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A red cocktail with egg white and fruit garnishes.
The bar at Esme in Lincoln Park serves outstanding drinks.
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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The bar at Esme in Lincoln Park serves outstanding drinks.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Winter means dark beers and stirred cocktails. With that, it’s time to update the Eater Chicago Cocktail Heatmap.

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. 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 fall. 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

2. 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 can catch up quickly with drinkers who aren’t paying attention.

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

3. Pilot Project Brewing

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

Pilot Project in Logan Square fills a niche for both bargoers 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 the premises. It also gives newish brewers an opportunity for more visibility, 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]

4. 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 are also wine and classic cocktails. The Way Out is a playful spot that can serve as a shot and beer dive but also as an oasis for late-night snacking. Believe.

5. 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; 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 the menu offers a variety of booze-free drinks, many of which use top-flight teas.

6. 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 prepared for the rain and cold 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 also offer to-go cocktails and growlers.

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

7. 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.

8. Esmé

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2200 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

Enter off Clark Street to venture into the bar side of this fine dining operations from a former chef at Next Restaurant. 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. Underground Cocktail Club

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56 W Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 644-7600
Visit Website

While Billy Dec may be spending more time in Nashville these days, he injected some life into this iconic River North bar earlier this summer with a full makeover. Rather than the traditional bottle service that Hubbard Street bros enjoyed for years, Underground is trying to grow up by offering rare spirits that come out with oversized ice blocks. There’s also plenty of live music to keep the party going. 

10. Social Lounge at Four Seasons Chicago

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120 E Delaware Pl
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-8800
Visit Website

The Four Seasons Chicago continues its major renovations with the unveiling of Social Lounge, its reservations-only bar inside the Gold Coast hotel. There’s live music inside a sleek space with plenty of bubbly drinks and fancy cocktails.

11. The Hi-Lo

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1110 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

The owners of EZ Inn have poured a lot of resources into the Hi-Lo, a bar that caters to the daytime crowd with low-ABV drinks. The interiors are bright and there’s a unique outdoor area that’s covered, plus a fireplace. It’s a good spot to get some work done and stay a little longer to meet up with friends. 

Daija Guy/Eater Chicago

12. 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. Instead of leaning into Italian selections, Soif focuses on vintages from France. This underground wine bar is dark and intimate, a great date spot before or after dinner.

13. 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 instinct during the pandemic. The cocktails won’t weigh drinkers down if they elect to dance a little. Find spiked Topo Chicos and more.

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

14. Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. - Chicago

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3827 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 857-0631
Visit Website

Smylie Brothers has opened a Lakeview brewpub with Texas barbecue and rotating beer list. Order flights of ales, lagers, and bocks. It’s a great place to spend a winter Friday.

15. Bar Goa

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116 W Hubbard St Suite 1
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 900-0197
Visit Website

Bar Goa is inspired by the Indian coastal city, and its owners (they’re also behind Rooh Chicago) have opted for tropical drinks. The beverages use ingredients like ghee-washed gin. The bar occasionally has DJs and stand-up comedy performances. The menu is also satisfying with grilled chicken wings, Indo-Chinese fried rice, and green pea and chorizo hummus.

16. Dusk

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1518 N Throop St
Chicago, IL 60642

This Lincoln Park bar, off the Elston Industrial Corridor, was designed by an architecture firm with an office next door; its workers wanted a more convenient place for happy hour. The space is bright and breezy and serves up classic drinks with a relaxed vibe.

17. Kitchen + Kocktails Chicago

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444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 659-1951
Visit Website

This Dallas import has made a mark in Chicago and reservations for its main dining room are fully booked. But owner Kevin Kelley is urging those interested in visiting the Black-owned venue to walk in and enjoy their bar space. Find over-the-top drinks with lavish presentations and Instagram-friendly spots to pose with said libations. 

18. Revolution Brewing - Brewery & Taproom

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3340 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 588-2267
Visit Website

It’s winter in Chicago, and for beer drinkers that means its barrel-aged stout season. Revolution Brewing’s taproom in Avondale serves up the company’s famous Deth’s Tar line of stouts. They’re among the best in the city. So warm up with a flight of tasters and visit the dark side.

