• Brindille

If you’ve opted for exotic frog legs, 200+ Old World wines, and magnum pours of Champagne in River North over another Public House bro-down, congratulations: you've made a wise decision. Steve says: "It is a bar that offers an elegant and comfortable experience. The theme from its inception is 'refined Parisian.' It complements the extraordinary French fare with sophisticated wines and cocktails that are designed specifically to complement the dining experience. The absinthe program is another aspect that has remained a hidden gem in the city."

  • Take in the skyline from Promontory Point

Enjoy an incredible view of the city from the Alfred Caldwell-designed Promontory Point in Burnham Park. The south lakefront park also has beaches and bird sanctuaries to explore.

  • Visit one of only seven Bahá'í Temples in the world

You'll have to travel a little bit out of the city, but that's a small price to pay to explore one of only seven of these beautiful temples in the world.

  • Explore one of the most underrated museums in Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Photography regularly collaborates with artists, photographers, communities, and institutions from around the world to bring cool exhibitions to the forefront for free. Check out this gold mine for thought-provoking photography, and also consider these other free museums in the city if your minds are hungry for more.

  • Izakaya Mita

This inviting Bucktown pub channels old-school izakayas with its easy-going atmosphere featuring oak accents and Japanese bric-a-brac above the bar and a menu of East-meets-West shareable plates from Chef Toshi Motegi and Japanese drinks. Start with spicy Chinese-style cucumber (lovingly poached from Izakaya Sankyu in Mount Prospect) and meaty skewers grilled over bincho tan. Among hearty plates, don’t miss the delicate gyu tataki, with fanned slices of ponzu-dressed rare sirloin or the tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet). Friendly staff will expertly guide you on a Japanese drinking tour via 15 sakes, 11 shochus, five whiskys, and 15 draft and bottled beers.

  • The Izakaya at Momotaro

Underneath the chic Japanese behemoth Momotaro is the equally posh -- if slightly less buttoned-up izakaya anchored by a U-shaped bar. There’s plenty to drink, including cocktails, sake, beer, wine, and whisky, but it’s the small menu of mostly savory shareable plates that sets this spot apart including unexpectedly killer house-made bread. Two rectangles of elegant uni toasts are generously heaped with creamy, oceanic sea urchin heated with a bit of spicy chorizo and cooled by pickled celery. Juicy, crispy-skinned chicken thigh skewers will transport you to the streets of Tokyo, while audibly sizzling clams swim in bright, savory sake-laced broth that you’ll want to soak up with more of that buttery, springy toast.

  • Yusho

The bold small plates match the bustling energy at this Japanese street food spot that’s something of a love letter to Tokyo. The high bar offers great sight lines into the kitchen, where chefs deftly grill up everything from meaty octopus to juicy lamb meatballs and thin-skinned shishito peppers. Crunch on salmon and chicken skins while you sip a boozy soda or one of the formidable offerings of Japanese and domestic beers. Then share a bowl of mentaiko carbonara, a seaside leaning take on the Italian pasta with spicy cod roe and bucatini from sister restaurant A10. For executive chef/owner Matthias Merges, izakaya is as much about the energy as the food and drink: “A great izakaya has all the components of the experience: great environment, well-crafted straightforward, whimsical food, great bar program, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff.”

  • Sumi Robata

Sumi Robata leans fancier than traditional izakayas, but Chef Gene Kato’s River North spot is a can’t-miss for minimalist Japanese grilling at its best. Kato helms the glass-enclosed, 26ft robata grill where he expertly chars bites of tender wagyu ribeye, teriyaki-slicked salmon, meaty shiitakes, and even romaine. Balancing the grilled items are elegant chilled plates like cubed tofu with caviar and crispy ginger and velvety chicken liver mousse with Japanese mustard. Pair your bites with a range of dry to rich sakes, 10 Japanese beers, or one of a few bottled cocktails. Start or end your night downstairs at the fire aftermath-themed charcoal bar, where a heftier list of craft cocktails includes Fleming Studied Abroad, tinged with peaty Laphroaig Scotch, lemon, ginger, and white oak whiskey.

