10 Best Rooftop Bars in Chicago

We wait for eight cold, sad months, and one day, the sun finally shines, the earth warms and our hearts open up to summertime in Chicago. And for four glorious months, we dine outside like Parisians, gazing out at our sapphire lake. In recent years, Chicago has added some fabulous rooftop bars to its arsenal of summer fun. It’s rooftop season, y’all!

1. The J. Parker

Fabulous views of Lincoln Park, Lake Michigan and the downtown skyline are strong selling points of this 13th floor topper at the Hotel Lincoln. Chef Paul Virant devised the appetizer menu and a retractable roof allows year-round use. 1816 N. Lincoln Ave.

2. The dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar

Photo courtesy of the dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar.

Open the doors of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago’s 12th-floor bistro, Deca, and head out to a chic but casual terrace featuring a fire pit, craft beers and cocktails, and delicious small plates. 160 E. Pearson St.

3. ROOF on theWit

Photo by Matthew Reeves.

Of course, the lounge is stylish, the cocktails creative and the made-to-share cuisine delectable, but it’s the Monday outdoor movie nights and live music on Tuesdays that make it truly special. 201 N. State St. 

4. IO Urban Roofscape

Photo courtesy of IO Urban Roofscape.

Not just for night owls! This rooftop perch at the Godfrey Hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as providing a swinging cocktail scene. 127 W. Huron St.

5. drumBAR

Photo by Anthony Tahlier.

Lush plants and cozy fire pits populate the 18th floor roof of Streeterville’s Raffaello Hotel. Gaze over sparkling Lake Michigan, or peer into the apartments of the John Hancock Building. 201 E. Delaware Place

6. Vertigo Sky Lounge

The 26th floor of the Dana Hotel sports an ultra-modern, indoor/outdoor lounge that’s open year round with live DJs spinning nightly. 2 W. Erie St.

7. GreenRiver

The 18th floor of a medical building is an unlikely candidate for the coolest rooftop bar in the city, with the most original cocktail program, but there you have it. Bonus: the food is crazy good. 259 E. Erie St.

8. NoMI Garden

Spectacular city views are on tap from the Park Hyatt’s 7th floor terrace, and since NoMi is one of the top-rated restaurants in the city, you will eat well in this urban sanctuary. 800 N. Michigan Ave.

9. Cerise at the Virgin Hotel

It’s a rooftop cocktail bar and nightclub rolled into one. This British import (thanks, Sir Richard Branson!) is always rocking, with dazzling lighting, pounding music and a gorgeous view. 203 N. Wabash

10. Soho House

Lose yourself in the spectacular view of the city skyline from under a canopy of lights at this über-exclusive enclave, complete with rooftop pool Rooftop access is limited to Soho House members and hotel guests, so … get a room! 113 N. Green St.

Updated on May 2, 2016. 

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