Trendy rooftop bars with high-quality cocktails and noshes are the places to be in the summertime. Especially in Chicago, where we wait eight cold and blustery months until that magic season when the days become a little longer, the sun shines a little brighter and the drinks are just a little more refreshing.
Chicago has added more than 30 rooftops and patios in 2016 alone. The people have spoken and the restauranteurs (and venture capitalists) listened.
Because after all, the view from the top is always the best.
Oldies but goodies
401 N. Wabash Ave.
Whether or not you’re a supporter of Trump, don’t let politics get in the way of a good time at this breathtaking playground for the “in” crowd. The guy has prime real estate with scenic views of the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan. In other words, make Saturday night … great again? Note: Last call for alcohol is 11 p.m., and the roof closes at midnight.
Drink to try: Sacred Lotus
259 E. Erie St.
Although they opened for a hot minute in 2015 before we had to bid adieu for the season, GreenRiver is still on the newish side. With a nod to Chicago historical figures, this rooftop has a subtle Ch(Irish) theme going on. GreenRiver is situated on the 18th floor of the Northwestern Medical Center — a very unlikely locale for possibly one of the coolest rooftop bars in the city — and their cocktail game is on point and super original.
Drink to try: Hellcat
118 W. Grand Ave.
Tanta is to Chicago as butter is to bread. (Tanta means bread in Incan.) Tanta has been a Chicago mainstay for the last three years, and rightfully so with their innovative food and pisco-focused cocktail menu (a Peruvian yellowish grape brandy). Come for the view, stay for the food.
Drink to try: Pisco Punch
127 W. Huron St.
Situated atop the Godfrey Hotel, this airy space not only serves up sick beats most nights but also breakfast, lunch and dinner. This contemporary and white-on-white oasis could have been transplanted straight out of South Beach.
Drink to try: Pineapple Smash
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Perched high atop the Chicago Athletic Association, Cindy’s offers panoramic views of Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park and Monroe Harbor. This open-air terrace offers communal tables and a sharable menu, which are ideal for getting the gang together for happy hour or a late night soiree. Bonus: they even have fire pits to keep you warm when those lakefront winds pick up.
Drink to try: Grey Garden
New Kids on the Block
85 E. Wacker Dr.
This is one of the newest and coolest tri-level rooftop bars that I’ve had the opportunity to check out. This place has it all: the vibe, the libations and most importantly, the view.
100 W. Monroe St.
I just got word of Aire’s opening at the Hyatt Centric in the Loop, and I cannot express my excitement to give it a whirl. Who wants to have a standing Friday happy hour date? This place if perfect for a post-work cocktail with cozy couches, fire pits, and, of course, an alluring small plate and handcrafted cocktails, beers and wine.
1 W. Wacker Dr.
Quite possibly one of the most beautiful rooftop terraces I’ve seen. Raised an Urban Rooftop Bar used to be an unused meeting space. Seriously, best flip ever. This wraparound terrace is studded with fire pits and secluded areas perfect for snuggling up to your significant other.
Do you have a favorite rooftop you would add to my list? Also, let me know what handcrafted cocktails you like best @freshpickdwords on Twitter.