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A person with tattooed arms and knuckles holds a cocktail glass garnished with a lemon.
Nine Bar, which opened in May, is the first cocktail bar in Chinatown.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Where to Drink Cocktails Right Now in Chicago

A new cocktail bar in Chinatown and a nightclub in the Loop are some of this month’s highlights

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Nine Bar, which opened in May, is the first cocktail bar in Chinatown.
| Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Summer is in full swing in Chicago with all the usual heat and humidity. Good thing there are plenty of bars in town mixing up nice, chilly cocktails — both with alcohol and without — for cooling off. This month’s new entries onto the scene include a hotel rooftop in Fulton Market, Chinatown’s first cocktail lounge, and a 3 a.m. nightclub in the Loop.

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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Eli Tea Bar

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5507 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

Now, time for something completely different: a sober bar. Eli Tea started in the Detroit suburbs before opening a second location in Andersonville. The tea drinks are impressive: there are concoctions not seen anywhere else in town, such as a smoky lapsang souchong with white chocolate. There’s a selection of boba drinks also. The space is fun — there’s regular entertainment, including drag queen bingo — to give those who don’t want booze a lively location to grab a drink.

Three class mugs with cinnamon and apples inside with a tea pot pouring tea.
Eli Tea Bar
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

2. Nobody's Darling

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1744 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

With a focus on community building and inclusivity, this Andersonville queer 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. The bar was a James Beard Award semifinalist this year for best bar program.

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

3. Cultivate by Forbidden Root

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4710 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 961-7919
Visit Website

The Tap Room inside the new brewery and taproom Cultivate by Forbidden Root is a beer geek’s dream, stocked with a rotating assortment of hard-to-find beers from other breweries from Chicago and elsewhere, all on tap. There are cans available as well, plus bar snacks and a brief selection of cocktails, shots, and ciders.

A flight of five glasses of beer in different colors in a wooden stand Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

4. 2Bears Tavern

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1140 W Wilson Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 672-4900
Visit Website

This new neighborhood bar with Jazz Age touches like a pressed tin ceiling and custom stained glass opened in March to serve the LGBTQ community in Uptown. The menu includes cocktails (alcoholic, CBD, and spirit-free), mules, handshakes, and draft and canned beers; entertainment options include pinball and a jukebox, and dogs are always welcome.

5. Moonflower and Nightshade

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4359 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 647-1942
Visit Website

Moonflower, the plant-themed cocktail bar that opened in Old Irving Park last winter, 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.

6. Mother's Ruin

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2943 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

This eagerly anticipated bar opened in early March in Logan Square. It’s a spinoff of a well-regarded New York hotspot, a hybrid cocktail lounge and dive bar that offers a little bit of something for everyone. Boozy slushies are on tap as well as a fun mix of classic drinks with modern twists. Food, sandwiches, and waffle fries, are also available.

A coupe glass with a Manhattan cocktail on a wooden bar. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

7. Soif Wine Lounge

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2456 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Testaccio, a Roman-inspired Italian restaurant from the owner of Osteria Langhe, has a new basement bar devoted to wine. Owner Aldo Zaninotto is a wine buyer, and he uses Soif to showcase his expertise, focusing on vintages from France. This underground wine bar is dark and intimate, a great date spot before or after dinner.

8. Esmé

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2200 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

The bar side of this fine dining operations from Jenner Tomaska, a former executive chef at Next, and his wife, Katrina Bravo, has its own entrance on Clark Street. Esme’s bartenders mix bespoke cocktails and have a variety of spirits to pick from — just strike up a conversation with a bartender. Customers can also find top-notch eats, including a giant Cheeto that is pretty much the ultimate in bar food.

The bar at Esme.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

9. The Albion Manor

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1480 W Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 697-4686
Visit Website

This new two-story bar in Lincoln Park from the team behind AJ Hudson’s and the Dandy Crown is two drinking establishments in one: the Albion Manor, an English-style football pub with beer and snacks on the ground floor, and the Parlour, an elegant cocktail lounge upstairs.