  • Ani

Opened in the former Chizakaya space, this two-year-old brother ("Ani" means elder brother in Japanese) spot to Arami serves up a rich mix of Japanese fare, from sushi to noodles, rice bowls to robata items. But every Monday night is dedicated to izakaya, with a rotating menu of East-meets-West dishes like fried oyster mushrooms with wasabi cream and karaage chicken, plus a roving sake cart that serves up a little sake education with table-side $4 pours. “Our weekly offerings are things that people can feel familiar with but still get Japanese flavors,” says owner Ty Fujimura. “Japanese cuisine is a much broader genre than just sushi. Or ramen for that matter.” Don’t worry sushi lovers, the regular menu is still available on Mondays.

  • Lure Izakaya

This former Chinatown spot was reborn in Lakeview in 2015, and serves up seriously good Japanese comfort food. Don’t let the nine-part menu (organized by classic Japanese cooking styles) or somewhat starkly modern interior throw you -- the food here simple and richly comforting. Standout cold (kobachi) items include Wagyu carpaccio, with a drizzle of truffle oil and creamy tobiko, and marinated raw zuke salmon, zingy with rice vinegar. They’re also great at deep-frying (agemono) -- evident in kara age, crackly fried chicken hunks with rice and shaved bonito; ika geso, squid legs with satisfying crunch; and chef’s special filleted tempura-fried whole snapper (eyes and all) with ponzu dip. Wash it down with a selection of sakes, shochus or bright craft cocktails like the jalapeno- and Japanese pickle-infused agave roundhouse.

  • Hash

Accented with hippie-era relics and mosaic-topped tables, this playful eatery promises just the sort of calming environment necessary for housing excessive quantities of its namesake hash. Try a large order of the "pork bubble and squeak" with bacon fat hash if you know what's good for you.

  • Fork

Given social media’s love affair with epic, over-the-top food mashups, it’s surprising that the jaw unhinging “showstopper” at this real-deal farm-to-table destination hasn’t become an Instagram favorite yet; we’re here to change that. Get your phones ready, because the brunch-ready monster, which features a 1lb prime beef patty poised atop a Belgian waffle "bun" and smothered in cheddar and Swiss, is as delicious as it is photogenic.

  • Uncommon Ground

Why wait for the weekend to roll around when you can get your brunch on daily at this two-location sustainability-driven concept. Comforting fare like chorizo-loaded chilaquiles and breakfast sliders are made wholesome thanks to locally sourced and family farmed ingredients, and there are several vegetarian/vegan-friendly options for those that are into that sort of thing.

  • Mortar & Pestle

Satisfy your brunch needs and a case of wanderlust simultaneously at this globetrotting hideaway in Lakeview. Breakfast-y options range from foie gras and eggs with truffle carpaccio, crème fraîche, chives, and toast to Middle Eastern foule mudammas with labna, olives, zaatar, and pita, while lunch-leaning dishes include a shockingly great Cubano packed with slow roasted pork and Thai curry butternut soup with citrus marinated shrimp, fried garlic chip, and coriander leaf.

Aire100 W. Monroe St. 312-236-1234 Perched on the 24th floor of Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago, this oasis in the sky offers 360 degree views of the city’s best architecture, fire pits, lush greenery, cozy couches and umbrella-topped tables for post-work maxing and relaxing. Expect a menu with small plates, handcrafted cocktails, wine and bottle service. ETA: May 10 We’re picturing: Calling it a day at 3 p.m. and sunning ourselves until dusk

Fremont15 W. Illinois St. 312-874-7270 A retractable roof on the second floor breathes fresh air into the River North spot, giving you all the rooftop feels late into the night. Return Saturday and Sunday mornings for a sprawling brunch buffet ($35 with an additional $15 champagne package), which includes Doughnut Vault goodies, a seafood tower, a waffle bar and more. ETA: Open now, weather permitting We’re picturing: Contemplating bottle service while star-gazing

