While the fall brings some chillier weather, the drinking scene in Chicago continues to heat up. Whether you fancy an old fashioned, a margarita, or a craft beer, the Eater Chicago Cocktail Heatmap will help you quench that thirst. The updated map shows you more new places along with a couple old favorites where you can sip drinks in the crisper weather. These beverage programs have mastered the art of booze and their concoctions will satisfy selective drinkers and those who want something simple, too.Read More
The Eater Chicago Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now
Here are the 18 hottest places to drink in Chicago.
This hotspot from Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner combines elements of a cocktail lounge, classic Chicago dive, French hunting club and retail store. Four cocktail offerings rotate on a daily basis, many utilizing an amaro machine, and there’s also a selection of packaged goods including whiskey, wine and bitters available for sale.
Dancing, skee ball and all-around fun; Danny Shapiro's selection of bottled cocktails and the tight and cheap beer selection make the Slope one of the hottest bars of the season.
Three floors of art deco stylings, a new rooftop deck, and a massive book of a cocktail menu add up to a can't-miss drinking experience.
Lagunitas Brewing - Chicago
An oasis of fresh Lagunitas beer straight from the source is your prize for navigating the trippy maze of winding hallways and stairwells within the newly-opened largest brewery in the state.
Brendan Sodikoff's refreshing of one of Chicago's oldest bars has added a massive cocktail menu, an updated buildout and will soon add a tobacco shop next door while still keeping much of the classic vibe in tact.
Former Violet Hour bartenders Robby Haynes and Henry Prendergast have opened a den of progressive cocktails, Creole food and dancing in Logan Square. Analogue's cozy, 50-seat space offers a small cocktail list that changes frequently and includes purls, which are beers laced with bitters. Also look for the dance floor, the elevated DJ booth and very good New Orleans-style dishes from chef Alfredo Nogueira.
Three Dots and a Dash
Paul McGee’s bar is a tiki paradise that will have you wondering how you ever did without such drinks before now. Step through an alley doorway to a theme world of skulls, pirate ships, straw hut-covered bars and plenty of rum cocktails. There are classics like Mai Tai and Pago Pago, as well as more modern riffs like Painkiller No. 3 (Bajan rum, Jamaican rum, coconut liqueur, passionfruit, pineapple, cream) served in a variety of souvenir mugs.
You may not be able to get into most of Soho House, but you can always drink at The Allis. A tight selection of craft cocktails, wine and beer, as well as food, is served in a beautiful backdrop on the West Loop boutique hotel's ground floor.
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Located in the basement of Thalia Hall under Duesek’s Board and Beer, Punch House is a ‘70s-style cocktail bar offering sailor-inspired punches. Bring some friends because while you can order by the glass, you’ll need help for the carafes and punch bowls, as well as the new fondue for two. Options include the Dusek Punch, featuring Good bourbon, lemon, raw sugar, dark ale and nutmeg.
Henry's Swing Club
The myriad of fun drinks, parlor games, and relaxed vibe at Henry's are a unique and welcome addition to the River North party scene.
The Red Lion Pub
The beautiful build-out, hard-to-find British beers, stacks of books and interesting conversation at the resurrected Red Lion Pub combine to give Lincoln Park an anti-party bar.
Billy Lawless’ “drinking-focused restaurant” features an extensive beverage program crafted by Clint Rogers and a massive patio. Each drink is meant to be paired with an item from the food menu, and utilizes housemade sodas, aperitifs and both clear and brown liquors. Interesting wines by the glass and draft beers are also available alongside shots of the day.
CH Distillery & Cocktail Bar
Out to change minds about vodka, CH Distillery is Chicago’s first distillery with a cocktail bar. The focus is on vodka but gin, rum and whiskey are also available in spirit-driven cocktails, as well as a blossoming selection of house-made apertifs and rarer liquors.
Bright, loud and lively, the West Loop sister spot to Takito Kitchen is a fun place to down Mexican-inspired craft cocktails and chef David Dworshak's creative dishes while listening to a DJ, live band or the buzz of the room.
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Rockit Ranch and Kevin Hickey's drinking-focused restaurant includes one of the best cocktail selections in Chicago.
Mercadito's late-night drinking den is finally open following a lengthy delay and offers a massive menu that covers nearly every alcoholic beverage you can imagine.
Matthias Merges’ cocktail haven Billy Sunday has received rave reviews and it’s not hard to understand why. Building off the successful Yusho beverage program, mixologist Alex Bachman puts his twist on classics like the Old Fashioned, Bijou and Daiquiri. And a section solely devoted to tonics offers the Kent, one of the best Gin & Tonics in town.
The Aviary/The Office
"World's best" bartender Charles Joly leads the beverage program only until the end of October at this highly-acclaimed cocktail kitchen from the Alinea team. Andrew Brochu heads up the food menu and if you're feeling lucky, try and see if you can get into the exclusive Office underneath.