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Two goblets filled with beer, one a dark stout on the right and a light lager on the left.
Turner Haus is open in Bronzeville.
Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

Where to Drink Cocktails Right Now in Chicago

Sixteen options for great drinks around town

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Turner Haus is open in Bronzeville.
| Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

Damp January? We hardly knew you. 2024’s first month is done in a flash, and maybe the groundhog will give Chicagoans some good news about spring. Regardless, it’s time for the latest Eater Chicago Cocktail Heatmap.

This listing features mostly new taverns or restaurants with notable cocktail or beer offerings. Think of it as a sibling to Eater’s bedrock, its monthly restaurant heatmap.

A quartet of bars arrives — Chicago’s first Black-owned brewery taproom, a hot owner-operated West Town dive, a unique Japanese-Mexican fusion spot in Wicker Park, and a Logan Square favorite worth stopping by again. Cheers.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

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 husband Joe Briglio mix up “Asian-ish” takes on classic cocktails, creating Old Fashioneds, highballs, and margaritias with baiju, soju, and shochu. Punch has named it one of the best new bars of 2023.

Bungalow by Middle Brow

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Middle Brow continues to reinvent itself in Logan Square. The brewery, which has a love for wild beers and makes some of the city’s best pizza, has dove head first into the world of natural wine, offering funky and easy-going pours with grapes from Michigan and California. This move has created Chicago’s first natural winery.

A bottle of wine poured into a glass on a picnic table. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Bistro Monadnock

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This charming street-level French restaurant, a short distance from Harold Washington Library in the Loop, screams old-school Chicago. The bar is the ideal space to escape the busy city with dark woods and brass rails. The food is marvelous, but the bar space is also a treat during the week. Sometimes the Heatmap isn’t about a bustling room, but a place where drinkers can talk with a bartender, shuck a few oysters, or eat a dynamite burger while ordering a stiff martini.

Desert Hawk

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Division Street in Wicker Park has seen a few phases in recent years. Once a neighborhood for creatives, the bar scene has shifted to more sporty and family-friendly. Desert Hawk reverses that trend, returning a little charm to the area. The West Coast owners want to bring a little of the Golden State to Chicago with tequila drinks and an arsenal of cocktails. The food is also noteworthy: there are tacos and smash burgers from Cocina Sublime. Formerly known as Taco Sublime, they’ve popped up at Marz Community Brewing and Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club and specialized in cheesy, griddled food.

Marina's Bistro and Rum Bar

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Chicago loves its tropical drinks, especially during bitter winters. In Uptown, a first-time restaurant owner has opened Marina’s Bistro and Rum Bar which serves Puerto Rican cuisine. Find ridiculous concoctions like the “El Viejo San Juan cocktail” (coconut rum, pineapple rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream). It’s a four-seat bar, so this is a place for an early nightcap if customers aren’t eating a full meal.

Lilac Tiger

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Indian restaurant Wazwan has transformed as chef Zubair Mohajir, Arami owner Ty Fujimura, and Kimski chef Won Kim, have opened a bar with several holdovers (burgers, fried chicken sandwiches) from the old menu, plus new items like spicy chicken nuggets, duck fried rice, and more. Lilac Tiger features fun cocktails from beverage director David Mor inside a remodeled space. This bar embraces Indian, Korean, and Japanese flavors in its drinks and food.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery – West Loop

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It’s finally here — Guinness’ gargantuan brewery has opened, north of Randolph Restaurant Row and Fulton Market. They don’t pour liquor — only beer — and there are different Guinness variants, some of which are even brewed on sight. There’s also a series of non-alcoholic drinks and beer cocktails. The kitchen makes food including Irish pub classics and items with Jamaican and African influences — places where Guinness has breweries. During the day, Intelligentsia coffee and Aya pastries are available.

A brewery taproom with an enormous harp sculpture. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The Gatsby Speakeasy

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The Bourgeois Pig, a coffee shop in Lincoln Park, has served DePaul students and others in the community for three decades. Ownership decided to remodel the upstairs apartment space, turning it into a speakeasy, leaning into gangster lore — customers even need a password to enter; the steel door comes from a Prohibition-era speakeasy. At night, the rest of the coffee shop morphs into a wine bar where customers can with their turns until a space upstairs opens up. The cocktails are aces and ownership has made a real effort to make the space feel like stepping back into a bygone era.

A low lit room with wooden tables adjoins a brighter red room. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Nobody's Darling

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Nobody’s Darling, the joyfully defiant queer bar that earned James Beard nods in Andersonville, unveiled a significant expansion in October that nearly doubled its capacity and added a second bar. They’ve also added some new drinks named for Black queer legends including Nina Simone (mezcal, sumac, ginger, banana) and Eartha Kitt (gin, Aperol, Earl Grey, cucumber bitters). Co-owners Renauda Riddle and Angela Barnes, two of only three Black owners of LGBTQ bars in Chicago, plan to follow up with a sister bar on the city’s South Side.

Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Jook Sing

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Jook Sing takes an outsider’s view of East Asia, with food and drink inspired by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean flavors. It’s from the owners of the Press Room and while there’s a night market aspect with a retail section of ingredients, the space is more of a bar with well thought out bites. A liquor license remains in limbo — they’re BYO until then. But when they’re ready, hopefully soon, find drinks like a cocktail with cognac, rye, umesho, sake vermouth, and umami bitters, plus slushies and more.

Deep Red Wine Merchant

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It’s been a minute since Deep Red Wine Merchants announced their wine shop, an ideal component to complement Logan Square’s bizarre obsession with horror. The shop isn’t horror themed, but with a need like “Deep Red” a customer’s imagination can wander. Folks can attend wine classes or Dungeons & Dragons events at the store or grab a few bottles for home consumption.

Since the pandemic’s start, there have been only a few new owner-operated bars in Chicago. Lemon is a throwback to the “owned by the people for the people” spirit with friendly bartenders who will make nearly any drink customers can ponder, including some very clever takes on classics. This bar doesn’t have a lot of fancy whistles design-wise, and that’s wonderful for folks who want a classic dive experience, but maybe actually want clean bathrooms. The space is dark but warm — ensuring everyone who’s not a jerk has a good time is the goal.

Valedor

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The owners of the Robey hotel in Chicago have created a unique space with art projected on the walls, and a menu that blends a little Japanese flavors with Mexican. There are elements of Valedor that make it feel like a club, but on off nights, it’s a fun bar in Wicker Park that pushes the envelope versus the glut of sports bars that are popping up in the neighborhood.

Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

Signature

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Former Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije has taken an interest in the South Loop, and he’s taken over the former Harbor space. The ex-NFL player has partnered with Stephen Gillanders, the chef behind S.K.Y., Apolonia, and Valhalla, on a sports bar near Soldier Field with club elements to make it a classy spot for game watching during the day and a place for people watching at night.

Turner Haus Brewery

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Turner Haus is one of a handful of Black-owned breweries and their specialities extend to many different beer styles. They’ve partnered with local coffee shop chain, Sip & Savor, to give a Bronzeville space life at night. The space gives Turner Haus their own taproom, the only such venue owned by Black brewers in a predominantly Black community. Those pioneering traits aside, the beers are unique and include a stout aged in Uncle Nearest bourbon barrels.

Steven Turner pushes a full glass of beer toward the edge of the bar.
Turner Haus Brewery is Chicago’s only Black-owned brewery taproom.
Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

Best Intentions

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Best Intentions isn’t a new bar. But when it reopened late in 2023, it was a welcome sign for folks who like a great pub burger and fancy drinks, but don’t want to deal with the downtown crowd. This is one of the best neighborhood bars in America and it’s often crowded on weekends. It’s one of the most popular bars in Chicago and it keeps getting better.

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 husband Joe Briglio mix up “Asian-ish” takes on classic cocktails, creating Old Fashioneds, highballs, and margaritias with baiju, soju, and shochu. Punch has named it one of the best new bars of 2023.

Bungalow by Middle Brow

Middle Brow continues to reinvent itself in Logan Square. The brewery, which has a love for wild beers and makes some of the city’s best pizza, has dove head first into the world of natural wine, offering funky and easy-going pours with grapes from Michigan and California. This move has created Chicago’s first natural winery.

A bottle of wine poured into a glass on a picnic table. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Bistro Monadnock

This charming street-level French restaurant, a short distance from Harold Washington Library in the Loop, screams old-school Chicago. The bar is the ideal space to escape the busy city with dark woods and brass rails. The food is marvelous, but the bar space is also a treat during the week. Sometimes the Heatmap isn’t about a bustling room, but a place where drinkers can talk with a bartender, shuck a few oysters, or eat a dynamite burger while ordering a stiff martini.

Desert Hawk

Division Street in Wicker Park has seen a few phases in recent years. Once a neighborhood for creatives, the bar scene has shifted to more sporty and family-friendly. Desert Hawk reverses that trend, returning a little charm to the area. The West Coast owners want to bring a little of the Golden State to Chicago with tequila drinks and an arsenal of cocktails. The food is also noteworthy: there are tacos and smash burgers from Cocina Sublime. Formerly known as Taco Sublime, they’ve popped up at Marz Community Brewing and Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club and specialized in cheesy, griddled food.

Marina's Bistro and Rum Bar

Chicago loves its tropical drinks, especially during bitter winters. In Uptown, a first-time restaurant owner has opened Marina’s Bistro and Rum Bar which serves Puerto Rican cuisine. Find ridiculous concoctions like the “El Viejo San Juan cocktail” (coconut rum, pineapple rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream). It’s a four-seat bar, so this is a place for an early nightcap if customers aren’t eating a full meal.

