Everyone likes a good deal. And, luckily, Chicago is home to countless happy hour specials. But, beyond discounts, what about bites and sips that are on the house? Like, The Bamboo Room’s welcome daiquiri, or the truffle popcorn over at downtown steak seller Ocean Prime. Below, how to eat and drink in Chicago, gratis.Read More
Where to Find Free Food and Drink Around Chicago
A guide to some of the best complimentary items in town
1. Mango Pickle
For anyone who orders the naan or whole wheat tepla bread at Edgewater modern Indian restaurant Mango Pickle, expect to score a freebie order of mango pickles in flavors like lemon pickle, and dried garlic chutney with fenugreek seeds.
2. Artango Bar & Steakhouse
Chicago, IL 60625
Over at Lincoln Square’s Argentinean eatery Artango Bar & Steakhouse, every Wednesday night when guests order the steak flight for two, executive chef Saul Roman will send out one complimentary glass of malbec per person.
A revered neighborhood drinking hole where customers will be comfortable with a fancy drink or shot of malört in their hand, Scofflaw has endeared itself to guests in Logan Square. For years, the bar has handed out fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to customers at midnight. This friendly gesture is both an ideal nightcap and a nice bit of sustenance to continue the night’s activities.
Chicago, IL 60622
Wicker Park’s new American engagement etta likes to keep guests on their toes. On some weekend nights, the staff will come around to guests randomly and pour complimentary wine into their mouths from a porron.
5. Mity Nice
Since opening in 1993, Streeterville’s American eatery Mity Nice has offered guests warm and cheesy gluten-free popovers to start their meal, totally gratis.
At newish Streeterville addition WoodWind, executive chef Don Young is offering his take on Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion, in the form of the Bloomin’ Maitake (a whole-fried maitake mushroom with burnt sesame caramel, furikake, and bonito flakes). Guests who order the dish will snag a glass of Kawatsuru’s Crane of Paradise Junmai sake.
7. Tanta Chicago
River North’s creative Peruvian eatery Tanta offers a couple of freebies. While all guests receive complimentary house-made taro chips with minty aji huacatay dipping sauce, those seated at the bar also score snacky roasted and salted Peruvian corn kernels.
8. The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash
For guests who have reservations at covert River North cocktail bar The Bamboo Room within Three Dots and a Dash, beverage director Kevin Beary is serving a complimentary welcome daiquiri. He’s offering the frosty two sip libation in a mini coupe glass with hand-shaven Japanese ice.
9. Ocean Prime
Steak-centric chain Ocean Prime in The Loop is doling out free truffle popcorn to those seated in the restaurant’s lounge from 4 p.m. to close.
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10. ROOF on theWit
This past December, The Loop’s rooftop hang ROOF on theWit launched a new promo valid Sunday to Thursday, and Friday and Saturday before 9 p.m. Drop in and present a ticket from a local theater performance, art exhibit, or architecture tour (from venues such as the Chicago Theatre, the Art Institute, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Cadillac Palace, CIBC Theatre, or the Chicago Architecture Foundation) and score a free drink with the purchase of another drink.
11. About Last Knife
Mod steakhouse About Last Knife on North Michigan Avenue is teaming up with American Writers Museum for a Wednesday deal. Guests who dine at ALK and donate a book to the library of neighbor Hotel Julian score a complimentary drink from ALK’s new literary-inspired drink menu. Pick from options like Hemingway Daiquiri (rum, Maraschino, grapefruit, and lime), and The Giving Tree (sherry, cherry, and demerara sugar).
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12. The Florentine
Last week, The Florentine — the Italian eatery within The Loop’s JW Marriott — rolled out a pretty sweet happy hour deal. Groups who drop by Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and order cocktails will score a complimentary wood-fired pizza.
13. Lou Mitchell's
This classic Chicago breakfast spot in the Loop continues to please customers. During weekend mornings, when customers are perhaps a little dazed from staying out late the night before, the free doughnut house are the perfect mix of sugar and starch to stave off hunger pangs.
14. Davanti Enoteca
Rustic Italian haunt Davanti Enoteca wants guests to end their meals on a sweet note. The restaurant pours 1.5-ounce shots of house-made limoncello for all guests to close out their meal.