  • Joy District

The folks behind Hubbard Inn gussied up the former Epic space, brought on executive chef Matt Wilde (American Junkie, Moonshine) and unveiled the new River North concept earlier this week. The best part is that the forthcoming 3,000-square-foot rooftop will feature a frozen drink program that screams happy hour. ETA: May We’re picturing: A round (or five) of strawberry daiquiris after work

  • LondonHouse Chicago LH Rooftop Bar

This is that fancy tri-level rooftop you keep hearing about, and if the renderings are any indication, it’s going to be the hottest opening of the summer. Sleek couches and manicured greenery line the historic space, which looks out over the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and Mag Mile. ETA: Late spring We’re picturing: A leisurely cocktail when someone else is footing the bill

  • Raised

Nestled on the third floor of Renaissance Chicago Downtown, this wraparound terrace is punctuated with fire pits, iron details and reclaimed wood. A cozy, greenhouse-like hideaway is the perfect place to cuddle up when temps drop. ETA: May 13 We’re picturing: Telling Tinder tales around the fire pit

  • Upstairs at The Gwen

Situated in the heart of Magnificent Mile, this fifth-floor rooftop specializes in craft cocktails, shared plates and downtown views with a side of art deco style. ETA: May We’re picturing: A quick nightcap before catching the Red Line

  • 25 Degrees Wicker Park

Camp out along Division Street with a burger and spiked milkshake in hand. The new Wicker Park sidewalk patio has room for 48, so everyone’s invited. ETA: Late April We’re picturing: Patio-hopping through Wicker Park until we find our way home Bonus: Dog-friendly!

  • 3 Greens Market

There’s room for 30 on the sidewalk of Brendan Sodikoff’s market-meets-coffeehouse, complete with foliage and awning shade. ETA: Open now, weather permitting We're picturing: Full helpings of sun to complement our burger-doughnut-tiki drink combo Bonus: Dog-friendly!

  • Elixir Lounge and Replay Andersonville

Opening late last season in September, the Andersonville cocktail bar and arcade bar share this 68-seat sidewalk patio fenced in by planter boxes and accented with umbrellas and light-strung trees. ETA: Open now, weather permitting We're picturing: Getting old fashioned blitzed between rounds of Blitz Bonus: Dog-friendly!

  • Forno Rosso

Take your pie outside at the new West Loop pizzeria. With room for 60, the Randolph Street patio is apt for people watching and day-drinking. “I'm really trying to create an Italian outdoor cafe experience with fresh and light Italian handcrafted cocktails and super-light and refreshing wines,” owner Nick Nitti said. “We are also going to have a lineup of aperitif cocktails, which are an infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water." Sounds dreamy. ETA: April 15 We’re picturing: Wood-fired ’za going down easy with a glass of rosé

  • The Goddess and Grocer Andersonville

Accessorized with turquoise furniture, string lights and planters stuffed with flowers and fresh herbs, the patio at Goddess’ imminent addition in Andersonville is fit for a slice of rainbow cake. ETA: May We’re picturing: Swinging by after work for a go at the salad bar and finding inner peace on the patio

  • Green Street Local

Flowers and fresh herbs flank the cozy 25-seat patio, creating the perfect place to explore the West Loop newbie’s extensive beer menu. If the weather turns sour, seek refuge in the multilevel, TV-studded interior. ETA: May We’re picturing: Swapping out sunglasses for beer goggles

  • Jerry's Lincoln Square

Trees along Giddings Plaza are expected to shade a 60-seat patio with tables for two to six at the third iteration of the whiskey bar with a respectable craft beer menu and killer grilled cheese sandwiches. ETA: Late spring We're picturing: Here in Lincoln Square, with my beer I sit, whilst golden moments flit Bonus: Dog-friendly!