Lilac Tiger

Indian restaurant Wazwan has transformed as chef Zubair Mohajir, Arami owner Ty Fujimura, and Kimski chef Won Kim, have opened a bar with several holdovers (burgers, fried chicken sandwiches) from the old menu, plus new items like spicy chicken nuggets, duck fried rice, and more. Lilac Tiger features fun cocktails from beverage director David Mor inside a remodeled space. This bar embraces Indian, Korean, and Japanese flavors in its drinks and food.

Guinness Open Gate Brewery – West Loop

It’s finally here — Guinness’ gargantuan brewery has opened, north of Randolph Restaurant Row and Fulton Market. They don’t pour liquor — only beer — and there are different Guinness variants, some of which are even brewed on sight. There’s also a series of non-alcoholic drinks and beer cocktails. The kitchen makes food including Irish pub classics and items with Jamaican and African influences — places where Guinness has breweries. During the day, Intelligentsia coffee and Aya pastries are available.

A brewery taproom with an enormous harp sculpture. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The Gatsby Speakeasy

The Bourgeois Pig, a coffee shop in Lincoln Park, has served DePaul students and others in the community for three decades. Ownership decided to remodel the upstairs apartment space, turning it into a speakeasy, leaning into gangster lore — customers even need a password to enter; the steel door comes from a Prohibition-era speakeasy. At night, the rest of the coffee shop morphs into a wine bar where customers can with their turns until a space upstairs opens up. The cocktails are aces and ownership has made a real effort to make the space feel like stepping back into a bygone era.

A low lit room with wooden tables adjoins a brighter red room. Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Nobody's Darling

Nobody’s Darling, the joyfully defiant queer bar that earned James Beard nods in Andersonville, unveiled a significant expansion in October that nearly doubled its capacity and added a second bar. They’ve also added some new drinks named for Black queer legends including Nina Simone (mezcal, sumac, ginger, banana) and Eartha Kitt (gin, Aperol, Earl Grey, cucumber bitters). Co-owners Renauda Riddle and Angela Barnes, two of only three Black owners of LGBTQ bars in Chicago, plan to follow up with a sister bar on the city’s South Side.

Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Jook Sing

Jook Sing takes an outsider’s view of East Asia, with food and drink inspired by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean flavors. It’s from the owners of the Press Room and while there’s a night market aspect with a retail section of ingredients, the space is more of a bar with well thought out bites. A liquor license remains in limbo — they’re BYO until then. But when they’re ready, hopefully soon, find drinks like a cocktail with cognac, rye, umesho, sake vermouth, and umami bitters, plus slushies and more.

Deep Red Wine Merchant

It’s been a minute since Deep Red Wine Merchants announced their wine shop, an ideal component to complement Logan Square’s bizarre obsession with horror. The shop isn’t horror themed, but with a need like “Deep Red” a customer’s imagination can wander. Folks can attend wine classes or Dungeons & Dragons events at the store or grab a few bottles for home consumption.

Lemon

Since the pandemic’s start, there have been only a few new owner-operated bars in Chicago. Lemon is a throwback to the “owned by the people for the people” spirit with friendly bartenders who will make nearly any drink customers can ponder, including some very clever takes on classics. This bar doesn’t have a lot of fancy whistles design-wise, and that’s wonderful for folks who want a classic dive experience, but maybe actually want clean bathrooms. The space is dark but warm — ensuring everyone who’s not a jerk has a good time is the goal.

Valedor

The owners of the Robey hotel in Chicago have created a unique space with art projected on the walls, and a menu that blends a little Japanese flavors with Mexican. There are elements of Valedor that make it feel like a club, but on off nights, it’s a fun bar in Wicker Park that pushes the envelope versus the glut of sports bars that are popping up in the neighborhood.

Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

Signature

Former Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije has taken an interest in the South Loop, and he’s taken over the former Harbor space. The ex-NFL player has partnered with Stephen Gillanders, the chef behind S.K.Y., Apolonia, and Valhalla, on a sports bar near Soldier Field with club elements to make it a classy spot for game watching during the day and a place for people watching at night.

Turner Haus Brewery

Turner Haus is one of a handful of Black-owned breweries and their specialities extend to many different beer styles. They’ve partnered with local coffee shop chain, Sip & Savor, to give a Bronzeville space life at night. The space gives Turner Haus their own taproom, the only such venue owned by Black brewers in a predominantly Black community. Those pioneering traits aside, the beers are unique and include a stout aged in Uncle Nearest bourbon barrels.

Steven Turner pushes a full glass of beer toward the edge of the bar.
Turner Haus Brewery is Chicago’s only Black-owned brewery taproom.
Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

Related Maps

Best Intentions

Best Intentions isn’t a new bar. But when it reopened late in 2023, it was a welcome sign for folks who like a great pub burger and fancy drinks, but don’t want to deal with the downtown crowd. This is one of the best neighborhood bars in America and it’s often crowded on weekends. It’s one of the most popular bars in Chicago and it keeps getting better.

Related Maps