Chicago’s winter temperatures are scary. But it’s summertime, so now is a great time to plan a trip to The Windy City. After you have taken in the beautiful sites of big skyscrapers and Lake Michigan, pop into one of these bars for a cocktail.
The Aviary– This cocktail laboratory is a modern lounge where veteran bartenders design drinks as works of art. At one of the most legendary cocktail bars in the world, some cocktails resemble science experiments with scented smoke emanating from glass beakers and others are served accompanied by a glass ship inside the bottle. You may find spice filled ice cubes in your drink or even a bobbing string of pearls. For a more intimate, swanky setting head downstairs to The Office. This speakeasy serves classically inspired cocktails and vintage spirits.
The Violet Hour– This acclaimed cocktail bar has a secretive facade. There is no sign outside, just look for the door handle hidden in the exterior mural. Then, enter the elegant, dark and hushed space where the interior is draped and lit by candles and crystal chandeliers. Bartenders serve inventive libations and pre-Prohibition style cocktails from a menu that changes seasonally with the exception of a few staples that are there to stay. Come for the cocktails, stay for the mood. But just remember the one house rule; no cell phones.
Three Dots and a Dash– A tropical hideaway tucked away in an alley. A welcoming bamboo hut and a hawaiian shirt wearing staff will give you a taste of island life. The decor is filled with pirate ships, drunken heads, giant clam shells, tiki totems and skulls. Cocktails are served in elaborate, custom-made mugs and glassware and are made with fresh pressed juices and house made syrups and finished off with an arsenal of garnishes including orchids, plastic hula dancers, colorful bendy straws, fresh herbs and citrus.
Kumiko– Indulge in a unique drinking experience at this refined yet relaxed bar with mid-century furnishings and woodwork from Japan. Grab one of the eight seats at the intimate bar to interact with acclaimed bartenders who will concoct bespoke cocktails served omakase style with Japanese influence, rare liquors and fun ingredients. The cocktail tasting menu comes with small bites. Kumiko offers hospitality at its finest.
Utopian Tailgate– It’s exactly what it sounds like. This rooftop bar spotlights the many joys of tailgating. The space is filled with bright colored artwork, quirky decorations and greenery. Relax on various day-beds and swing chairs or play any of the fun game options from cornhole, foosball, putterball, connect four and more. Cocktails are colorful and playful to mimic the space. Red Solo cups and tableside coolers or beer and kegs give it the real tailgating feel.
Benchmark– For a more casual outing, check out Chicago’s first convertible beer garden that offers a lively sports bar atmosphere in an industrial-chic atmosphere. The contractible roof allows for outdoor seating. The modern, open floor plan leaves room for larger parties. Signature cocktails come in large format for sharing. This is a fun place to catch the game or dance with friends.