater Chicago’s Cocktail Heatmap. Sure, the holidays are tough, and while some may need a cleanse to start the year, others will want to plow through the month and enjoy a delicious drink with friends. Be safe, friends, and here’s to a wonderful 2023.

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; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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The Green Post

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From the owners of the North Man and Bar on Buena, Green Post is an all-day bar with pastries, and coffee in the morning. There are 14 draft lines focusing on beverages from the United Kingdom. There’s also a lineup of Euro-inspired gin and tonics. The menu includes savory pies that complement the drinks.

A stocked bar with bottles with dark wood.
The Green Post is open in Chicago.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Moonflower and Nightshade

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Moonflower, the plant-themed cocktail bar that opened in Old Irving Park in 2021, recently acquired a darker, moodier younger sibling, Nightshade. Located in the basement below Moonflower, Nightshade serves cocktails with more experimental ingredients — the Late Bloomer features purple rice-washed Ford’s gin while Son of a Gun includes salted tortilla chips and poblano peppers — plus fluffy alcoholic shave ice.

The Meadowlark

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The final installment of Meadowlark Hospitality’s trilogy of dining and drinking spots in Logan Square, this speakeasy-style bar has quickly established itself as a moody neighborhood hang with boozy, engaging cocktails from beverage director and Violet Hour alum Abe Vucekovich. The opening drink menu, elucidated in a beautiful Audubon-esque guidebook, pays homage to native birds of the Midwest. These include a brandy-based Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and egg nog-inspired Snowy Owl.

A shaker pouring an orange iced drink.
Meadowlark has drinks from a Violet Hour alum.
Jack X. Li/Eater Chicago

CLAUDIA

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In Bucktown, fairy tales have long inspired the tasting menu at Michelin-starred Claudia. Chef Trevor Teich has created a 10-course menu out of nostalgia, and in late 2023, the restaurant rolled out a winter cocktail menu with nods to the Brothers Grimm. Now, the Brothers Grimm have their faults, but children don’t know that, and Claudia is serving drinks like Rapunzel (Cherry Bomb Radish 8000 Generations Shochu, Viola Flower Bordiga Maraschino, green chartreuse, and sudachi). Beyond the 10 drinks, created by bartender Terence Shapcott, the menu features illustrations by Tom Keating.

A cocktail with a green root beer leaf.
Claudia’s Queen Bee (duck fat-washed Marie Duffau Armagnac, root beer leaf, Fey Anmé forest liqueur, amaro, sfumato rabarbaro, black ants, shiso bitters, honeycomb).
Claudia

Scofflaw

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The cocktail heatmap is mostly about the beverage side, but when one of the city’s most influential bars drops an ambitious food menu, it’s worth celebrating. Scofflaw’s cocktails are without peers. But in late fall, the bar launched a new menu with a veteran chef, Fred Chung (Kasama, Oriole), that crushes boundaries. Chung’s menu includes hits like a butter chicken katsu (bringing Japan and British India together), a fire chicken scallion (it’s like a quesadilla, but better thanks to the Korean influence), and more. While some folks maintain they go to bars to enjoy a “liquid diet,” this menu reminds the young and the reckless that drinking a quality cocktail with delicious and creative food is something worth savoring.

Chef Fred Chung holding a hoisin roasted pork sandwich.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Mile High Club at Adorn Bar & Restaurant

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The restaurant at the Four Seasons Chicago is going through some changes, and in November, the hotel unveiled the Mile High Cocktail Club, a revamped space with two ticket options that come with drinks and paired bites. They’ve aped the ‘60s feel of Pan-Am, and the entrance is through a red London phone booth. The bar’s on the 46th floor.

Chicago Winery

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A mini-chain with locations in D.C. and New York has taken over the former Zed451 space with a focus on private events. However, there’s a restaurant open to the general public — called LIVA. That’s where customers can enjoy wines made on-premises, as well as bottles from domestic producers. There are non-alcoholic drinks and boozy cocktails like the Luchador Love Song with jalapeño tequila.

