Best Outdoor Bars and Restaurants in Chicago, according to a Boothie in the Hospitality Industry

By: Julie White, Class of 2020

As summer approaches it’s time to start spending more time outdoor restaurants and bars. See below for a list of some of my favorites across the city:

Julie White Headshot.jpg

Loop

●     Cindy’s

12 S. Michigan Avenue

           www.cindysrooftop.com

Cindy’s (named after Cindy Pritzker) is great for a quick drink overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Be sure to go Monday-Wednesday to avoid the line.

Other hotel rooftop bars worth checking out: Upstairs at the Gwen, The Godfrey I|O, Streeterville Social, Raised at the Renaissance Hotel, LH Rooftop at the LondonHouse, Roof on theWit, Cerise at the Virgin Hotel, Boleo at Kimpton Gray, Waydown at the Ace Hotel, the Up Room at the Robey

●     Land & Lake Kitchen

           81 E. Wacker Drive

www.landandlakekitchen.com

Located on the ground level of the LondonHouse, Land & Lake Kitchen has a great location right cross the from the river.

Streeterville

●     The Hampton Social

164 E. Grand

www.hamptonsocial.com

The Hampton Social is within walking distance of Gleacher Center. There’s another location in River North that also has outdoor space.

●     Beatrix

671 N. St. Clair

www.beatrixrestaurants.com

Beatrix has a nice outdoor patio and is within walking distance of Gleacher Center. Be sure to get a Lettuce Entertain you card for points. There are a few other locations, including one in River North.

●     Drumbar

201 E. Delaware Pl.

www.drumbar.com

Drumbar is a swanky rooftop bar in the Raffaello. It’s usually less crowded than the other rooftop bars.

Near North:

●     Blue Door Kitchen + Garden

52 W. Elm St.

www.bluedoorkitchenchicago.com

Blue Door Kitchen is a more laid back restaurant in the Gold Coast. They have a beautiful garden attached.

●     Bounce Sporting Club

324 W. Chicago Ave.

www.bouncesportingclub.com

Formerly Citizen Bar, Bounce Sporting Club has a great rooftop bar with views of the city. Downstairs they have bar games and a DJ.

River North

●     Zed451

739 N. Clark

www.zed451.com

The rooftop of Brazilian restaurant Zed451 isn’t huge and can get crowded, but it’s worth visiting Monday-Wednesday.

●     River Roast

315 N. Lasalle Dr.

www.riverroastchicago.com

River Roast is a lesser known riverfront restaurant on the North side of the river. There are 2 levels for maximum river viewing opportunities.

Lincoln Park

●     The J. Parker

1816 N. Clark St.

           www.jparkerchicago.com

Jay Parker is my favorite rooftop bar in Chicago. See above for additional hotel rooftop bars. It has a retractable roof so it’s open year round.

●     Shore Club

1603 N. Lake Shore Dr.

www.shoreclubchi.com

Opening May 18, Shore Club is a seasonal pop up near North Avenue beach. The outdoor patio is first-come first-served, but they also have cabanas, daybeds and sunbeds for rent. You can lock your bike on the fence and they have a water bowl for dogs.

Logan Square

●     Park & Field

3509 W. Fullerton

www.parkandfieldchicago.com

Park & Field is a fun spot for a bigger group. You can reserve a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. They also offer bocce ball and a camper bar outside. Note the limited restrooms.

●     Parson’s Chicken & Fish

2952 W. Armitage Ave.

www.parsonschickenandfish.com

Paron’s is scattered with picnic tables and that get crowded on the weekends. There is another location in Lincoln Park.

Uptown/Edgewater

●     Waterfront Cafe

6219 N. Sheridan Rd.

www.waterfrontcafechicago.com

Located in a historic coach house on Lake Michigan, the Waterfront Cafe offers amazing views of the city. They have live music on weekends.

●     The Dock

200 W. Montrose Harbor Dr.

www.thedockatmontrosebeach.com

The Dock is a seasonal bar at Montrose Beach from May to October. They have live music most evenings and weekends.

South Loop

●     VU Rooftop Bar

1330 E. 53rd Street

VU opened in October near McCormick Place. It’s on the 22nd floor and has great views of the city. VU offers 3 bars and 2 patios.

Hyde Park

●     Promontory

5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W.

www.promontorychicago.com

Promontory is accessible from campus. They have an outdoor patio and feature live music.

●     Plein Air

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.

www.pleinaircafe.co

Plein Air is a charming coffeehouse in Hyde Park. Check out the outdoor patio!

West Town

●     The Dawson

730 W. Grand Ave.

www.the-dawson.com

The Dawson is a Michelin star restaurant off the beaten path in River West. They have a large outdoor patio that’s busy during Happy Hour.

West Loop

●     Aba

302 N. Green St.

www.abarestaurantchicago.com

Mediterranean restaurant Aba offers a lounge-style rooftop patio in the heart of the Fulton Market district.

