No visit to Chicago is complete without exploring its characterful and charismatic neighborhoods, and Lincoln Park is the pick of the bunch. Home to DePaul University and a must-visit zoo, this buzzing part of town also has a wide variety of restaurants and bars. Whether it’s rooftops, patios or sports bars you’re after, Lincoln Park is a sure winner.
The J. Parker
Bar, American, $$$
The J. Parker is situated on the 13th floor of the Hotel Lincoln
More than simply a bar, The J. Parker is an all-out experience thanks to its panoramic rooftop position on the 13th floor of the Hotel Lincoln. The jewel of the neighborhood with its exquisite views across Lincoln Park, The J. Parker runs an excellent cocktail menu and a stylish wine list, making it the perfect pit stop for both day and evening drinks. And, to keep pace with the moreish drinks on offer, there’s a well-appointed mix of small to large plates with distinctly modern American flavors.
For beer lovers, a visit to Local Option is an absolute must. With its anything-but-average line-up of crafts, drafts and bottles, ranging from local to national and international options, expect to discover unusual new tastes along with more traditional house favorites. Local Option posts a weekly rotation of drafts on its website, and the bar team are more than willing to share their stellar knowledge of all things suds. And, with a decent metal soundtrack playing all night long, if that’s your jam, there’s more than enough ambience to persuade you to settle in for the evening.
With what can feel like a very long winter, it’s not hard to see why Chicagoans take patio season extremely seriously, opting to drink al fresco as much as possible during the warmer months. Compass Bar fully embraces this Chicago character with its good-size patio, beer-centric menu – think 180 bottles and 20 draft options – and wood-fired pizzas. Compass Bar is also an excellent option in the colder months thanks to its cozy interior and sociable sweeping bar.
Chicagoans have a passion for craft cocktails, and few come better than at The Barrelhouse Flat – one of the city’s most lauded neighborhood spots when it comes to the art of mixology. Offering a lively list of up to 70 libations, from the classics – like its delicious take on a french 75 – through to quirkier signature sips such as the punchy El Diablo, the bar also serves up a tempting selection of European-inspired dishes to satisfy all tastes.
Beermiscuous is the go-to for craft beer enthusiasts
Something of a hipster hang-out for craft beer nerds, Beermiscuous brands itself as a “coffee shop for beer,” and it certainly doesn’t disappoint with its relaxed café vibes, large cozy sofas and fireplace. The bar has an extensive draft selection on rotation, with sampling widely encouraged thanks to four-ounce pours. The ‘Beeristas’ are also more than happy to walk you through the menu to find your ideal brew. Carry-out service is an option, too, with every beer available in single bottles, so you can mix and match to make your dream six-pack.
Offering multiple TV screens and up to 24 beers on tap, The Arrogant Frog Bar is Lincoln Park’s premier sports bar. With plenty of personality and sports banter from both bar staff and patrons, it’s a friendly spot to catch the game, chat with Chicagoans and shoot pool. And, in true Chicago style, Wednesday nights play host to a weekly jazz series, while on Sundays there’s an excellent bloody mary bar.
If you like your drinks with a big helping of fun on the side, you can’t go wrong with Replay. Come for the vast array of beer options, and stay for the head-spinning selection of retro arcade games, pinball machines, air hockey and Skee-Ball. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Replay also hosts seasonal-themed pop-ups – with past events including a Game of Thrones experience. It’s worth checking out the bar’s website in advance to find out what’s coming up.
In a neighborhood that’s dominated by the craft beer scene, 404 Wine Bar Co. offers an alternative for those seeking a more sophisticated sip. Choose from an expertly curated list of wines from around the world, available by glass or bottle, and pair with European-style charcuterie and cheeses, filled flatbreads and other small plates. True to its name, expect sommelier-style service from the bar staff and a wonderfully cozy, candlelit ambience.