A square bar with white counters.
Chicago Winery is open in River North.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Watershed Bar

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Pops For Champagne’s basement sibling had a makeover in 2022. No longer a bar focused on craft beer in the Great Lakes region, Watershed is a chill lounge for a cocktail, escaping Hubbard Street’s usual hijinks. While River North may scream Big Bang Theory, Watershed praises Community and pays tribute to the NBC comedy with a menu dedicated to each of Season One’s 14 episodes. Every fan of Dan Harmon’s TV show deserves to make a pilgrimage. 

Passport Bar Room

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With the World Cup wrapping up, over in West Town, Passport Bar Room has revitalized a long-vacant corner space with an emphasis on international sports and street fare (the food is from a José Andrés alum). The bar also has a basement lounge that focuses more on cocktails, an escape from the fans’ cheers.

Passport’s basement bar is sleek.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The owners of Recess, Atomic Hospitality, know they can throw a party. Their spaces are unique and fun. But they also want customers to know there’s plenty of quality food and drink. Tabu, in Fulton Market, has a big selection of agave drinks — there’s also a fun large-format menu for sharing.

A pink drink garnished with a lemon and blue glitter.
Tabu has a fun cocktail list.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

After Lounge

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After is one of the biggest bar openings in recent memory with an ultra-modern space and rare spirits from the minds behind Michelin-starred Ever. It really does feel like a spaceship inside, but not at the expense of hospitality which is warm and knowledgeable. Imagine really great versions of all the beverages drinkers enjoy at dive bars, with nicer glassware, and customers get a good idea of what to expect. The bar takes reservations.

A round glass holds a large ice cube embossed with the word “After.” Michael Muser/After

Hide+Seek

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The former home of quarter-century-old Vivo is lively again at last following the fall 2022 debut of Hide + Seek, a restaurant and bar that aims to strike a balance between comfort and elegance in Fulton Market. At the bar, patrons will find a short menu of drinks such as the tequila-based Pyro’s Negroni and the citrusy City of Lights, made with whiskey, orange curacao, and chamomile.

A long wood-lined bar space with crystal chandeliers and booths.
Hide + Seek seats 100.
Hide + Seek

Bambola

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Travel-obsessed restaurant group Bonhomme Hospitality has supplemented its Silk Road-inspired food menus with an inventive selection of seriously boozy cocktails, including the frozen Mango and Spice (rum, arrack, mango, yogurt, yellow curry) and photogenic Cherry Blossom (gin, shochu, cocoa, plum). ABVs start around 13 percent, so imbibers would be wise to plan ahead for a designated driver.

A colorful lounge area with brown couches and low cocktail tables.
Bambola weaves old-school antiques into a modern aesthetic design.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Nine Bar

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Nine Bar is Chinatown’s first cocktail bar, located behind the Moon Palace Express takeout counter. Owners Lily Wang (whose parents own Moon Palace) and Joe Briglio mix up “Asian-ish” takes on classic cocktails, creating Old Fashioneds, highballs, and margaritias with baiju, soju, and shochu.

Bronzeville Winery

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This restaurant and winery from urban planner Cecilia Cuff and Silver Room owner Eric Williams is home to some of Chicago’s hardest-to-snag tables, as well as a tight cocktail list that hits on all the major spirits. Submissions include the Uncle Yams Old Fashioned, a concoction starring Black-owned whiskey brand Uncle Nearest, sweet potato syrup, and brandied cherries.

Daisy's Po' Boy and Tavern

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Chef Erick Williams (Virtue) has opened this third restaurant, and this one is a tribute to cajun and Creole cooking. When a James Beard Award winner opens a bar, folks should get excited that they can nosh on more than sad frozen morsels. Williams serve up po-boys and muffalettas. But also, he claims, “the coldest Abita” drinkers will drink. Come down to Hyde Park for some sports and brews.

