Roof on The Wit
Roof on The Wit. To see photos of the other rooftop bars, launch the gallery »


Studio Paris

River North
Average cocktail, $9; 2nd floor
Trendy twenty-somethings come to be seen at this luxurious deck with a retractable glass roof. The scene does get rowdy as the night goes on (hooting to the street below), and bottle service can be more than you need. Go early, when you can sit in the good seats and order drinks á la carte. 59 W. Hubbard St.; 312-595-0800


III Forks Steakhouse

Lakeshore East
Average cocktail, $12; 2nd floor
Upstairs from the dining room, this tasteful rooftop lounge offers civilized quaffing within earshot of live music radiating from the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The edited bar menu offers a best-of roster of small bites and entrées from the steak house. 180 N. Field Blvd.; 312-938-4303


Terzo Piano

Average cocktail, $12; 3rd floor
The gorgeous terrace of Tony Mantuano’s chic canteen atop the Modern Wing at the Art Institute offers the best views of Millennium Park. You and your smart-about-art pals can sip creative cocktails and, this summer, chat about the onsite sculptures by Katharina Fritsch. 159 E. Monroe St.; 312-443-8650


The Terrace

Mag Mile
Average cocktail, $12; 4th floor
The Peninsula Chicago’s chic fourth-floor deck has been outfitted to a theme this summer: Shanghai in its goldern era. The ladies who lunch will love the decadent drink menu—for example, the Golden Apple (Absolut Orient Apple, Sauterne, gold flakes). We love the fact that you can snack on dim sum day or night. 108 E. Superior St.; 312-573 6695


Wet Deck

Gold Coast
Average cocktail, $13; 7th floor
The W Chicago Lakeshore’s street-level patio already attracts a fun mix of young professionals with its unobstructed views of Lake Michigan. The new Wet Deck on the seventh floor is that much loftier. 644 N. Lake Shore Dr.; 312-943-9200


The J. Parker

Lincoln Park
Average cocktail, $12; 13th floor
Perennial Virant’s rooftop lounge at the new Hotel Lincoln has been in the works since winter, when sipping alfresco craft cocktails seemed unthinkable. It wasn’t open at presstime—but Lincoln Park is already salivating. 1816 N. Clark St.; 312-254-4700


The Terrace at Trump

River North
Average cocktail, $18; 16th floor
Still indisputably in possession of the city’s best view from a bar, the 16th-floor terrace at the Trump hotel now has 32 more seats. 401 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-588-8000



Gold Coast
Average cocktail, $15; 18th floor
Nightlife guru Benjamin Newby (The Underground) promises his new cocktail lounge will be more Motown than meat market. A 1,500-square-foot terrace at the Raffaello Hotel, with secluded city views, is the setting for whiskey-centric cocktails mixed tableside. 201 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-235-6312


Vertigo Sky Lounge

River North
Average cocktail, $11; 26th floor
There’s something about the intimate size of the Dana Hotel’s 26th-floor terrace, lit by a fire pit, that makes it feel more like an open-air house party than a hotel lounge—buzzing with youngsters but pleasantly laid-back. 2 W. Erie St.; 312-202-6000


Roof on the Wit

Average cocktail, $14; 27th floor
The patio has gotten a makeover just in time for summer—more tables, fewer couches, retractable roof—and this steadfast scene of loud revelers isn’t likely to die down anytime soon. Order a Sex on the Roof (Absolut Citron, St-Germain, Aperol, citrus) and embrace the chaos. 201 N. State St.; 312-239-9501

Photograph: Darkroom Demons