Plush couches, chairs, stools, and low tables on top of rugs. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

10. Rose Lounge

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912 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 820-9000
Visit Website

Adalina has been a hit in Gold Coast: chef Soo Ahn dazzles with a creative Italian-American menu that’s kept the second-floor dining room filled during the pandemic. The owners also inherited a downstairs lounge, and they’ve made the space their own with the assistance of beverage director Aaron Pollack. Rose Lounge is dimly lit with room for 50. True to theme, some drinks come with fancy block ice carved into roses. Reservations are available via OpenTable.

Six cocktails of various sizes and colors on a marble bar with a bartender’s arm garnishing the center drink with an orange peel. Rose Lounge

11. The California Clipper

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1002 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

This historic Humboldt Park bar space has new ownership — the same company that owns the new Italian restaurant Segnatore across the street, as well as Good Measure in River North. The bar has been closed since the pandemic began in spring 2020, but it returned in March with live music (and a new sound system), plus an updated cocktail menu.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

12. Selva

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311 N Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60607

Selva means “jungle” in Spanish, but this new rooftop bar atop the Emily Hotel in Fulton Market (formerly the Ace) is really more about the flavors of Mexico. The cocktail menu features plenty of tequila and mezcal, but there are also other regional spirits, including charanda, a sugarcane-based beverage from Michoacán.

13. Kumiko

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

Kumiko, the West Loop Japanese-inspired cocktail bar, is known for having one of the most thoughtful drink menus in the city. Each concoction incorporates a carefully balanced mix of spirits, including a deep bench of Japanese whiskies. Those who don’t imbibe alcohol have plenty of options as well, as the menu offers a variety of booze-free drinks made with top-flight teas. Creative director and partner Julia Momosé recently won a James Beard media award for her book The Way of the Cocktail, cowritten with journalist Emma Janzen.

14. Good Funk

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180 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 929-3185
Visit Website

The owners of Porto and Beatnik have revamped their Loop wine bar along the river to focus on natural wines. It’s the same cozy and intimate space ideal for happy hours or after-work dates, but a refined menu with small bites.

Good Funk
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

15. Nights & Weekends

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1009 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

Nights & Weekends is a fun-time bar, the type of space nightlife lovers were afraid would become extinct during the pandemic. The cocktails won’t weigh drinkers down if they elect to dance a little. Find loaded Topo Chicos, highballs with house-made soda, and other low-key cocktails.

A bar with stools in the foreground, bottles of liquor in the background, and a large, multicolored, piece of stained glass overhead, with abstract geometric patterns Nights & Weekends/Garrett Sweet

16. Bar Mar by José Andrés

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120 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 820-6602
Visit Website

Operated in conjunction with the steakhouse Gibsons, José Andrés’s new happy hour-friendly bar with a raw bar and high ceilings has expansive views of the Chicago River. The space, within a new Loop skyscraper that houses Bank of America’s local headquarters, was one of 2021’s most impressive openings in terms of scale and construction costs. The drink menu includes a caipirinha that’s frozen with liquid nitrogen and a presentation that will make you the envy of the room.

17. Bunker

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thru the patio, 1515 W Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60607
(773) 823-5818
Visit Website

This new spot from the owner of Heritage Bikes & Coffee and Larry’s in Uptown promises a more low-key experience than the average West Loop bar. Choose from a selection of specialty and classic cocktails with unusual ingredients like cream cheese and popcorn-infused tequila while munching on selection of Mexican dips and burritos from the owner of Antique Taco. There are plenty of TVs tuned to sports inside and a dog-friendly patio outside.

18. Era Social Club

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416 S Clark St
Chicago, IL 60605

The Era Social Club, a weekends-only nightclub, made its debut in the Loop in May, and Chance the Rapper appeared with his entourage on opening night. Since then, Era has hosted dance parties, deejays, and NBA viewing parties; tables are available by reservation only and bottle service ranges from the relatively modest to the obscenely extravagant.

19. Nine Bar

Copy Link
216 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-4081
Visit Website

Nine Bar, which opened last month, 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.

