Sour cherry old fashioned from the Library
The 8 Best Hotel Lounges
Allium at the Four Seasons
Allium lives up to the Four Seasons’ lofty standards: paneled walls, leather chairs, flawless service. At the same time, it also manages to be a convivial and cozy place—the Magnificent Mile’s clubby corner bar.
Find it: 120 E. Delaware Pl., 312-799-4900, alliumchicago.com
The Bar at the Peninsula Chicago
Warm red walls, a flickering fireplace, and a name that is simplicity itself. Sink into an easy chair and let the impeccable wait staff pamper you: Order a glass of wine and they’ll tote the bottle to your table and pour it there.
Find it: 108 E. Superior St., 312-573-6766, peninsula.com
Crimson Lounge at Hotel Sax
With a labyrinthine layout, dimly lit suites, lush scarlet couches, a decadent surfeit of art, and a glittering bar that makes it futile to resist overindulgence, this place will have you thinking of liaisons—dangerous or otherwise.
Find it: 333 N. Dearborn St., 312-923-2473, crimsonchicago.com
The J. Parker at Hotel Lincoln
This splashy rooftop bar was the see-and-be-seen alfresco destination when it debuted last summer. But with a 55-seat indoor space affording sweeping sights of the ice-capped lake and sparkling skyline—not to mention seasonal craft cocktails—it has no wintertime blues.
Find it: 1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4747, jparkerchicago.com
The Library at the Public Chicago
This Gold Coast spot plays Nick Carraway to the Pump Room’s Gatsby: elegant, happening, and just far enough removed from the scene to let you enjoy the panorama. With vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, faux-fur chairs, and wood walls, everything feels like the old sport’s reading room. Mind the hotel prices.
Find it: 1301 N. State Pkwy., 312-787-3700, publichotels.com/chicago
Lockwood Bar at the Palmer House
Snare one of the 17 stools at the lobby bar and savor, along with your cocktail, scenes from Greek mythology on the frescoed ceiling and the pleasing buzz of the bustling crowd—a quintessential urban hotel experience.
Find it: 17 E. Monroe St., 312-917-3404, lockwoodrestaurant.com
Rebar at Trump International Hotel & Tower
Classy without being ostentatious—everything the Donald is not—this mezzanine- level lounge at the Trump serves up chic cocktails and unparalleled visual treats: the Chicago River, the DuSable Bridge, and Lake Michigan.
Find it: 401 N. Wabash Ave., 312-588-8034, trumphotelcollection.com
Roof at theWit
This 7,000-square-foot rooftop may shift from swanky postwork destination to glitzy nightclub in a matter of minutes, but the simple yet strong drinks—and unobstructed views of nearly the entire Loop—remain. Word to the wise: Get there before 10 p.m. on weekends, when the lines start forming.
Find it: 201 N. State St., 312-239-9501, roofonthewit.com
Photography: Anna Knott