Five Bars We’re Looking Forward To

Bixi SUMMER An Asian-inspired hang with brews and a rooftop deck from burger master Bo Fowler (Owen & Engine) 2515 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square Cruz Blanca SPRING It’s surprising that it’s taken Rick Bayless, a guy who does a little of everything, this long to get into the beer game. Look for Latin twists … Read more

Milk Room

Yep, more Paul McGee (see No. 1), this time showing off a collection of rare spirits in a tiny nook of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel. In exchange for some inconvenience—you have to put down $50 in advance to reserve one of the eight stools for a two-hour seating—you’ll sip some of the smoothest cocktails … Read more

Empirical Brewery

This bare-bones space loses points for a scarcity of creature comforts (such as seating), though it’s all in the service of the standout base menu of complex, malty beers, which are approachable yet still interesting enough for seasoned drinkers. But the “experimental brews” are a beer geek’s dream come true: Hop-obsessed staffers ask for your … Read more


If you’re still remembering the summertime queues snaking past the elevator here, cheer up: Cold weather means no waiting for a perch at this rooftop spot. Like Milk Room (No. 3), it’s part of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Reminiscent of a Great Lakes vacation house, complete with wood and picnic tables, Cindy’s delivers insane … Read more

Band of Bohemia

It’s a beer hall for people who wouldn’t otherwise be caught dead in one. This well-appointed space blurs the line between bar and restaurant, offering seasonal small plates matched to five carefully considered brews. Thanks to the deft touch of brewmaster Michael Carroll (who in a past life was Alinea’s baker), these beers drink like … Read more


GreenRiver’s perch on the 18th floor of a medical building may put you off. But with one of Julia Momose’s intricate yet effortless cocktails in hand, you’ll forget all about the odd location. Leaning on the bar alongside a tie-loosened after-work crowd, you’ll realize that high-end cocktailing doesn’t have to be fussy to draw a … Read more

Broken Shaker

The boundary-pushing award goes to this Miami import, where bartenders use everything from pork bitters to porcini mushrooms in the 15 original cocktails. Though the Chicago-inspired concoctions sometimes miss the mark, the daily punch—on one recent visit, a combo of blood orange and rum—always scores. The bar is inventive enough to entertain both trend-chasing River … Read more