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Updated: Where to Drink in Chicago Right Now

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Sometimes you just need that perfect cocktail to unwind on a warm summer's day. Whether you fancy an Old Fashioned or a Margarita, the Cocktail Heatmap will help you quench that thirst. The updated map shows you more new places alongside old standbys so that you can hit up the hottest spots during the hottest months. These beverage programs have mastered the art of craft cocktails and their diverse concoctions will satisfy even the most selective drinkers. And if you just want a beer or something simple? Well, you should be ok there, too.

Did we miss your favorite spot? Leave us a comment and tell us where you like to drink.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Berkshire Room

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Benjamin Schiller, former head mixologist for Boka Group’s restaurants, now leads the way at this new craft cocktail lounge inside the ACME Hotel. Adventurous drinkers can order a dealer’s choice cocktail—chose a spirit and flavor—and leave it in the hands of the bartenders, or try one of the signature cocktails or barrel finished cocktails. Guests can also indulge in upscale bar snacks created by Chris Curren.

Ward Eight

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If you’ve missed In Fine Spirits, Ward Eight carries on the tradition in Evanston as a cocktail lounge and shop. The warmly lit, intimate space seats 35 and features local batch liquor and a carefully sourced beer and wine menu. In addition, wine and cocktail classes will be offered in the coming future.

DryHop Brewers

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Already so hot it’s considering expansion, DryHop Brewers’ opening beer list features six house brews available by the glass or growler. Selections include Shark Meets Hipster (wheat IPA), The Jury (American pale ale), Don’t Poke the Bear (oatmeal brown ale) and more. There’s also an extensive whiskey list and a rustic food menu focusing on bar snacks and larger plates.

The dec

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With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to hit up The dec, the rooftop lounge attached to deca on the 12th floor. Sip on craft cocktails while enjoying the skyline view on a hot Chicago day. And what better way to cool off than with an old-fashioned ice cream cart offering mini push pops in flavors like banana cream, lemon meringue and salted pretzel with milk chocolate.

Parson's Chicken & Fish

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The wait may be long for Parson's but that's just an excuse to hang out on the spacious back patio for a drink (or two). The summer's hottest spot offers a wide selection of beer including a housemade Michelada, craft cocktails, and everyone's favorite frozen treat—Negroni Slushy.

American Junkie

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Love all things American? Then head to American Junkie for the full-on experience with its retractable roof, descending DJ booth, largest single-panel high-definition television screen in the Midwest and plenty of US flags. The drinks menu offers a wide variety of draft and bottled beers, wines and craft cocktails like the Cheating Tiger (Jim Bean Black, Combier peach, tea, lemon) and You’ll Thank Me Later (Bombay gin, orange, thyme). Complementing them are dishes from the kitchen courtesy of chef Kendal Duque.

Gallery Bar

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An “art gallery gone rogue,” Gallery Bar is a new art gallery/night club concept that revolves around a street theme. The beverage program features beer cocktails named after local artists and famous works of art, as well as wines and spirits. The space displays and sells works from 25 local artists and is low-key during the week, turning into a party on the weekends with art performances and local DJ sets.

Billy Sunday

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Mathias 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, Negroni and Daiquiri. And a section solely devoted to tonics offers the Kent, one of the best Gin & Tonics in town.

The Grid

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Located in the space below what was once Baume & Brix, stop by The Grid and have a seat fireside on the leather couches or one of the communal tables. Drinks are created from the custom syrup program, specialty sodas, and homemade fruit purées. And forget regular bottle service, the team will craft specialty Manhattan’s and Old Fashions tableside for guests who purchase a bottle.

Charcoal Bar

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Charcoal Bar, which sits below Sumi Robata Bar, seats 11 and highlights the Japanese cocktail culture and the use of rare ingredients and boutique liquors. Seating is first-come, first-served for a taste of mixologist Matthew Lipsky’s concoctions.

¡Ay Chiwowa!

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Rockit Ranch Productions’ newest Mexican-themed dive features more than 80 tequilas, with four house-kegged tequila cocktails being the main attractions. The spicy and intriguing Acai Berry Jalapeno Margarita is made of maestro dobel reposado, agave, acai liqueur, jalapeño simple syrup, lime juice and orange squeeze. Add in an outdoor patio for summertime drinking and you can’t go wrong.

Bub City

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Mixologist Paul McGee’s drinks program focuses on dozens of whiskeys to complement the barbecue-heavy menu and signature cocktails include a Manhattan, Whiskey Tango and Horse’s Neck—Wild Turkey, lemon and ginger beer.

Siena Tavern

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Fabio Viviani’s rustic Italian spot features a delicious cocktail list by Revae Schneider. The drinks are simply labeled No. 1 through 11 with selections like the No. 5 (Maker’s Mark, averna amaro, allspice dram, marsala chai, lemon, angostura and sparkling apple cider), and the No. 9 (Jameson, gingerbread, crème de noisette, angostura and lime).

Off Site Bar

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The small, stand-alone microbar that sits behind Longman & Eagle holds 16 seats and features a beverage menu similar to L&E, but smaller and more tightly curated. When the weather permits, the space will also go open-air for some outdoors drinking.

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The subterranean 1920s-era speakeasy offers a swank lounge, private cabanas, live entertainment space and an enormous whiskey library with over 300 choices. The vast array of craft cocktails spans the globe and is accompanied by a mix of beers and wines. A menu of seasonal, local small and large plates for sharing complements the drink list.

