It’s been an unseasonably cool spring but warmer days are coming. As temperatures continues to rise, there’s excitement in the air for everyone’s favorite time of the year: patio season. Get a head start and check the map below to see the newest spots to enjoy food and drinks outside. They’re bound to be some of the most popular places over the next few months so make that summer bucket list now. Listed from north to south.Read More
15 New Spots for Chicago’s Patio Season, 2017 Edition
Sun’s out, fun’s out
Southport Corridor continues to receive exciting dining additions to its growing lineup. The latest big opening comes courtesy of 4 Star Restaurant Group, which is building a mini empire in the neighborhood. Ella Elli has seduced diners with a sleek and intimate setting along with a globally-inspired menu. Out on the patio, the chic aesthetic plus pastas, pizzas, and glasses of bubbles make for a cozy date night.
Mi Tocaya Antojería
Diana Dávila is off to a hot start at her new restaurant, dazzling both diners and critics. An outdoor patio doubles the seating of the small space and allows more guests to try the talented chef’s creative takes on Mexican favorites and regional specialties. So far, standout dishes include beef tongue with peanut butter salsa, enchiladas potosinas, and cactus stew.
Tacos on patios are all the rage and Adolfo Garcia and Phil Stefani’s new taqueria is aiming to be Lincoln Park’s most sizzling attraction this summer. Guests can bring their favorite four-legged friends outside (it’s dog-friendly) and lounge the day away with kegged margaritas and fried chicken tacos.
Park & Field
Chicagoans have already been enjoying the spacious 6,000-square-foot patio at Park & Field since it debuted over the winter but soon they’ll be able to do so without huddling around the fire pits. In keeping with the old-timey vintage gym theme, guests can also play bocce on the outdoor courts.
Wicker Park residents now have another trendy rooftop to lay out and relax on. Cabana Club, situated atop The Hollander, has just opened its 160-seat deck on the sixth floor for the season. Although the club’s pool is only for hotel guests, everyone is free to grab a seat at one of the surrounding chairs, couches, and tables. Rounding out the experience is a 180-degree view of the skyline, Mexican-inspired fare, and plenty of booze (of course).
Pizzerias are a dime a dozen in Chicago but this newcomer is in a class of its own. The pies are baked for three-and-a-half minutes to produce a thin and crispy crust that’s neither Neapolitan nor New York-style. It provides the base for toppings like littleneck clams, which are typically an East Coast specialty. When summer arrives, even deep dish purists won’t be able to argue against a Bebu slice and a glass of wine outside on the patio.
The Talbott Hotel has just completed extensive renovations and reopened. Guests will find a brand new restaurant on the ground floor, aptly-named after the historic Gold Coast building’s address. It’ll be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so guests can enjoy modern American plates on the patio all day long.
Centennial Crafted Beer & Eatery
Chicago is certainly a drinking town and there’s little reason to ever settle for anything less than the finest. Craft beerheads should be delighted by Centennial, a bi-level gastropub in River North that delivers more than 50 brews on tap and elevated bar food like smoked kielbasa and confit pork shank. For those who are sick of PBR and dry burgers, hop over for lunch or dinner on the patio and discover a new favorite beer.
Punk rock meets nonna’s red sauce favorites at this Italian pub. Sure, pastas and chicken parm are aplenty in Chicago but no place has quite the same pizzazz as Bar Lupo, where guests can jam out to the Velvet Underground and saber bottles of champagne. On a warm evening, spend happy hour on the front patio and indulge in $5 spritzes.
Vertical Sky Lounge is no more but a new urban oasis has sprung up in its place. The redesigned Dana Hotel & Spa rooftop now sports comfy couches, carpet-like turf, and green shrubbery to help guests escape the bustle of the city. The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group's Benjamin Schiller heads the serious beverage program, which includes a $15,000 bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.
The Conrad Chicago hotel will unveil the last of its three restaurants on May 22 when rooftop hangout Noyane opens to the public. Richard Sandoval and chef James Lintelmann have crafted a “modern Japanese” menu featuring sushi, nigiri, and steamed buns. To complement the food, patrons can sip on Japanese whiskies, beers, sakes, and sangrias while taking in stunning views of downtown.
Fat Baby Tacos
Take a break from work and head to the newest River North taqueria for some midday fun. Drool-worthy tacos and burritos come filled with slow-roasted chicken, char-broiled steak, and more while other items include vegetarian pozole and jicama and cucumber salad. With only a few seats on the patio, it’s destined to be a popular spot to post up with a pitcher of margarita or sangria.
Inject bright Latin flavors into the day by relaxing over chef Cory Morris’ South American bites. His spring menu is ideal for al fresco dining and highlights dishes such as refreshing ceviche mixta made with tuna; and pulpito, charred octopus with salsa criolla. Pair it with a rum-based cocktail and people watch the action on Restaurant Row for a perfect afternoon break.
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Toast and whiskey are an unlikely pairing but this all-day West Loop eatery has turned the concept into a surprise hit. Drop by for espresso and avocado toast in the morning and then return for Old Fashioneds and whiskey pours on the 70-seat patio after work.
Just when it seemed like Chicago’s hottest rooftop scene couldn’t possibly get any better, Cindy’s recently announced the addition of a new outdoor terrace bar. Starting later in May, guests will be able to soak up rays and imbibe a selection of rosés, rotating large format cocktails, and boozy popsicles.