  • The Kitchen

Whether you’re indulging in oysters for brunch or a charcuterie plate for happy hour, this brand new 30-seat Riverwalk patio makes the perfect backdrop. ETA: June 1 We’re picturing: Yacht-spotting over bubbly

  • MAD Social

Taking after its cozy interior, this West Loop sidewalk patio will offer industrial vibes with chic French details. Expect 20 seats at two- and four-top tables to enjoy the globally influenced menu. ETA: May We’re picturing: Stopping in for poutine fuel before heading to United Center

  • Saint Lou’s Assembly

Boozy floats, a bocce court and bleacher-style seating are all part of the package at the cafeteria dining destination’s sunny backyard patio in Fulton Market. With 100 seats, there’s room to laze around all day. Plus, enjoy select cocktails from neighboring newbie and sister spot Moneygun. ETA: Mid-May We’re picturing: Redeeming our high school cafeteria woes over lavender gin lemonades

  • Spin Chicago

After taking names at the pingpong tables, head outside for custom cocktails, coffee and alfresco fare. Pro tip: Spoil your dinner with a sundae topped with seasonal fruit compote, lemongrass caramel, Nutella and whipped cream. ETA: Late April We’re picturing: Co-founder Susan Sarandon sipping a Moscow mule on State Street

  • SteakBar

Retractable garage door-style windows keep this new Four Corners Tavern Group and Hogsalt collaboration easy and breezy. For maximum sun exposure, ask for a spot on the 30-seat patio along the hustle and bustle of Wells Street. ETA: Late spring We’re picturing: Catching up with our old friends Steak Tartare and Crispy Baked Potato

  • Bernie’s Lunch & Supper

Because it was open for just a few short weeks last summer, this River North rooftop is considered a newbie in our book. With gorgeous wood beams overhead, string lights and dashes of springy colors, the 1,500-square-foot space is a stunner. ETA: Open now, weather permitting We’re picturing: Taking an extended lunch break that lasts ’til 5 p.m.

  • Best Intentions' cabana bar

Behind the Logan Square neo-dive bar awaits a tropical hideout that Playboy deemed the “best patio bar in America.” A cabana bar, decorated with family heirlooms and rusted beer delivery truck panels, offers select bottled and canned beer, wine and cocktail specials. Along with perennial prairie grasses, flowers and tropical plants, the surrounding fences are lined with metal sculptures welded by the owners’ mother. ETA: Open now, weather permitting, with full service and cabana bar opening later this spring We're picturing: A campy vacation to Great Grandma’s Family Adventure with more booze and fewer grandmas

  • Cotton Duck

The West Town restaurant-art gallery combo opened last September with a BYO policy and downright enchanting patio area that's studded with flower pots, string lights and sculptures. ETA: Open now, weather permitting We're picturing: Boozy date nights ahead Bonus: BYOB

  • Dolce Italian

Open in August last year, the River North Italian restaurant seats 40 on a patio separated from the sidewalk with planter boxes. ETA: Open now, weather permitting We're picturing: Chomping star-shaped pizzas, popping bottles of prosecco and being Italian AF

  • Giardino Segreto at Osteria Langhe

2824 W. Armitage Ave. 773-661-1582 A single communal table for 14 awaits alfresco diners in the backyard of this Logan Square Italian eatery, appropriately named “secret garden” in Italian. The rustic hideaway, with romantic string lights and a garden with fresh produce and herbs used in-house, debuted in August. ETA: Early May We're picturing: A trip to Italy, sans airfare Bonus: Dog-friendly!

  • To Hayati at Taxim

This Wicker Park rooftop quietly debuted last August. There’s room for 80 in the Greek dinner haven, with exposed brick, a small bar and a lush garden of herbs and tomatoes in terra cotta pots that dress up the exterior of the enclosed staircase that leads to the restaurant. ETA: May 2 We're picturing: Sharing a carafe of ouzo in the twilight with a sweetie.


The long-awaited casual concept from The Alinea Group has finally arrived on Fulton Market. It boasts a 64-seat space washed in shades of grey and black that centers around a bustling open kitchen equipped with a blazing hearth. Cocktails are strong yet balanced, with layers of flavor intended to unfold as you sip. A la carte edibles range from a vibrant scallop crudo finished with mustard, passionfruit, and charred daikon, to a massive whole chicken platter laden with poached breasts, deep-fried thighs, and accompanied by a ragout made out of confited wings and legs, sunchokes, and a house hot sauce. Guests may also opt for the chef's daily tasting menu, which earns them a seat at the kitchen bar.


