Step into the dynamic cocktail culture of the Windy City as we unveil the Best Cocktail Bars in Chicago, Illinois. Beyond its architectural marvels and rich history, Chicago boasts a thriving scene of mixology mastery. This guide navigates you through the city’s most inventive and stylish establishments, where expert bartenders craft liquid masterpieces. From hidden speakeasies with an air of mystery to rooftop lounges offering panoramic views, Chicago’s cocktail landscape is as diverse as the city itself. Join us on a journey to discover the artistry, innovation, and unforgettable libations that define the top-tier Cocktail Bars in this Midwest metropolis. Cheers to the spirited tapestry of flavors awaiting you in Chicago.
Head to East Albany Park to visit Bokeh, a cozy cocktail lounge with light fare and creative drinks. There’s a regular in-house DJ, and the atmosphere is relaxing and casual. It’s ideal for an evening with a group of friends. I like the bittersweet house Bokeh drink with citrus. The Turkish Delight with rum is also fantastic.
The Violet Hour is an upscale bar with cocktails in Wicker Park. It’s just off W North Ave, near the local community garden, and you can relax in the swanky bar with a handcrafted drink. I suggest trying a Ruby in the Sky shaken cocktail or the Saz-Daddy cinnamon apple brandy.
Head over to Three Dots and a Dash in the River North area. It’s a Polynesian cocktail bar with retro vibes and a tropical theme. This hip joint features fruity cocktails, fresh pressed juice, and authentic aged rums. I like the Caribbean rum Painkiller cocktail with tangerine, pineapple, and coconut.
The Aviary is an upscale cocktail lounge in Fulton Market. It’s hip and trendy, with creative drinks for everyone in your crew. Try my favorite focaccia bread with whipped ricotta cheese and olive oil, and pair your meal with a Cody Road rye Red Hook with orange bitters and maraschino.
I like to visit Kumiko when I’m in Chicago. It’s a Japanese cocktail bar on W Lake Street, not far from the Chicago River. The spot has hip vibes, and you can try creative Japanese plates with your favorite cocktail. Check out the Sea Flower gin or Last Rose cocktail with elderflower.
Billy Sunday is an award-winning cocktail bar in Logan Square Park. It’s across the street from the Illinois Centennial Monument, and the bar has a vintage vibe and gourmet menu. I like to order a Normandy draft cocktail with hints of lemon verbena. You may also enjoy the Sunday Candy cocktail with coffee liqueur.
Visit the trendy Cuban bar for a vintage art deco vibe. The retro interior of the circa 1927 building gives the bar a Prohibition-era feel. Sparrow is in the Near North Side district, near Oak Street Beach. I like to order a Grasshopper when I’m at Sparrow.
Matchbox Bar is a tiny cocktail bar in the River West district. Visit early in the evening, as this spot tends to get busy! This hip bar has been around for over 75 years and claims the title of Chicago’s oldest. I like to grab a seat on the outdoor patio and sip a Cosmopolitan or Pinot Rose wine.
I always visit The Victor Bar when I’m in the city. It’s on N Damen Ave in north Chicago and has a modern feel. This chic bar features some of my favorite drinks like the Scotty Doesn’t Know scotch and local beers like the Palm Shade IPA and Helles Lager.
The Sixth is a trendy cocktail bar on W Lawrence Ave in the Ravenswood district. It’s a modern spot with specialty ice, seasonal ingredients, and top-tier cocktails. Try the Sherry Baby cocktail with spiced pear, or check out the Hidden Gem rye and vermouth with hibiscus and hints of citrus.
Don’t leave Chicago without visiting Vol. 39 in the downtown area. It’s near all the top sights, including the Art Institute of Chicago and Willis Tower. This upscale cocktail lounge is in the lobby of the Kimpton Gray Hotel. Try a Chaos Warp tequila or a relaxing Hot Spiced Cider.