A po’boy split in half with a beer in a goblet. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The Green Post

From the owners of the North Man and Bar on Buena, Green Post is an all-day bar with pastries, and coffee in the morning. There are 14 draft lines focusing on beverages from the United Kingdom. There’s also a lineup of Euro-inspired gin and tonics. The menu includes savory pies that complement the drinks.

A stocked bar with bottles with dark wood.
The Green Post is open in Chicago.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Moonflower and Nightshade

Moonflower, the plant-themed cocktail bar that opened in Old Irving Park in 2021, recently acquired a darker, moodier younger sibling, Nightshade. Located in the basement below Moonflower, Nightshade serves cocktails with more experimental ingredients — the Late Bloomer features purple rice-washed Ford’s gin while Son of a Gun includes salted tortilla chips and poblano peppers — plus fluffy alcoholic shave ice.

The Meadowlark

The final installment of Meadowlark Hospitality’s trilogy of dining and drinking spots in Logan Square, this speakeasy-style bar has quickly established itself as a moody neighborhood hang with boozy, engaging cocktails from beverage director and Violet Hour alum Abe Vucekovich. The opening drink menu, elucidated in a beautiful Audubon-esque guidebook, pays homage to native birds of the Midwest. These include a brandy-based Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and egg nog-inspired Snowy Owl.

A shaker pouring an orange iced drink.
Meadowlark has drinks from a Violet Hour alum.
Jack X. Li/Eater Chicago

CLAUDIA

In Bucktown, fairy tales have long inspired the tasting menu at Michelin-starred Claudia. Chef Trevor Teich has created a 10-course menu out of nostalgia, and in late 2023, the restaurant rolled out a winter cocktail menu with nods to the Brothers Grimm. Now, the Brothers Grimm have their faults, but children don’t know that, and Claudia is serving drinks like Rapunzel (Cherry Bomb Radish 8000 Generations Shochu, Viola Flower Bordiga Maraschino, green chartreuse, and sudachi). Beyond the 10 drinks, created by bartender Terence Shapcott, the menu features illustrations by Tom Keating.

A cocktail with a green root beer leaf.
Claudia’s Queen Bee (duck fat-washed Marie Duffau Armagnac, root beer leaf, Fey Anmé forest liqueur, amaro, sfumato rabarbaro, black ants, shiso bitters, honeycomb).
Claudia

Scofflaw

The cocktail heatmap is mostly about the beverage side, but when one of the city’s most influential bars drops an ambitious food menu, it’s worth celebrating. Scofflaw’s cocktails are without peers. But in late fall, the bar launched a new menu with a veteran chef, Fred Chung (Kasama, Oriole), that crushes boundaries. Chung’s menu includes hits like a butter chicken katsu (bringing Japan and British India together), a fire chicken scallion (it’s like a quesadilla, but better thanks to the Korean influence), and more. While some folks maintain they go to bars to enjoy a “liquid diet,” this menu reminds the young and the reckless that drinking a quality cocktail with delicious and creative food is something worth savoring.

Chef Fred Chung holding a hoisin roasted pork sandwich.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Mile High Club at Adorn Bar & Restaurant

The restaurant at the Four Seasons Chicago is going through some changes, and in November, the hotel unveiled the Mile High Cocktail Club, a revamped space with two ticket options that come with drinks and paired bites. They’ve aped the ‘60s feel of Pan-Am, and the entrance is through a red London phone booth. The bar’s on the 46th floor.

Chicago Winery

A mini-chain with locations in D.C. and New York has taken over the former Zed451 space with a focus on private events. However, there’s a restaurant open to the general public — called LIVA. That’s where customers can enjoy wines made on-premises, as well as bottles from domestic producers. There are non-alcoholic drinks and boozy cocktails like the Luchador Love Song with jalapeño tequila.