Scofflaw

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If you like gin, then you’ve come to the right place. The Logan Square parlor combines the feel of your neighborhood bar with a craft cocktail menu that’s sure to please. The list favors gin-based libations (there's more than 50 types behind the bar), but includes enough variety to remain accessible to all. So take a break from the martini and try something new.

J. Parker

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Enjoy the view from the rooftop patio during the warm summer days and enjoy new bar manager Tony Selna's unique craft cocktails along with a punch bowl program that's J. Parker's answer to bottle service.

The Barrelhouse Flat

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Open since Fall of 2011, Stephen Cole's temple to cocktailing is still shaking things up in Lincoln Park with some deceptively strong craft drinks. The menu features all of the classics as well as some new concoctions, as well as punches that are available in flowing bowls.

The Aviary/The Office

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Award-winner Charles Joly leads the beverage program at this highly acclaimed spot and has been slowly turning over the cocktail list. Sit out on the patio on a nice night or try your luck and see if you can get into the exclusive Office underneath.

The Violet Hour

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The cocktail lounge that paved the way for the rest of the city is just as popular as ever. Step inside the intimate space and peruse through an extensive handcrafted drink menu that includes gin, vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey, brandy and portable bitters creations. Try the Juliet & Romeo or the Sazerac.

The Drawing Room

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You will have no problem bellying up to the bar at this modern restaurant and culinary cocktail lounge with an unmatched drink program in Chicago. The elite team of master bartenders, led by Cristiana DeLucca, are all intent on sharing the artistry and history behind your drink.

Drumbar

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Outgoing beverage director Craig Schoettler certainly put his mark on the beverage selection before he heads off to Vegas. His progressive cocktails and top-notch whiskies are not to be missed, especially on the rooftop in summer.

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The Berkshire Room

Benjamin Schiller, former head mixologist for Boka Group’s restaurants, now leads the way at this new craft cocktail lounge inside the ACME Hotel. Adventurous drinkers can order a dealer’s choice cocktail—chose a spirit and flavor—and leave it in the hands of the bartenders, or try one of the signature cocktails or barrel finished cocktails. Guests can also indulge in upscale bar snacks created by Chris Curren.

Ward Eight

If you’ve missed In Fine Spirits, Ward Eight carries on the tradition in Evanston as a cocktail lounge and shop. The warmly lit, intimate space seats 35 and features local batch liquor and a carefully sourced beer and wine menu. In addition, wine and cocktail classes will be offered in the coming future.

DryHop Brewers

Already so hot it’s considering expansion, DryHop Brewers’ opening beer list features six house brews available by the glass or growler. Selections include Shark Meets Hipster (wheat IPA), The Jury (American pale ale), Don’t Poke the Bear (oatmeal brown ale) and more. There’s also an extensive whiskey list and a rustic food menu focusing on bar snacks and larger plates.

The dec

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to hit up The dec, the rooftop lounge attached to deca on the 12th floor. Sip on craft cocktails while enjoying the skyline view on a hot Chicago day. And what better way to cool off than with an old-fashioned ice cream cart offering mini push pops in flavors like banana cream, lemon meringue and salted pretzel with milk chocolate.

Parson's Chicken & Fish

The wait may be long for Parson's but that's just an excuse to hang out on the spacious back patio for a drink (or two). The summer's hottest spot offers a wide selection of beer including a housemade Michelada, craft cocktails, and everyone's favorite frozen treat—Negroni Slushy.

American Junkie

Love all things American? Then head to American Junkie for the full-on experience with its retractable roof, descending DJ booth, largest single-panel high-definition television screen in the Midwest and plenty of US flags. The drinks menu offers a wide variety of draft and bottled beers, wines and craft cocktails like the Cheating Tiger (Jim Bean Black, Combier peach, tea, lemon) and You’ll Thank Me Later (Bombay gin, orange, thyme). Complementing them are dishes from the kitchen courtesy of chef Kendal Duque.

Gallery Bar

An “art gallery gone rogue,” Gallery Bar is a new art gallery/night club concept that revolves around a street theme. The beverage program features beer cocktails named after local artists and famous works of art, as well as wines and spirits. The space displays and sells works from 25 local artists and is low-key during the week, turning into a party on the weekends with art performances and local DJ sets.

Billy Sunday

Mathias 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, Negroni and Daiquiri. And a section solely devoted to tonics offers the Kent, one of the best Gin & Tonics in town.

The Grid

Located in the space below what was once Baume & Brix, stop by The Grid and have a seat fireside on the leather couches or one of the communal tables. Drinks are created from the custom syrup program, specialty sodas, and homemade fruit purées. And forget regular bottle service, the team will craft specialty Manhattan’s and Old Fashions tableside for guests who purchase a bottle.

Charcoal Bar

Charcoal Bar, which sits below Sumi Robata Bar, seats 11 and highlights the Japanese cocktail culture and the use of rare ingredients and boutique liquors. Seating is first-come, first-served for a taste of mixologist Matthew Lipsky’s concoctions.

¡Ay Chiwowa!

Rockit Ranch Productions’ newest Mexican-themed dive features more than 80 tequilas, with four house-kegged tequila cocktails being the main attractions. The spicy and intriguing Acai Berry Jalapeno Margarita is made of maestro dobel reposado, agave, acai liqueur, jalapeño simple syrup, lime juice and orange squeeze. Add in an outdoor patio for summertime drinking and you can’t go wrong.