Setting The Bar in Chicago

Discover the best cocktail bars in Chicago

While it’s long been known as a city where you could grab a stiff drink or two, Chicago’s current cocktail scene is shaking things up with a variety of new options. It’s all thanks to a slew of mixologists that are nabbing headlines just as much as the great chefs around town with their creativity seen in every pour. Feel like a regular at these local spots that pride themselves in Chicago’s rich cocktail history, from mob favorites to award-winners hidden behind an unmarked door. Enjoy straight up classics, whimsical creations and twists on retro favorites. Any way you like ‘em, these delicious drinks will have you asking for another round (or three) before the night is over. 

Travelle

Drinking as an art form takes on new meaning with Travelle’s art-inspired cocktails. Each drink on a special new menu at the restaurant inside The Langham, Chicago is influenced by a famous painting from masters such as impressionist Vincent Van Gogh to surrealist Frida Kahlo. While each drink is influenced by an original painting (some of which can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago), the mixologist uses a bit of artistic license to create these signature sips, like the Frida Colada  that weaves mango puree alongside classic flavors of pineapple, coconut and rum. 330 N. Wabash Ave., 312.923.7705

Lost Lake

Tucked away in a Logan Square storefront, this award-winning tiki bar is a tropical escape from Chicago’s bitterly cold winters with classics like a citrusy Mai Tai that packs a punch. 3154 W. Diversey Ave., 773.293.6048

Green Mill

A favorite of Al Capone, Uptown’s Green Mill serves strong drinks and cool jazz. Crowds enjoy live music every night paired with the lounge’s classics like a strong Manhattan or Old Fashioned. 4802 N. Broadway, 773.878.5552

Up Room

Enjoy Up Room’s Chicago-inspired cocktails while taking in a breathtaking view of the city skyline from the 13th floor. A new menu pays tribute to the Great Chicago Fire with drinks like “Burning Down The House.” 2018 W. North Ave., 872.315.3082

Bordel

Harkening back to speakeasy clubs of Chicago’s Prohibition past, Bordel is a sultry spot tucked away in Wicker Park. Catch a cabaret or burlesque set while sipping craft cocktails, including the Bananas Foster Old Fashioned. 1721 W. Division St., 773.227.8600 

The Violet Hour

This multiple James Beard Award winner is the bar that put Chicago on the craft cocktail map. Seasonal menus offer house-made ingredients that showcase why it’s one of the country’s best bars. 1520 N. Damen Ave., 773.252.1500

Selena Fragassi
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