The frigid winter is here but the drinking scene in Chicago is hotter than ever before. Whether you fancy an old fashioned, a forward-thinking cocktail or a craft beer straight from the source, the Eater Chicago Cocktail Heatmap will help you quench that thirst. The updated map shows you the hottest drinking spots in town along with a few mainstays where you can sip drinks and escape winter's chill.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Three Dots and a Dash
The subterranean tiki bar is still a tiki paradise that will have you wondering how you ever did without such drinks before, even without mastermind Paul McGee. 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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Paul McGee is at it again, swiftly opening one of the hottest bars in recent memory following his exit from Lettuce Entertain You and Three Dots and a Dash. Tiki is still the theme, yet the neighborhood, size and feel is a little different. Prepare to wait in line in peak hours.
The Drifter Chicago
A former original speakeasy is reborn as a pedigreed cocktail bar and "eclectic and eccentric" event space inside a small early 20th century time capsule connected to Green Door Tavern. Available cocktails change nightly and are printed on tarot cards.
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The Franklin Room
The folks behind Union Sushi + Barbecue Bar have curated one of the largest selections of whiskeys in Chicago in a swanky all-day bar and eatery in River North.
Above Black Bull in Wicker Park lies a beautiful semi-hidden bar and lounge with standout cocktails, throwback live music, and a crowd of both cocktail enthusiasts and partygoers.