20. Williams Inn Pizza & Sports Bar

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2210 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 753-3108
Visit Website

The rebirth of this much-loved stuffed pizzeria is underscored by a talented staff of bartenders that will pour patrons more than just beer while they’re catching the big game. Williams Inn is a rare Black-owned pizzeria, and its owners are striving to create a welcoming space that caters to all appetites.

1. Eli Tea Bar

5507 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
Three class mugs with cinnamon and apples inside with a tea pot pouring tea.
Eli Tea Bar
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Now, time for something completely different: a sober bar. Eli Tea started in the Detroit suburbs before opening a second location in Andersonville. The tea drinks are impressive: there are concoctions not seen anywhere else in town, such as a smoky lapsang souchong with white chocolate. There’s a selection of boba drinks also. The space is fun — there’s regular entertainment, including drag queen bingo — to give those who don’t want booze a lively location to grab a drink.

5507 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

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

With a focus on community building and inclusivity, this Andersonville queer 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. The bar was a James Beard Award semifinalist this year for best bar program.

1744 W Balmoral Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

3. Cultivate by Forbidden Root

4710 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
A flight of five glasses of beer in different colors in a wooden stand Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

The Tap Room inside the new brewery and taproom Cultivate by Forbidden Root is a beer geek’s dream, stocked with a rotating assortment of hard-to-find beers from other breweries from Chicago and elsewhere, all on tap. There are cans available as well, plus bar snacks and a brief selection of cocktails, shots, and ciders.

4710 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

4. 2Bears Tavern

1140 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

This new neighborhood bar with Jazz Age touches like a pressed tin ceiling and custom stained glass opened in March to serve the LGBTQ community in Uptown. The menu includes cocktails (alcoholic, CBD, and spirit-free), mules, handshakes, and draft and canned beers; entertainment options include pinball and a jukebox, and dogs are always welcome.

1140 W Wilson Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

5. Moonflower and Nightshade

4359 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

Moonflower, the plant-themed cocktail bar that opened in Old Irving Park last winter, 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.

4359 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60641

6. Mother's Ruin

2943 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
A coupe glass with a Manhattan cocktail on a wooden bar. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

This eagerly anticipated bar opened in early March in Logan Square. It’s a spinoff of a well-regarded New York hotspot, a hybrid cocktail lounge and dive bar that offers a little bit of something for everyone. Boozy slushies are on tap as well as a fun mix of classic drinks with modern twists. Food, sandwiches, and waffle fries, are also available.

2943 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

7. Soif Wine Lounge

2456 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Testaccio, a Roman-inspired Italian restaurant from the owner of Osteria Langhe, has a new basement bar devoted to wine. Owner Aldo Zaninotto is a wine buyer, and he uses Soif to showcase his expertise, focusing on vintages from France. This underground wine bar is dark and intimate, a great date spot before or after dinner.

2456 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

8. Esmé

2200 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
The bar at Esme.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

The bar side of this fine dining operations from Jenner Tomaska, a former executive chef at Next, and his wife, Katrina Bravo, has its own entrance on Clark Street. Esme’s bartenders mix bespoke cocktails and have a variety of spirits to pick from — just strike up a conversation with a bartender. Customers can also find top-notch eats, including a giant Cheeto that is pretty much the ultimate in bar food.

2200 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

9. The Albion Manor

1480 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Plush couches, chairs, stools, and low tables on top of rugs. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This new two-story bar in Lincoln Park from the team behind AJ Hudson’s and the Dandy Crown is two drinking establishments in one: the Albion Manor, an English-style football pub with beer and snacks on the ground floor, and the Parlour, an elegant cocktail lounge upstairs.

1480 W Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

10. Rose Lounge

912 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610
Six cocktails of various sizes and colors on a marble bar with a bartender’s arm garnishing the center drink with an orange peel. Rose Lounge

Adalina has been a hit in Gold Coast: chef Soo Ahn dazzles with a creative Italian-American menu that’s kept the second-floor dining room filled during the pandemic. The owners also inherited a downstairs lounge, and they’ve made the space their own with the assistance of beverage director Aaron Pollack. Rose Lounge is dimly lit with room for 50. True to theme, some drinks come with fancy block ice carved into roses. Reservations are available via OpenTable.

