A patio is a terrible thing to waste, though it’s an inevitability when only half the year in Chicago is al fresco friendly. But one of River North’s hottest rooftop bars is refusing to stay cooped up. IO Godfrey’s Winter Wonderland, now in its fifth year, transforms the hotel lounge’s expansive fourth-floor terrace into an outdoor oasis.
Thanks to clear dome igloos, fire pits, and patio heaters, the rooftop is downright cozy, even when the temps dip below freezing. Committing to a purchase from the bottle menu will score you reservations for a coveted igloo, but all patrons are welcome to hang out on the patio to take in the skyline views or grab a selfie amid the Wonderland decor.
Even with heaters, it’s still a good idea to dress for the cold (though we did see plenty of brave patrons hanging out sans winter wear). If you do find yourself ill-prepared for the chill, help yourself to the rack of insulated robes.
Winter Wonderland’s menu features seasonal drinks and snacks, including hot libations like the Godfrey Toddy— an herb-infused take on the classic cold-weather cocktail — and the Winter Crush, glögg made with brandy from local favorite Rhine Hall Distillery. Need something to nibble on? Order a s’mores kit and roast the classic campfire treat on one of the cabana fire pits.
Winters in Chicago are enough to break even the most strong-willed, so we’ll welcome any attempt to claw back that stolen time from Mother Nature’s icy clutches. The crowds on our recent visit made it pretty clear: We love our outdoor drinking spaces, and not even the threat of frostbite is enough to keep us from taking advantage of them.