Explore Chicago

Holiday Dining in Chicago

When elves are left to their own devices, the result is one spirited dining experience in Chicago. These Chicago restaurants make the season bright.

The next best thing to chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Why, a bar or restaurant all decked out for the holidays. Fete the season inside these festive spaces, some of which get into the spirit all year long.

The Drake
(Courtesy of The Drake)

Italian Village

It’s that time of year when grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles break bread. Now here’s a restaurant that knows a lot about family dining. Founded by the Capitanini family in 1927, the Loop institution dishes up platters full of red- and white-sauce pasta dishes, plus meat and seafood entrees in a dining room reminiscent of an old-world piazza strung with white lights. Pre- or post-meal, check out the neighboring Christkindlmarket for selfies by the soaring city tree and mugs of hot spiced wine. 71 W. Monroe St., 312. 332.7005

Lawry’s Prime Rib

It’s not often that you’re eating prime rib, and your hosts bust out into song. But it’s a tradition at this Mag Mile steakhouse, which channels the Victorian era with carolers dressed in full period garb. See the strolling crooners perform tableside from Dec. 1-30. 100 E. Ontario St., 312.787.5000

The Palm Court

Most days of the year, you’re scarfing down a sandwich at your desk and rushing through news feeds to catch up with the world. Stop and savor the moment in one of Chicago’s truly sumptuous spaces for the holidays. Ideal for girlfriend groups and leisurely family time, holiday tea in this Drake Hotel restaurant wows with its holiday panache—right down to the live harpist, “12 Days of Christmas” carolers and oversized tree greeting guests at the foot of the stairs. 11 am-5:30 pm. 141 E. Walton Pl., 312.787.2200

Lockwood

The experience at this contemporary restaurant starts long before the first bite on the plate. Ascend an escalator to lock eyes on the painted ceiling, ornate candelabras and giant Christmas tree, a backdrop for afternoon tea service. 17 E. Monroe St., 312.917.3404

Butch McGuire’s

In the contest for the biggest and brightest Christmas display, there’s no doubt: Butch wins. A Division Street institution—equal parts sports bar and Irish pub—the scene would make Santa proud with lights strung throughout, double-decker model trains and kitschy mobiles that make for curious conversation for pints on end. 20 W. Division St., 312.787.4318

Tavern at the Park

Said park is Millennium, where just outside this classic American grill, locals swirl around McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a wintry scene all in the shadow of the “Bean.” Inside the restaurant, cozy up to winter cocktails in a gussied-up dining room of oversized wreaths, Christmas trees and twinkling white lights. 130 E. Randolph St., 312.552.0070