Chicago Rooftop Bars Designed for Winter

Warm up outside on your next night out at these winter rooftop bars!

If this winter has you daydreaming of summer nights on a rooftop bar, you’re neither alone nor out of luck. 

Despite the freezing weather, some establishments in Chicago purposely designed their spaces with retractable roofs or created unique open-air structures that provide warmth to withstand the elements in style. Here are some of our faves.

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This South American-inspired hotel lounge will make you feel like you’ve escaped winter. Though patrons are under a retractable glass roof on the 15th floor of the Kimpton Gray Hotel, the space evokes the energy of South America with a colorful design of exotic palms and the beats of Latin music in the backdrop.

I|O Godfrey

The luxury Godfrey Hotel transforms its popular 4th-floor rooftop lounge into a winter wonderland during the chilly months of the year. Opt to eat and drink in the traditional rooftop space with a retractable roof, or enjoy the night al fresco in a heated Igloo Lounge. Both spaces are adorned with hundreds of twinkling lights and firepits. Seasonal chef-crafted cocktails like a Smoked Vanilla Manhattan and Snowflake Sangria enhance the mood.

Offshore Chicago

Known as the nation’s largest rooftop, Offshore is open all year round to provide the best eats and drinks. You can dine in their indoor atrium or keep warm outdoors next to one of their fire pits.

ROOF on the Wit

This stunning lounge set 27 stories above the Wit Hotel is one of the hottest nighttime destinations in the city and a favorite among celebs like Vince Vaughn, Bon Jovi and Pete Wentz. A huge retractable glass covering makes it possible to spot the city’s most famous landmarks on even the coldest of days while enjoying chic finger food and delicious hand-crafted cocktails.

The J. Parker Rooftop Bar

Sitting proudly above the Hotel Lincoln, the 13th floor J. Parker offers unobstructed 360-degree views of Lincoln Park, the lakefront and downtown. Sip on signature hot boozy cocktails or spiked hot chocolate under a glass-enclosed retractable rooftop.

Upstairs at the Gwen

This open-air lounge atop The Gwen Hotel’s fifth-floor terrace has taken rooftop enjoyment to a whole new level. The rooftop is complete with a curling rink, TVs, lounge seating, heaters and gas-fire pits.

VU Rooftop Bar

A rare rooftop spot in the South Loop, this 13,000 square foot gem features a solarium with retractable glass walls, so guests can enjoy this space year-round. Finished with karaoke, cushy seating and long, fire pit-water fountain combination structures that you have to see to believe, VU offers a chill, yet upscale environment. They also have a heated winter igloo!

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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