A square bar with white counters.
Chicago Winery is open in River North.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Watershed Bar

Pops For Champagne’s basement sibling had a makeover in 2022. No longer a bar focused on craft beer in the Great Lakes region, Watershed is a chill lounge for a cocktail, escaping Hubbard Street’s usual hijinks. While River North may scream Big Bang Theory, Watershed praises Community and pays tribute to the NBC comedy with a menu dedicated to each of Season One’s 14 episodes. Every fan of Dan Harmon’s TV show deserves to make a pilgrimage. 

Passport Bar Room

With the World Cup wrapping up, over in West Town, Passport Bar Room has revitalized a long-vacant corner space with an emphasis on international sports and street fare (the food is from a José Andrés alum). The bar also has a basement lounge that focuses more on cocktails, an escape from the fans’ cheers.

Passport’s basement bar is sleek.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Tabu

The owners of Recess, Atomic Hospitality, know they can throw a party. Their spaces are unique and fun. But they also want customers to know there’s plenty of quality food and drink. Tabu, in Fulton Market, has a big selection of agave drinks — there’s also a fun large-format menu for sharing.

A pink drink garnished with a lemon and blue glitter.
Tabu has a fun cocktail list.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

After Lounge

After is one of the biggest bar openings in recent memory with an ultra-modern space and rare spirits from the minds behind Michelin-starred Ever. It really does feel like a spaceship inside, but not at the expense of hospitality which is warm and knowledgeable. Imagine really great versions of all the beverages drinkers enjoy at dive bars, with nicer glassware, and customers get a good idea of what to expect. The bar takes reservations.

A round glass holds a large ice cube embossed with the word “After.” Michael Muser/After

Hide+Seek

The former home of quarter-century-old Vivo is lively again at last following the fall 2022 debut of Hide + Seek, a restaurant and bar that aims to strike a balance between comfort and elegance in Fulton Market. At the bar, patrons will find a short menu of drinks such as the tequila-based Pyro’s Negroni and the citrusy City of Lights, made with whiskey, orange curacao, and chamomile.

A long wood-lined bar space with crystal chandeliers and booths.
Hide + Seek seats 100.
Hide + Seek

Bambola

Travel-obsessed restaurant group Bonhomme Hospitality has supplemented its Silk Road-inspired food menus with an inventive selection of seriously boozy cocktails, including the frozen Mango and Spice (rum, arrack, mango, yogurt, yellow curry) and photogenic Cherry Blossom (gin, shochu, cocoa, plum). ABVs start around 13 percent, so imbibers would be wise to plan ahead for a designated driver.

A colorful lounge area with brown couches and low cocktail tables.
Bambola weaves old-school antiques into a modern aesthetic design.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Nine Bar

Nine Bar is Chinatown’s first cocktail bar, located behind the Moon Palace Express takeout counter. Owners Lily Wang (whose parents own Moon Palace) and Joe Briglio mix up “Asian-ish” takes on classic cocktails, creating Old Fashioneds, highballs, and margaritias with baiju, soju, and shochu.

Bronzeville Winery

This restaurant and winery from urban planner Cecilia Cuff and Silver Room owner Eric Williams is home to some of Chicago’s hardest-to-snag tables, as well as a tight cocktail list that hits on all the major spirits. Submissions include the Uncle Yams Old Fashioned, a concoction starring Black-owned whiskey brand Uncle Nearest, sweet potato syrup, and brandied cherries.

Related Maps

Daisy's Po' Boy and Tavern

Chef Erick Williams (Virtue) has opened this third restaurant, and this one is a tribute to cajun and Creole cooking. When a James Beard Award winner opens a bar, folks should get excited that they can nosh on more than sad frozen morsels. Williams serve up po-boys and muffalettas. But also, he claims, “the coldest Abita” drinkers will drink. Come down to Hyde Park for some sports and brews.

A po’boy split in half with a beer in a goblet. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Related Maps