A detailed guide to the best Chicago cocktail bars. These are memorable places for a carefully crafted cocktail. Most of the spots on this list are not full restaurants. Instead, they are the perfect place to have a drink before or after a meal.
Last updated: July 2022
Best Chicago Cocktail Bars
This guide to Chicago Cocktail Bars has been organized by neighborhood.
A black-owned, woman-owned, LGBTQ+ friendly cocktail bar with elevated drinks and upbeat vibes. In 2022, Nobody’s Darling was a James Beard Award Nominee for Outstanding Bar Program.
A lounge serving refined cocktails, craft beer, and elevated snacks and small plates. The menu has classic cocktails like a French 75 alongside the Matcha, Matcha, Man made with rum, lemon juice, honey, matcha, and hemp seed oil.
Eden’s new Avondale location has cocktails like a Frosé with peach purée and the “Eden” made with Pimms, Cynar, cucumber, mint, lime, ginger beer, and celery bitters. A special bar and bites menu is available from 4 pm until close on weekdays and includes shareable snacks like a charcuterie board and roasted bell pepper hummus.
This new addition to Chicago offers cocktails and pub food in a casual environment. Brunch is available daily from 11 am until 3 pm.
A gem located on the border of Bucktown and Logan Square that combines American Asian cuisine and seriously great cocktails. The full menu is served until 11 pm making this the perfect place for late-night eats.
Freshly opened in May 2022, Nine Bar is the neighborhood’s first cocktail bar. The bar is located behind Moon Palace Express and offers a small snack menu in addition to classic cocktails with Asian-inspired twists.
Located beneath the restaurant Adalina, the Rose Lounge is an intimate romantic space perfect for a special date night. It’s open from Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and reservations are recommended.
A cocktail spot inspired by the hotel lobby bars of the 1930s and features an abundance of rum drinks.
A neighborhood pub with live music and seasonal cocktails. It’s open from 4 pm until 2 am daily. It’s a drinks-only spot, there is no food offered.
A Tiki-inspired craft cocktail lounge with a daily happy hour from 5 pm – 7 pm with $5 cocktails.
A dive-y but beloved bar in Hyde Park where murals of famous locals cover the walls.
An upscale restaurant and bar with views of Wrigley Field. The menu combines classic cocktails and American fare.
A new bar from powerhouse restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You that concentrates on gin cocktails. The menu has drinks like gin and tonics, martinis, aviation, Negroni, and a French 75.
Located on the rooftop of the Hotel Lincoln, this bar is open all year and offers stunning views of Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan.
An English pub and cocktail parlour that is split into two levels. The pub focuses on classic cocktails while the parlour has a larger cocktail list featuring gin & tonics, craft cocktails, and historical cocktails. A British-inspired food menu is available.
Open from 5 pm until 12 am Thursdays through Sundays, The Sixth has craft cocktails, beer, wine and some bar snacks.
A gin-focused bar that serves pub grub and late-night food. The cocktail menu rotates every three months.
A lively light-filled bar serving rum, mezcal, and tequila drinks.
A gourmet cocktail bar that takes a culinary approach to cocktails. The cocktail menu is divided into sections with seasonal cocktails, draft cocktails, beloved classics, top-shelf cocktails (ranging from $20-$65), and alcohol-free options. The kitchen offers snacks like cheese plates, olives, nuts, and puppy chow.
Weegee’s Lounge describes itself as a low-key oasis. It’s open from 6 pm until midnight each day and on occasion features live music.
A new cocktail bar opened in collaboration with Claudio the Tamale Guy. The menu has 6 tamales for $12 plus house cocktails for $11.
A rooftop bar/restaurant that provides some of the best views of the Chicago River and the skyline. It’s a popular spot for happy hour.
Located on the rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, Cindy’s has views of Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Lake Michigan. It’s one of the best places to see the summertime fireworks. The cocktail list has something for everyone with tequilla, gin, mezcal, and bourbon cocktails on the main cocktail list plus a list of reserve cocktails.
Milk Room is a tiny eight-seat bar located within the Chicago Athletic Association hotel that occupies a space that was a speakeasy during the Prohibition. This bar has appeared on a variety of best bar lists and focuses on classic cocktails and rare, vintage spirits. Make reservations on Resy.