Taylor St welcomes the first urban outpost of this charming Palatine-based scoop shop and coffee house just in time for ice cream weather. Here, the ice cream flavors run 16 varieties deep and include Salty "Cow-amel" and Carrot Cake, the topping options are virtually limitless, the cones range from waffle to cookie to pretzel, and the caffeinated sips are sourced from Chicago’s own Metropolis Coffee Company.


Food truck New from the husband and wife team behind The Fat Shallot, this fire-engine-red food truck is your new one-stop-shop for gourmet deli sandwiches on the go. Follow the rig on Twitter to find out where your pastrami on rye, dill pickle, and chilled can of Dr. Brown’s soda await.


Experience the North Woods by way of Lincoln Ave at this Wisconsin-inspired supper club. The aesthetic is spot-on, with red vinyl seating, wood paneled walls, and taxidermy and kitschy beer paraphernalia punctuating the space, while the menu burgeons with classics like deviled eggs, beer battered white cheddar curds, fish fry, and a bevy of old-school cocktails.


With a stellar sushi program already in the bag, this Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient sets its sights on conquering the brunch game with a fleet of mouthwatering Japanese-American dishes. Indulge a sugar craving with matcha French toast beignets with miso maple syrup, or go the traditional Japanese route with a hearty dish comprised of miso, rice, oshinko, dressed tofu, and fried white fish. If your heart lies with sushi, there’s the Chef’s selection of sashimi and nigiri and a sushi bento box.


The first and third Sunday of each month, this hotspot hosts its ongoing Gentleman’s Brunch series in an effort to dispel the notion that brunching is just a ladies thing. The bimonthly man-friendly brunch runs between 11:30am and 3pm, and promises Italian twists on traditional brunch eats, like buffalo chicken pizza and steak & eggs with short ribs, poached eggs, and spinach atop toasted ciabatta with a red wine reduction, as well as cocktails made with Angel’s Envy bourbon.


The concise brunch menu at this New England-inspired seafood eatery may only contain six items, but those six items have made a big splash on the Halsted St scene alongside the restaurant’s lunchtime offerings. Load up on all the candied bacon, smoked trout hash, and cheese shrimp and grits your stomach can handle, and top it off with a round or two of fresh oysters as you discuss the legacy of David Ortiz over breakfast.


Nothing says happy hour quite like tapas, and at Black Bull, their keeping the pintxos rollin till 8pm. From 5-8pm daily you can get 3 pintxos for just $10, or a full thing of paella and a porron (yes, that is what that fancy pitcher is in the image above) of sangira for just $50.


Get to River North’s Fremont before 7pm on a weekday and treat yourself to $5 specialty cocktails.


This brightly colored bar in River North is doin $5 wellies and $5 tallboys from 5-8pm on select weeknights. You’re gonna wanna get there ASAP.


This Lakeview Irish pub is offering drafts for $4.20 and $6 glasses of wine every night till 7pm.


Though Highline does happy hour specials each and every day, but none hold a candle to to their build you own mule bar on Thursday evenings from 5-8pm. Other daily deals include: $7 draft and Jameson combos on Mondays, $5 tallboys on Tuesdays, $20 bottles of wine and FREE PIZZA on Wednesdays, and $30 all you can eat brunch on weekends.


Get to the Izakaya at Momotaro in Fulton Market before 8pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Sundays for what is, without question, one of the best happy hour deals in the whole damn city. For just $23, you can get a three course meal WITH a beer and a shot. Amazing, honestly.

  • Wrigleyville Bar crawl

-Fountainhead -Wolcott Tap -Dovetail Brewery -Keenan O'Reilly's -Toons Bar and Grill -Dágostino's -Guthrie's Tavern -The Gman -Nisel Lounge -Bar on Buena

  • Mable's Table

Inspired by her cooking, chef Anthony Reyes opened and named his restaurant in honor of his mother. The menu is full of comfort food items such as cinnamon roll pancakes, skillets of prime rib hash and a breakfast burrito stuffed with porchetta, smoked provolone and salsa verde. Keep an eye out for Mable, who will occasionally show up to work the line.

