sleeping village patio
Photograph: Victoria Sanders

The best beer gardens in Chicago

On a warm day in Chicago, there's nothing better than sipping on a cold one at the city's best beer gardens.

Zach LongIsaiah Reynolds
Contributor: Isaiah Reynolds
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Sometimes a sunny day can only be made more perfect by sipping on a cold drink outside. The best Chicago breweries and taprooms offer plenty of space to try their latest beers fresh from the tap, while outdoor bars and beer gardens offer relaxed places to gather with friends and share some brews. Many beer gardens and outdoor spaces are dog-friendly, too, so don't hesitate to let your pup in on the fun of a beautiful day. Whether you're itching for better weather or want to create your own impromptu beer garden crawl, here are the best beer gardens in Chicago for a cold beverage on a warm Chicago day.

RECOMMENDED: Discover even more of the best bars in Chicago

Top beer gardens in Chicago

  • 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.

  • Sports Bars
  • Old Town
  • price 2 of 4

The fully retractable roof over the Old Town sports bar’s beer garden means you won’t have to run for cover if the weather takes a turn. Watch the game with your crew while sharing a giant mule served in a 96-ounce copper mug or test your luck with the shot roulette, where Malort is hidden among the eight drinks. Visit during brunch for tater tot poutine and mimosa kits.

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  • 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 a bacon board and cheese curd stuffed brats. A retractable roof means you can keep enjoying your sausage and beer even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

  • Avondale

Grab a seat at one of the umbrella shaded picnic tables in the live music venue’s patio to take a break between sets and catch up with friends. The Avondale spot has 56 tap handles, offering an extensive selection of ciders and craft beers along with mead and cocktails. During the summer, the space also hosts pop-ups, meetups, cider tastings and other special events.

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  • 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.

  • Gastropubs
  • Loop

Located on the Chicago Riverwalk, The Northman provides a laid-back spot to cool off with a local brew, a boozy slushy or a cup of soft serve. Order at the counter and grab a spot at one of the umbrella-topped picnic tables to wait for your pretzel with beer cheese or Chicago dog. The space regularly hosts live music ranging from country to alternative rock and pups are always welcome, especially during the bimonthly yappy hour fundraisers during the summer.

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  • Pubs
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

The dog-friendly West Lakeview spot revamped its 100-person beer garden in 2022. Bring your own meat to use on one of their grills while watching TV and then get competitive with games of darts and bags. There are 18 beers on tap plus a free popcorn machine that’s always running. A fire pit provides a way to warm up year round.

  • 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. Come for weekday lunch when $16 gets you an entree and a beer or hard kombucha.

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  • 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.

  • Contemporary American
  • River West/West Town
  • price 2 of 4

Feast on adventurous fare from James Beard Award semifinalist Brian Jupiter while relaxing in the covered beer garden, which features a fireplace, TVs and plenty of plants. It’s a great spot for big groups, especially if you go all out on the whole animal service and share a smoked wild boar or goat.

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  • 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.

  • Breweries
  • Lincoln Square

Located in the sprawling parking lot at Half Acre's Balmoral Avenue brewery, this expansive beer garden offers a rotating selection of beers you won’t find anywhere else as well as their year-round portfolio. The food menu features dishes perfect for enjoying outdoors including cheese curds and classic fish and chips. Dogs and families are always welcome.

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  • Breweries
  • Morgan Park
  • price 2 of 4

The South Side taproom features a spacious rooftop beer garden with bright yellow chairs and umbrellas offering a bit of shade. The full service bar serves pours of their draft beers along with refreshing cocktails, while the kitchen serves wood-fired pizzas, everything seasoned soft pretzels with beer cheese, and charcuterie boards. Don’t leave without grabbing some beer to go.

  • Beer bars
  • North Center
  • price 2 of 4

Chicagoans have supported this neighborhood bar for more than 30 years, coming to relax with a beer from Phase Three, Saint Errant, Dovetail and other regional breweries plus pub fare including cheese curds, steak tacos and shrimp po’ boy sliders. The seating was recently updated, providing tables for groups of all sizes in a space filled with hanging flowers.

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  • 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. There’s even more space to enjoy the weather thanks to a second patio along the river in back of the building. You can bring your pup and your own food and grab beer to take home with you on your way out.

  • 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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  • Sports Bars
  • Lake View

The huge enclosed patio at the Lakeview sports bar features plenty of TVs and its own bar so you won’t have to wait long when ordering a fishbowl or frozen strawberry daiquiri. Take advantage of daily specials and events like trivia Mondays and $10 chicken tenders Tuesdays along with shareable grub like chicken nachos and mini cheeseburgers.

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  • Breweries
  • River West/West Town

Home of Burnt City Brewing, Around the Bend Beer Co., Twisted Hippo and Casa Humilde Cervecería, 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 to complement one of the more than 25 beers on tap. Tables are first come, first served.

  • Sports Bars
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 2 of 4

There’s space for groups of all sizes in Broken Barrel’s 2,000-square-foot beer garden, where you can watch sports, play bags or just hang out while enjoying a burger and a plate of wings. The dog-friendly space is decorated with graffiti art and has its own bar slinging frozen espresso martinis and watermelon palomas served in pouches. Heat lamps keep the space bustling even when the temperatures plunge.

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  • 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, Pipeworks and Goose Island. There's also a solid menu of hearty dishes to choose from, including a Slagel Farms burger, a barbecue pork sandwich and gyros.

  • 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.

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  • Beer bars
  • Wicker Park
  • price 1 of 4

Right in the heart of Wicker Park, the rumble of the train drowns out your conversation in the beer garden every five minutes, but that’s a small price to pay for a laid-back day sipping beer in the sun. Nick's Beer Garden sports an extravagant outdoor patio with over 30 available brews. Stop by for free live music and DJ's almost every week and live karaoke every Thursday night.

  • Logan Square

From the team that brought you Scofflaw is this laid back neighborhood beer garden. Enjoy any of the 14 drafts that are as cheap as $6 or dive into the house-made michelada. It's really the weekly specials that lock make this a local favorite with all-day happy hour on Mondays, Taco Tuesdays for $1 tacos and $6 mimosas for weekend brunch. 

 

 

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  • Breweries
  • Lower West Side
  • price 2 of 4

Enter through a narrow alleyway and you'll find yourself inside this rustic Pilsen brewpub, where the taplines are surrounded by a wall of green moss and guests sit at wooden benches. Alulu's beer list has dark lagers and IPAs presented alongside more adventeruous creations. If you're having trouble choosing, a five-beer flight makes it easy to sample a range of options. Don't sleep on the in-house food menu either, which features shareable lumpia, cheese curds and beer bread and more substantial entrees like burgers, wings and jackfruit pizza.

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