1. 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 fall. 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

2. 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 can catch up quickly with drinkers who aren’t paying attention.

3154 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. 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 in Logan Square fills a niche for both bargoers 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 the premises. It also gives newish brewers an opportunity for more visibility, 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

4. 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 are also wine and classic cocktails. The Way Out is a playful spot that can serve as a shot and beer dive but also as an oasis for late-night snacking. Believe.

3213 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. 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; 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 the menu offers a variety of booze-free drinks, many of which use top-flight teas.

630 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

6. 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 prepared for the rain and cold 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 also offer to-go cocktails and growlers.

2553 S Ridgeway Ave
Chicago, IL 60623

7. 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

8. Esmé

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

Enter off Clark Street to venture into the bar side of this fine dining operations from a former chef at Next Restaurant. 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. Underground Cocktail Club

56 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654

While Billy Dec may be spending more time in Nashville these days, he injected some life into this iconic River North bar earlier this summer with a full makeover. Rather than the traditional bottle service that Hubbard Street bros enjoyed for years, Underground is trying to grow up by offering rare spirits that come out with oversized ice blocks. There’s also plenty of live music to keep the party going. 

56 W Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60654

10. Social Lounge at Four Seasons Chicago

120 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60611

The Four Seasons Chicago continues its major renovations with the unveiling of Social Lounge, its reservations-only bar inside the Gold Coast hotel. There’s live music inside a sleek space with plenty of bubbly drinks and fancy cocktails.

120 E Delaware Pl
Chicago, IL 60611

11. The Hi-Lo

1110 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Daija Guy/Eater Chicago

The owners of EZ Inn have poured a lot of resources into the Hi-Lo, a bar that caters to the daytime crowd with low-ABV drinks. The interiors are bright and there’s a unique outdoor area that’s covered, plus a fireplace. It’s a good spot to get some work done and stay a little longer to meet up with friends. 

1110 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

12. 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. Instead of leaning into Italian selections, Soif focuses 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

13. 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 instinct during the pandemic. The cocktails won’t weigh drinkers down if they elect to dance a little. Find spiked Topo Chicos and more.

1009 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. - Chicago

3827 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613

Smylie Brothers has opened a Lakeview brewpub with Texas barbecue and rotating beer list. Order flights of ales, lagers, and bocks. It’s a great place to spend a winter Friday.

3827 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613

15. Bar Goa

116 W Hubbard St Suite 1, Chicago, IL 60654

Bar Goa is inspired by the Indian coastal city, and its owners (they’re also behind Rooh Chicago) have opted for tropical drinks. The beverages use ingredients like ghee-washed gin. The bar occasionally has DJs and stand-up comedy performances. The menu is also satisfying with grilled chicken wings, Indo-Chinese fried rice, and green pea and chorizo hummus.

116 W Hubbard St Suite 1
Chicago, IL 60654

Related Maps

16. Dusk

1518 N Throop St, Chicago, IL 60642

This Lincoln Park bar, off the Elston Industrial Corridor, was designed by an architecture firm with an office next door; its workers wanted a more convenient place for happy hour. The space is bright and breezy and serves up classic drinks with a relaxed vibe.

1518 N Throop St
Chicago, IL 60642

17. Kitchen + Kocktails Chicago

444 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

This Dallas import has made a mark in Chicago and reservations for its main dining room are fully booked. But owner Kevin Kelley is urging those interested in visiting the Black-owned venue to walk in and enjoy their bar space. Find over-the-top drinks with lavish presentations and Instagram-friendly spots to pose with said libations. 

444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

18. Revolution Brewing - Brewery & Taproom

3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

It’s winter in Chicago, and for beer drinkers that means its barrel-aged stout season. Revolution Brewing’s taproom in Avondale serves up the company’s famous Deth’s Tar line of stouts. They’re among the best in the city. So warm up with a flight of tasters and visit the dark side.

3340 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

Related Maps