Everyone agrees that the rooftop scene is a wonderful way to enjoy the summer in Chicago. With the city’s beautiful skyline as a backdrop there’s nothing that can top a happy hour or cocktail experience high above the hectic streets. We pick 10 of the best rooftop bars to try.
Nestled in Lincoln Park, the J Parker rooftop will have you gazing at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the city skyline, panoramic views of the lake, and maybe even the attractive people sitting on this patio. There’s no doubt that their drinks like ‘Let’s Get Lost’ or the ‘Rebel Rebel’ are always deserving of five stars, and their small bites are a perfect companion.
New to the River North rooftop scene, Joy District has a cool and eclectic decor. The overhead lighting, the beautiful paintings, the massive windows, the fun words lit up on the walls all combine for a mesmerizing experience. And the mouthwatering drinks and appetizers add to the draw. The cucumber coolers are top-notch. Unlike most places on Hubbard Street, this bar, club, and rooftop has an open door policy for all ages.
As if the Virgin Hotel wasn’t swanky enough, its rooftop bar, Cerise will inspire you to take your happy hour to the next level. Functioning as a rooftop bar and a nightclub with craft cocktails, this hot spot is in the heart of the Loop. With an elegant ambience, this place is always packed and the homemade honey whiskey is worth every penny.
This bar is notorious for staying open all year long. With a beautiful rooftop, and a fire pit, there’s nothing to complain about. Whether it’s a chilly summer night or a below freezing winter night the Vertigo Sky Lounge has you covered. Additionally, in the winter, there’s an ice bar set up in this chic winter wonderland.
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With the best aerial view of the Cloud Gate, Cindy’s rooftop has eye catching decor making even the small details gorgeous. From the cocktail glasses to the eclectic lighting, this is an Instagram-savvy experience. Favorite menu items include the meatballs, burrata, and scallops a la plancha. Some of the feature cocktails include the ‘Grey Garden’ and ‘We’ll Always Have Paris.’ There is also a fire pit here for the colder months.
Drumbar perfectly fits into the chic and trendy Streeterville neighborhood, and is an ideal spot to enjoy the beautiful patio atmosphere. If you’re strolling down the Mag Mile, this is the best place for a happy hour cocktail. The two cocktail favorites include the ‘Walk A Tight Rope’ and the ‘Hog Wild.’ These whiskey based drinks attract most people to keep coming back for more. Note that the happy hour specials run from Monday to Saturday.
Fremont is top-notch for brunch and Thursday happy hours. The weekend brunch buffet includes everything from a waffle station, to a seafood tower, a dessert table, carving station, charcuterie, salads, and more. Even better, there’s a phenomenal Bloody Mary bar with a plethora of fixings, and bottomless mimosas. Thursday happy hours include all-you-can-eat oysters and all you can drink Rose.
GreenRiver is stocked with refreshing beverage options for any and every mood. If you’re seeking a more tropical option for your visit on the warm and sunny terrace, then say no more, the passion fruit meets lemon drink known as the ‘Haley’s Comet’ is the choice for you. This rooftop offers light and tasty bites as well. We recommend the pea and avocado toast or the goat cheese salad. Note that this restaurant also takes reservations.
I|O Godfrey is not as high up as some of the other rooftops in the city, but it’s a swanky spot to hang with your friends where you can still feel the pulse of the city. This rooftop is open year round, and we recommend ordering the lobster Benedict, vegetable spring rolls or the charcoal grilled octopus.
The best time to visit the Roof is the summer when it buzzes with DJs and special guests. With a massive video projection screen and a popping dance floor, this will be a night to remember. Additionally, there are top-notch views of the Cloud Gate and the Chicago River.