As summer approaches it’s time to start spending more time outdoor restaurants and bars. See below for a list of some of my favorites across the city:

Loop

●     Cindy’s

12 S. Michigan Avenue

           www.cindysrooftop.com

Cindy’s (named after Cindy Pritzker) is great for a quick drink overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Be sure to go Monday-Wednesday to avoid the line.

Other hotel rooftop bars worth checking out: Upstairs at the Gwen, The Godfrey I|O, Streeterville Social, Raised at the Renaissance Hotel, LH Rooftop at the LondonHouse, Roof on theWit, Cerise at the Virgin Hotel, Boleo at Kimpton Gray, Waydown at the Ace Hotel, the Up Room at the Robey

●     Land & Lake Kitchen

           81 E. Wacker Drive

www.landandlakekitchen.com

Located on the ground level of the LondonHouse, Land & Lake Kitchen has a great location right cross the from the river.

Streeterville

●     The Hampton Social

164 E. Grand

www.hamptonsocial.com

The Hampton Social is within walking distance of Gleacher Center. There’s another location in River North that also has outdoor space.

●     Beatrix

671 N. St. Clair

www.beatrixrestaurants.com

Beatrix has a nice outdoor patio and is within walking distance of Gleacher Center. Be sure to get a Lettuce Entertain you card for points. There are a few other locations, including one in River North.

●     Drumbar

201 E. Delaware Pl.

www.drumbar.com

Drumbar is a swanky rooftop bar in the Raffaello. It’s usually less crowded than the other rooftop bars.

Near North:

●     Blue Door Kitchen + Garden

52 W. Elm St.

www.bluedoorkitchenchicago.com

Blue Door Kitchen is a more laid back restaurant in the Gold Coast. They have a beautiful garden attached.

●     Bounce Sporting Club

324 W. Chicago Ave.

www.bouncesportingclub.com

Formerly Citizen Bar, Bounce Sporting Club has a great rooftop bar with views of the city. Downstairs they have bar games and a DJ.

River North

●     Zed451

739 N. Clark

www.zed451.com

The rooftop of Brazilian restaurant Zed451 isn’t huge and can get crowded, but it’s worth visiting Monday-Wednesday.

●     River Roast

315 N. Lasalle Dr.

www.riverroastchicago.com

River Roast is a lesser known riverfront restaurant on the North side of the river. There are 2 levels for maximum river viewing opportunities.

Lincoln Park

●     The J. Parker

1816 N. Clark St.

           www.jparkerchicago.com

Jay Parker is my favorite rooftop bar in Chicago. See above for additional hotel rooftop bars. It has a retractable roof so it’s open year round.

●     Shore Club

1603 N. Lake Shore Dr.

www.shoreclubchi.com

Opening May 18, Shore Club is a seasonal pop up near North Avenue beach. The outdoor patio is first-come first-served, but they also have cabanas, daybeds and sunbeds for rent. You can lock your bike on the fence and they have a water bowl for dogs.

Logan Square

●     Park & Field

3509 W. Fullerton

www.parkandfieldchicago.com

Park & Field is a fun spot for a bigger group. You can reserve a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. They also offer bocce ball and a camper bar outside. Note the limited restrooms.

●     Parson’s Chicken & Fish

2952 W. Armitage Ave.

www.parsonschickenandfish.com

Paron’s is scattered with picnic tables and that get crowded on the weekends. There is another location in Lincoln Park.

Uptown/Edgewater

●     Waterfront Cafe

6219 N. Sheridan Rd.

www.waterfrontcafechicago.com

Located in a historic coach house on Lake Michigan, the Waterfront Cafe offers amazing views of the city. They have live music on weekends.

●     The Dock

200 W. Montrose Harbor Dr.

www.thedockatmontrosebeach.com

The Dock is a seasonal bar at Montrose Beach from May to October. They have live music most evenings and weekends.

South Loop

●     VU Rooftop Bar

1330 E. 53rd Street

VU opened in October near McCormick Place. It’s on the 22nd floor and has great views of the city. VU offers 3 bars and 2 patios.

Hyde Park

●     Promontory

5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W.

www.promontorychicago.com

Promontory is accessible from campus. They have an outdoor patio and feature live music.

●     Plein Air

5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.

www.pleinaircafe.co

Plein Air is a charming coffeehouse in Hyde Park. Check out the outdoor patio!

West Town

●     The Dawson

730 W. Grand Ave.

www.the-dawson.com

The Dawson is a Michelin star restaurant off the beaten path in River West. They have a large outdoor patio that’s busy during Happy Hour.

West Loop

●     Aba

302 N. Green St.

www.abarestaurantchicago.com

Mediterranean restaurant Aba offers a lounge-style rooftop patio in the heart of the Fulton Market district.

Julie is the Tourism Marketing Manager at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she works to increase attendance and awareness of the museum outside of Chicagoland. She oversees the museum's hotel and restaurant partnerships, and has been in the hospitality and tourism industry for 3 years. Julie's background is in marketing/social media, the arts, Chinese language/culture, and international relations. She is currently on classes 11 and 12, and plans to graduate in Fall of 2020.