More of a wine bar than a cocktail bar, Good Funk focuses on serving natural wines but has a handful of cocktails. The food menu has sophisticated sharable snacks.
A sister bar to Sparrow in the Gold Coast that is inspired by Milan. The menu features Bellinis, Spritzes, Old Fashioneds, and Martinis.
A cocktail bar located within Pilsen Yards that offers “all of the spirits, some of the beer, and a few of the wines”. The Alderman won the 2022 Jean Banchet Award for Best Bar in Chicago.
Located in the basement of music venue Thalia Hall, Punch House serves cocktails and punches by the glass, carafe, and bowl.
A large 1920s speakeasy-themed bar/restaurant in River North with live entertainment. The menu emphasizes classic cocktails and includes large format options.
A tiki bar in the basement below Bub City – find the entrance in the alleyway behind Bub City. The cocktail menu has a variety of rum, gin, and whiskey cocktails that come in decorative ceramic mugs. Group drinks serve groups as large as 8. In addition, an extensive rum list features rums from all across the globe.
A 100-year-old speakeasy hidden behind a bookcase in the basement of the Green Door Tavern. The Drifter has live entertainment ranging from burlesque performances to magic shows.
Owned by Rick Bayless and located behind Xoco, Bar Sótano is a bar/restaurant with extensive tequilla and mezcal offerings, seasonal cocktails, and a large food menu. A happy hour is offered daily until 6pm, and all day on Wednesdays.
A three-floor cocktail bar from the team behind Beatnik. A casual pub can be found on the first floor, a beautiful craft cocktail lounge with DJs occupies the second floor, and roof is home to an intimate garden filled with plants.
Arbella serves globally inspired cocktails, ten types of Old Fashioneds, and casual bar food (think chicken tenders and tacos).
A neighborhood lounge with seasonally inspired cocktails and board games.
A cocktail bar and music lounge in the basement of the Hoxton Hotel that has a menu with 52 cocktails.
A sister restaurant to Alinea known for elaborate futuristic cocktails. Reservations are needed.
Located below The Aviary, this is a speakeasy serving classic cocktails and small plates. Make a reservation in advance.
Kumiko is a “Japanese Dining Bar” known for offering omakase cocktail flights. If you prefer a single cocktail, about 20 are on the menu. And if you want something without the booze, the “spiritfrees” section of the menu has 8 options. The food menu has snacks and savory items (one of which is a $90 Wagyu Katsu Sando).
A bar under the el tracks serving classic cocktails, beer, wine, and spirits. A casual food menu has snacks like loaded waffle fries, empanadas, and wings, plus meals including burgers, grilled cheese, and steak frites.
At night this barber shop turns into a cocktail lounge serving classic cocktails, “fancy” cocktails, creative signature cocktails, and highballs. Natural wines, bubbles, and over a dozen beers round out the menu.
Located above Mama Delia on the border of West Town and Wicker Park, Bordel is a cocktail lounge with live entertainment that ranges from live music to vaudeville and burlesque performances. The cocktail menu includes items like a Bananas Foster Old Fashioned, a Pisco Punch, and a Spanish-Style gin and tonic. A food menu and a late-night food menu are available.
“A neighborhood lesbian cocktail lounge” located beneath Spilt Rail that promises to reopen in Summer 2022.
A relaxed bar with a large back patio that serves an ever-changing menu of spirit-forward cocktails. While this bar doesn’t serve food, they do host BBQs every Sunday of the summer in collaboration with local restaurants.
The Matchbox was founded in 1945 and has a large cocktail list plus beer, wine, and spirits. The bar’s name refers to its small size, and it claims to be Chicago’s smallest bar, with the biggest charm.
This James Beard Award winning cocktail bar is arguably the most important cocktail bar in Chicago. The speakeasy trend is still thriving in Chicago today, but it was The Violet Hour that started the trend in 2007. In fitting with the speakeasy theme, there
A cocktail bar in Wicker Park with a maritime theme and some of the best craft cocktails in the city. One thing that makes this bar unique is that patrons can sit on either side of the bar. In addition to cocktails, a menu of oysters, clam chowder, ploughman’s boards, and snacks is offered.