Are you a fan of gin cocktails? Scofflaw in Logan Square is a perfect choice for you. The trendy late-night cocktail bar features global cuisine and chic drinks like the Broker’s London Dry Shipwrecker, the Rye Swizzle, and the Past Life with Letherbee gin. Don’t forget to try Korean rice cakes!
Arbella Chicago is a hip cocktail lounge and loft on W Grand Ave, near the iconic Merchandise Mart in the River North district. It’s a trendy, modern spot with small bites and housemade cocktails. I suggest trying a tequila lime seltzer cocktail. The menu changes seasonally, so call ahead to see what’s on.
Visit Moneygun, a no-nonsense cocktail and small plates bar in the West Loop Gate area. It features New American cuisine, and the place feels hip yet relaxed. I like to grab a Cosmopolitan vodka with cranberry cordial or a Bee’s Knees cocktail with gin, honey, and lemon when I visit Moneygun.
You have to visit The Whistler in northwest Chicago. It’s an ideal place for music lovers, and you can hear live DJs or local bands perform at the cocktail bar. The vibe is relaxed, and the menu features cocktails like the Edge of Tomorrow and Old Faithful.
Are you looking for a speakeasy in Chicago? Look no further. The Drifter is the top speakeasy in Windy City, and the place has a vintage, chic vibe. It’s an upscale basement bar in the River North district, and you can order cocktails based on tarot cards and movie references. Try the Ace pear cider if you get a chance.
Weegee’s Lounge is a spot in Logan Square you won’t want to miss. It’s a 1940s-themed pub with a cocktail bar, shuffleboard table, and craft beers. The place is cozy and ideal for a romantic evening or a small group of friends. Try the classic Manhattan or Corpse Reviver cocktail.
I like to visit Lazy Bird, a cellar-level cocktail bar in the famous Hoxton hotel. It has a chic yet relaxed vibe with unique handcrafted cocktails and a small snack menu. Head to the Fulton Market area and visit this trendy joint. I recommend the Espresso Martini for an extra kick.
Check out Bordel Cabaret & Cocktail Bar before you leave Chicago. It’s on West Division Street and features lots of live performances. This upscale cocktail bar is in the East Village and is among my favorite in the city. I suggest ordering a daiquiri or a white banana negroni.
Drive to the River North area and visit The Bamboo Room, a tropical cocktail lounge not far from the river. It’s a perfect place to visit when you’re in downtown Chicago. Sample the Hot Buttered Rum drink, or check out an Isle of Mango cocktail with blended whiskey and vanilla.
King of Cups is a classy cocktail bar with an extensive menu. The goth environment is dimly lit and features chandeliers and funky decor. Hit up King of Cups after visiting the iconic Oz Park in Chicago’s North District. I recommend drinking an Absolute Rule gin at the cocktail lounge.
Love Street is a low-key cocktail bar in the Sheffield and DePaul area of Chicago. It’s not far from Wrightwood Park and is ideal for a chill afternoon with friends or family. I like to order a vodka lemonade usually. Or, try a local Helles Lager draft beer.
Elixer Lounge is a cocktail bar that has something for everyone. The environment is casual, and the bartenders serve classic and innovative cocktails in Chicago’s Northalsted district. Try a Dark and Stormy rum cocktail, or check out a shaken drink. I like the Mint Julep with bourbon and simple syrup.
The Green Mill is the best cocktail bar in Chicago for jazz lovers. It’s a jazz club with live shows and plenty of drinks. The spot is north of the Uptown district, near the Riviera Theatre. Sample a chardonnay, red wine, or draft beer. I like the Mendoza from Argentina.
Spilt Milk is a 1920s-themed cocktail bar north of Palmer Square on W Fullerton Ave. I like to visit and enjoy the old-school vibes and classic cocktail mixes. I recommend visiting from 4-7 on weekdays for happy hour. Try the Itsy Bitsy Cider cocktail with spiced maple syrup and lime.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including chicago.eater.com, theinfatuation.com, timeout.com, chicago.eater.com, choosechicago.com and secretchicago.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.