912 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610

11. The California Clipper

1002 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This historic Humboldt Park bar space has new ownership — the same company that owns the new Italian restaurant Segnatore across the street, as well as Good Measure in River North. The bar has been closed since the pandemic began in spring 2020, but it returned in March with live music (and a new sound system), plus an updated cocktail menu.

1002 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

12. Selva

311 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607

Selva means “jungle” in Spanish, but this new rooftop bar atop the Emily Hotel in Fulton Market (formerly the Ace) is really more about the flavors of Mexico. The cocktail menu features plenty of tequila and mezcal, but there are also other regional spirits, including charanda, a sugarcane-based beverage from Michoacán.

311 N Morgan St
Chicago, IL 60607

13. Kumiko

630 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661

Kumiko, the West Loop Japanese-inspired cocktail bar, is known for having one of the most thoughtful drink menus in the city. Each concoction incorporates a carefully balanced mix of spirits, including a deep bench of Japanese whiskies. Those who don’t imbibe alcohol have plenty of options as well, as the menu offers a variety of booze-free drinks made with top-flight teas. Creative director and partner Julia Momosé recently won a James Beard media award for her book The Way of the Cocktail, cowritten with journalist Emma Janzen.

630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

14. Good Funk

180 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Good Funk
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The owners of Porto and Beatnik have revamped their Loop wine bar along the river to focus on natural wines. It’s the same cozy and intimate space ideal for happy hours or after-work dates, but a refined menu with small bites.

180 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606

15. Nights & Weekends

1009 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607
A bar with stools in the foreground, bottles of liquor in the background, and a large, multicolored, piece of stained glass overhead, with abstract geometric patterns Nights & Weekends/Garrett Sweet

Nights & Weekends is a fun-time bar, the type of space nightlife lovers were afraid would become extinct during the pandemic. The cocktails won’t weigh drinkers down if they elect to dance a little. Find loaded Topo Chicos, highballs with house-made soda, and other low-key cocktails.

1009 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps

16. Bar Mar by José Andrés

120 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Operated in conjunction with the steakhouse Gibsons, José Andrés’s new happy hour-friendly bar with a raw bar and high ceilings has expansive views of the Chicago River. The space, within a new Loop skyscraper that houses Bank of America’s local headquarters, was one of 2021’s most impressive openings in terms of scale and construction costs. The drink menu includes a caipirinha that’s frozen with liquid nitrogen and a presentation that will make you the envy of the room.

120 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606

17. Bunker

thru the patio, 1515 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60607

This new spot from the owner of Heritage Bikes & Coffee and Larry’s in Uptown promises a more low-key experience than the average West Loop bar. Choose from a selection of specialty and classic cocktails with unusual ingredients like cream cheese and popcorn-infused tequila while munching on selection of Mexican dips and burritos from the owner of Antique Taco. There are plenty of TVs tuned to sports inside and a dog-friendly patio outside.

thru the patio, 1515 W Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60607

18. Era Social Club

416 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605

The Era Social Club, a weekends-only nightclub, made its debut in the Loop in May, and Chance the Rapper appeared with his entourage on opening night. Since then, Era has hosted dance parties, deejays, and NBA viewing parties; tables are available by reservation only and bottle service ranges from the relatively modest to the obscenely extravagant.

416 S Clark St
Chicago, IL 60605

19. Nine Bar

216 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

Nine Bar, which opened last month, 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.

216 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616

20. Williams Inn Pizza & Sports Bar

2210 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

The rebirth of this much-loved stuffed pizzeria is underscored by a talented staff of bartenders that will pour patrons more than just beer while they’re catching the big game. Williams Inn is a rare Black-owned pizzeria, and its owners are striving to create a welcoming space that caters to all appetites.

2210 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Related Maps