Prohibition, which banned the sale of alcohol throughout the United States from 1920 until 1933, shaped the country irrevocably – but it was arguably the city of Chicago, with its mobster network and deeply ingrained drinking culture, which was hit the hardest. Since then, The Windy City has truly risen from the proverbial ashes, not least in terms of its vibrant landscape of cocktail lounges and jazz bars, speakeasies and pubs, sports bars and hotel rooftops. But to really appreciate the Second City’s journey from bathtub gin and bootleg booze to the glittering present, you’ll need to hit up the best cocktail bars in Chicago.
Award-winning drinks from a veteran of The Violet Hour, Mike Ryan, have made Sable Kitchen & Bar a go-to destination. Located in River North, the drinks list features a mix of spicy, sweet and traditional cocktails with a twist, while the 40-foot bar in front is stocked with most liquors. Be sure to try the War of the Roses cocktail, made with Pimm’s and Chase elderflower liqueur.
The menu here is always changing, and all the cocktails are handcrafted, as are the boozy sodas. The bartenders have a penchant for using unusual ingredients, like syrup with maidenhair ferns, while the cocktails themselves are a nod to tradition mixed with tastes you won’t find anywhere else.
Opened in 2013, this tiki bar helped set off the trend of tiki-themed drinks in Chicago. The bar serves aesthetically pleasing cocktails, garnished with pansies and orchids in skull, coconut and tiki-head glasses. There are more than 165 rums, absinthes and spices available, plus a good range of delectable bar food, with the spicy-sweet Thai fried chicken a common favorite.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.