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Sleeping Village patio
Photograph: Victoria Sanders

The 15 best beer gardens in Chicago

When warmer weather arrives, there's no more glorious pastime than sipping a cold one at the city's best beer gardens

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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When the weather in Chicago cooperates, there are few better places to spend a sunny afternoon than clutching a cold glass beneath an umbrella in a beer garden in Chicago. You'll find scenic (or, at the very least, secluded) patios and beer gardens hiding behind Chicago dive bars or set up in taproom parking lots. Once you've snagged a table (you may need a reservation), you can order burgers, barbecue or frites to enjoy while you sip beer from Chicago breweries. Find a comfortable spot, pack a mask and get some fresh air with our guide to the best beer gardens in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Discover even more patios and rooftops in Chicago

Best beer gardens in Chicago

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

Occupying a small courtyard behind this Andersonville institution, Hopleaf's tree-lined beer garden allows you to sample its lengthy menu of Belgian beers in the sun. Surrounded by brick walls with a goblet of St. Feuillien, a pile of mussels and a cone of frites in front of you, it's easy to imagine that you've momentarily escaped the city and found yourself in a pub in a small European village. Tables are first come, first served.

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Mckinley Park

The sidewalk in front of Marz Community Brewing has been transformed into a socially-distanced beer garden, with sustience provided by Japanese comfort food connoisseurs Mom's, formerly of the Politan Row food hall. For now, the hours of the outdoor space mirror those of the Marz Bottle Shop and tables are first come, first served.

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  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

There are few more picturesque places to drink outdoors in the West Loop than in Kaiser Tiger's beer garden, which is festooned with lights and features its own bocce court. Drafts from some of the city's best breweries are the main attraction, but you'll no doubt be tempted by the meaty food menu, which features an abundance of bacon-wrapped delicacies, including "the Bomb," a five-pound hunk of beef and pork sausage surrounded by a crispy bacon weave. Swing by on Wednesdays to catch live music from 7 to 10pm—and don't forget to make a reservation.

  • Bars
  • Avondale

Live music still hasn't resumed at this Avondale venue, but Sleeping Village has reopened its patio on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. You can reserve a picnic table for up to two hours for a small fee and show up with a group of up to six people to enjoy beer, wine and batched cocktails. 

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Avondale
  • price 2 of 4

It would take a lush garden verdant with grass and lined with blooming trees to overshadow the gray landscape of Elston Avenue, and that’s exactly what the owners of this old Irish pub have built. Sequestering relaxed regulars from the harsh world beyond the privacy fences, the prime garden serves as a stellar summer spot for sipping cider, Scotch and beer while enjoying hearty dishes like fish and chips or shepherd's pie. Walk-ups are welcome, but a reservation isn't a bad idea.

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Logan Square

Founded as an incubator where multiple breweries share equipment and produce small batches of beer, Pilot Project is a great place to sample wildly different types of beers in one sitting. An adjacent patio lined with picnic tables provides plenty of room for outdoor drinking—you can even order a sandwich if you're hungry. An afternoon menu of coffee and snacks caters to romote workers, who post up with their laptops throughout the afternoon. Reservations are required.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

Back before Lakeview (or much of Chicago, for that matter) gave a rat’s ass about craft beer, Sheffield’s began providing locals with a solid brew education. Today the mission is the same, to turn basic beer drinkers into better beer drinkers and keep the aficionados happy. Under the canopy of massive cottonwood limbs, the side patio feels lush and secluded, all the better for sampling a formidable selection of beer and a menu of barbecue meats and sides. Reservations are required.

  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • North Center
  • price 2 of 4

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, packed with options from Deutschland. Tables are first come, first served.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Lincoln Square

Located in the sprawling parking lot at Half Acre's Balmoral Avenue brewery, this makeshift beer garden offers a rotating selection of brews and coffee that you can enjoy in the open air. Make a two-hour reservation and you and up to five friends can snag a table that's six feet away from everyone else. There's not much in the way of food (just a few small snacks), but the selection of hazy IPAs and mixed fermentation beers should keep your tastebuds busy.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • North Center
  • price 2 of 4

Roscoe Villagers have supported this stalwart for nearly 30 years, flocking to the picnic tables in the ivy-draped patio during all four seasons. The tables have a bit more space between them these days, but the menu of craft beers is as expansive as ever, with selections from Phase Three, Three Floyds, Pipeworks and other regional favorites. Seating is first come, first served.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • River North

Surrounded by barrels and planters, Off Color Brewing's small patio in front of its Kingsbury Street brewery isn't too fancy, but it's a nice spot to sip some adventurous liquids. You'll need to make a 90-minute reservation to secure your seat, weather permitting. A $10 non-refundable deposit will be applied to your tab—plus, you can bring your own food and grab beer to take home with your on your way out.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Edgewater
  • price 1 of 4

The indoor portion of Moody's Pub may look like a dark ski lodge, but the adjacent tree-lined space has the feel of a European-style beer garden—though you'll mostly find domestics on tap. Order a pint and save some room for a Moodyburger, which festoons a half-pound patty with your choice of toppings. If you're not a beer drinker, there's also a cocktail menu filled with oversweet concoctions that will take you back to your college days. Seating is first come, first served.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • River West/West Town

Home of Burnt City Brewing, Around the Bend Beer Co. and Bold Dog Beer Co., this West Town brewery mecca also boasts an adjacent beer garden where you can enjoy a drink. Plus, you can order some grub from Lillie’s Q Barbeque and Chicken Shack to compliment one of the more than 25 beers on tap. Tables are first come, first served.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Bucktown

A sunken courtyard next to this Bucktown New American restaurant makes for a relaxing beer garden, providing a view of Damen Avenue as you peruse a menu that's heavy on local craft options from the likes of Off Color, On Tour and Aleman. There's also a solid menu of hearty dishes to choose from, including a Slagel Farms burger, a meatball sub and steak frites. Reservations are recommended.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Beverly
  • price 1 of 4

Hang with the Beverly crowd at this Far South Side institution, where Irish brogues are the norm and the staff is among the friendliest in town. The fenced-in, wooden deck has a homey feel, complete with antique decor and two bars that are great places to root for the Sox.

Find more great bars in Chicago

  • Bars

Chicagoans don't discriminate when it comes to booze: We love guzzling craft beer, fancy cocktails, margaritas by the pitcher and interesting wines. Our city is a drinker's paradise with options that run the gamut—from age-old dives and secret speakeasies to ritzy rooftops and watering holes open till 4am. Consider this your exhaustive guide to Chicago's always-evolving bar scene.

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