  • Owen & Engine

For those in the know, the Slagel Farms Beef Burger, a simple meat, bun and caramelized onion combo, is the go-to item at this English gastropub. Though, there's plenty more if you're looking for something different, including bangers and mash, steak and fried eggs (made with a 21-day, dry-aged rib eye), and Moroccan curry falafel with lemon-mint chutney.

  • Kumiko

What: A Japanese-inspired bar with an omakase cocktail menu. Why it’s important: Alongside food from chef Noah Sandoval (Oriole), Kumiko will showcase Momose’s detail-oriented approach with a dealer’s choice menu meant to be unique to each guest.

  • Mordecai

What: A bi-level cocktail bar bringing elevated drinking options to Wrigleyville. Why it’s important: The team behind Logan’s Square’s beloved Billy Sunday will bring their elevated sensibility to a neighborhood dominated by high-volume beer bars, with an extensive menu of vintage spirits.

  • Best Burgers

DryHop - The Burger The Loyalist - Cheeseburger Mott St. - Mott burger Dusek's - Juicy Lucy Eight Bar and Piano - Downstairs Burger Owen and Engine - Burger DMK - #1 Bad Hunter - Bad Hunter Burger

  • Somethin’ Sweet Donuts

The cronuts here are light and crisp, and are filled with flavors like raspberry, lemon and Bavarian cream, each one better than the last. Some say they're the best in the city! You might be lead here for the cronuts, but don't leave without trying the cake donuts and apple fritters.

  • Alliance Bakery & Cafe

One of the coolest parts about Alliance is that you can call in your order for pickup. No more waiting in lines for cronuts! The standout is the vanilla creme cronut with rose frosting. It's a little bit different, if different means delicious. The chocolate praline cronut is also to die for.

  • West Town Bakery & Diner

They're called "doughssants" here, but what's in a name? Your taste buds definitely won't know the difference, especially when you're biting into a cookies and cream doughssant. They come in bar form here which just means you won't find a hole missing in the middle. Oh yeah, they also have vegan and gluten-free options!

  • La Boulangerie

This place is known for the bread, but their desserts, and cronuts, are out of this world. They're so popular that they've even opened a new location. Don't get confused though. Look for "crognut" on the menu for your donut-croissant pastry fix.

  • Alliance Patisserie

Alliance is a combination of a modern day bakery and French tradition. Here, you'll find amazing French macarons and petits gateaux, but we both know you're looking for cronuts. All of the pastries are delicious, but the crowd favorite is definitely the hazelnut cronut because Nutella is great on everything. The vanilla rose cronut is also a must-try.

  • Sunny Side Up & Coffee Shop

Sunny Side Up is a great place for breakfast, but if you don't want to sit down for a meal, you can grab a cronut downstairs. Trying the cronuts here is a no-brainer, but you'll probably have trouble choosing which flavor to get! These cronuts err on the croissant side of the pastry, but they're filled with custard and topped with ganache to perfection.

  • Half Acre Brewery Balmoral

While we still love Half Acre's original taproom in Lincoln Square, finding a place to sit in the small bar is usually a challenge. That's not the case at the brewery's new facility on Balmoral Avenue, where there's plenty of seating, both indoors and outside. A beer garden takes over a portion of the location's parking lot, outfitted with picnic tables where you can order from a menu of roasted meats and veggies or kick back with one of the taproom-exclusive brews.

  • Resi’s Bierstube

Authentic German biergartens are tough to come by in Chicago, yet this institution has stood the test of time. It could be the spaetzle or the schnitzel, but we think it’s the romance of making your own Munich with a stein of weiss in the open air. While wrought-iron patio tables, wooden privacy fences and pops of bright flowers make for a common but comfortable setting, it’s the beer list that stands out, especially the weiss, or German wheat, options.

  • Pierogi


mar 22 2016 ∞
mar 8 2019 +