Alfresco alternatives to ROOF at theWit | Alfresco 2011

Can’t get in to ROOF? Try these other eight spots.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Roof at the Wit Hotel

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MBA

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Terrace at Conrad

You want a rooftop
Citizen Bar
(364 W Erie St, 312-640-1156)
It’s only two stories high, but what you lose in height you gain in a more neighborhoody (but still lively) atmosphere.

Epic Sky (112 W Hubbard St, 312-222-4940)
It’s a sexy third-story rooftop, albeit with a less inspiring view than ROOF’s 27th-floor city panorama. What this place has that ROOF doesn’t: direct access to a steakhouse. On the cocktail front, yeah, there are drinks with names like “Sex Panther” and “Naked Lady.” But mixologists also pay close attention to classics like Sazeracs and sidecars.

You want sophisticated cocktails
Province
(161 N Jefferson St, 312-669-9900)
Here, you’ll wonder what’s more pristine—the cocktails (such as the Pimlico Grid, with Pimm’s, Hendrick’s, lemon-lime juice and ginger beer) or the simple street-level patio, with a sleek, seemingly suspended-in-air partial roof to shade the sun.

Epic Sky (112 W Hubbard St, 312-222-4940)
It’s a sexy third-story rooftop, albeit with a less inspiring view than ROOF’s 27th-floor city panorama. What this place has that ROOF doesn’t: direct access to a steakhouse. On the cocktail front, yeah, there are drinks with names like “Sex Panther” and “Naked Lady.” But mixologists also pay close attention to classics like Sazeracs and sidecars.

You want a hotel
C-View
(166 E Superior St, 312-523-0923)
What the rooftop bar of the Affinia Hotel lacks in size (whether it’s “intimate” or “cramped” depends on your outlook), it makes up for with inspired cocktails with a Latin-American slant.

Terrace at the Conrad (Conrad Hotel, 521 N Rush St, 312-377-0979)
ROOF’s not the only place you can stay up too late on a rooftop, only to crash in a hotel room you’ll drunkenly charge on your credit card. Though considering this patio is decked out with Miami-worthy lounge chairs, you may be able to snag a nap in plain sight.

You want a scene
Nightwood
(2119 S Halsted St, 312-526-3385)
From raucous hotel bar to the relatively subdued patio of a restaurant in Pilsen? It works if you love ROOF for its good looks. With understated metal chairs, block stools and a modern fireplace for cool summer nights, Nightwood is the most well-designed alfresco spot on the South Side.

Mercadito (108 W Kinzie St, 312-329-9555)
Hopped up on tacos and tequila, the vibe on this 25-seat sidewalk patio (request it with your reservation and they will try to seat you there) is just as lively, trendy and sexy as ROOF’s—brunch has a DJ blasting house music; nightfall brings plenty of questionably short skirts.

Terrace at Trump (401 N Wabash Ave, 312-588-8030)
When on-the-prowl men and women of River North can’t get into ROOF, they come to the 16th-floor patio at Trump Tower, which was recently revamped into a $15-a-drink Polynesian paradise. Here, they’re even more desperate to get picked up.

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