Now that Chicago weather is finally showing signs of getting out of its weird in-between-seasons rut, it’s time to start drinking outdoors! That means new rooftop bars, and there’s a good crop of them for 2019. Here are four of my favorites.
The popular River North spot for Rosé All Day came to Streeterville last fall, but it’s debuting its patio this summer. It’s actually got two spaces that will make you feel like you’re outdoors: The main dining room is all floor-to-ceiling walls that slide open, and then there’s the actual patio, which overlooks Streeterville and seats about 60.
The best thing about this space may be that it’s not a million feet in the air — you still get a great rooftop vibe without the wind and noise. Plus, it’s got a unique view of the neighborhood, and you can slurp all the frosé you want. 164 E. Grand Ave.
The new Hoxton hotel in the West Loop is full of awesome food and drink (we profiled the main restaurant, Cira, a couple of months ago) but the summer star is definitely going to be Cabra. This is the first time Stephanie Izard has done a rooftop, and with multiple lounge spaces, a swimming pool, fireplaces, and tons of delicious ceviche, it’s more than just a patio with a decent view. 200 N. Green St.
OK, Hush Money isn’t quite on a rooftop — it’s more like a really pretty upstairs outdoor patio. But it’s off the ground, and it hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention this season. This second-floor bar at Mordecai overlooks Wrigley Field, making it perfect for people-watching on game days. Their cocktail menu is made for sophisticated outdoor drinking (like the “Bills in Foil,” a combination of pear cider, tequila, agave, and citrus), and when you get hungry, run downstairs to Mordecai — or to Big Star, right nearby. 3632 N. Clark St.
If you’re in the South Loop, this is definitely one of the most exciting things to open near you this year. On the fifth and sixth floor of the Hotel Essex, there’s a new two-level open lounge with a gorgeous, over-the-top interior and Asian-inspired menu. You might giggle a little at some of the dish names (I dare you to say “Asparagus Experience” without cracking up), but you can’t beat the space. 800 S. Michigan Ave.