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Best outdoor bars in Chicago

Get in gear for summer and alfresco season with our guide to the best outdoor bars and patios in Chicago

Photograph: Martha Williams

After months spent huddling around fireplaces and shivering from inevitable bar-room drafts, you deserve a drink. Outside. With the sun beaming down, margarita in hand. Our guide to the best outdoor bars, from hidden gardens to sidewalk seats, will give you lots of ideas for things to do in the summer, the very best season in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Beer gardens, rooftop bars and outdoor dining spots in Chicago

Best outdoor bars in Chicago

Sportsman's Club

Sportsman's backyard has a fire pit, large tables and a canopy of twinkly lights. An in-house herb garden provides the bartenders with fresh ingredients. When it's time to come inside, animal heads on the walls and cozy booths with built-in chess boards make being indoors just as charming.

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Ukrainian Village

Hopleaf

On a warm night, instead of bellying up to the bar to study the endless list of Belgian brews, hang out on the patio. The space is covered by a large umbrella, making it the perfect backdrop for beer education. Don’t neglect the food menu either—especially the CB&J sandwich with cashew butter, fig jam and raclette cheese. Our perfect night involves sampling the drafts while slurping down the famous ale-steamed mussels on the patio.

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Uptown

The Long Room

Few people are aware of the charming little patio tucked off the back of this North Center bar. Just order a craft beer from the ever-changing list and a burger from Beard & Belly and keep quiet so the neighbors don't hear.

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Lake View
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Happy Village

A gurgling pond, picnic tables galore and a lush lawn is the scene at this West Town dive. But when it rains (or at 11pm, when the garden closes), pack up the ciggies and head back inside, where the smell of whiskey and cheap beer hangs in the air, drunks angle for a turn on the ping-pong tables, and the jukebox coughs out the Cars and Madonna.

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East Village

Kaiser Tiger

If Ron Swanson opened a restaurant, it would be the Kaiser Tiger. The specialty here is the Bacon Bomb, a 5-pound, bacon-covered meatloaf made with beef, pork and more bacon. Kaiser Tiger also features beer and sausage on its menu, plus a wide variety of craft beers. But the real beauty of this spot is the patio, with a bocce ball court in the back with long tables great for exhausting an afternoon.

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West Loop

Pub Royale

Request a seat on the sizeable sidewalk patio, where you can sip beers and Pimm's cups and nosh on Northern Indian fare. Whether you're here for brunch or dinner, it's easy to feel right at home on the cozy, sun-drenched space. 

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Ukrainian Village
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Sidetrack

Boystown's megabar is famous for its showtunes night, booze-laced slushies and, of course, its gigantic rooftop deck, which packs them in on sunny weekends and summer nights. Plenty of greenery and a multilevel layout provide an intimate feel despite the massive capacity.

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Boystown

Handlebar Bar & Grill

This laid-back Bucktown messenger magnet feeds famished cyclists with internationally inspired veg food. Warm weather demands grabbing a seat at one of the shaded, metal patio tables and ordering from the well-curated selection of microbrews—or, better yet, come for brunch and order a Bloody Hammer that’s topped with a crunchy, juicy fried pickle.

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Wicker Park

The Whistler

Recommended

The Whistler is best known for its almost nightly events and constantly changing drink menu. But when you need a break from what's going on inside, head to the back patio for a bit of a respite from the party. It's a great spot to spend the evening enjoying the summer sun.

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Logan Square
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Sheffield’s Beer & Wine Garden

This huge beer garden turns into a laid-back college reunion on weekend nights, where you'll be a bit strapped to find a table. But once you've secured your spot, head to the different bars for regular tappings of interesting beers. It's more low-key during the week, perfect for dropping in on your way home for a sunny post-work drink.

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Lake View

Big Star

If you want a seat on the Big Star patio, you'll have to show up early or be prepared to wait in line. On sunny weekend days, the wait time can climb into the two-hour range. But once you're in, tacos, margaritas and guac are in your future. If you're looking to day drink the afternoon away, this is your scene. 

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Wicker Park

Howells & Hood

This patio has two things going for it—a massive list of craft beers, plus a prime location at the Tribune Tower, which means you're perfectly situated for an afternoon of people-watching.

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Streeterville
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Moody’s Pub

The reasons to come to this nearly 60-year-old Edgewater institution are many—towering trees shade most of the enormous two-level garden and straightforward half-pound burgers are a notch above average and taste like something your dad grilled when you were a kid. 

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Edgewater

Find more places to drink outside in Chicago

Best outdoor bars in Chicago

After months spent huddling around fireplaces and shivering from inevitable bar-room drafts, you deserve a drink. Outside. With the sun beaming down, margarita in hand. Our guide to the best outdoor bars, from hidden gardens to sidewalk seats, will give you lots of ideas for things to do in the summer, the very best season in Chicago.

Read more
By: Time Out Chicago editors

Comments

1 comments
Sam_Hickey
Sam_Hickey

It is a good idea to hangout in outdoor bars in Chicago for those who are not very rich, whereas rich folks will contemplate about making an outdoor bar with in their own backyard, however it is not a very expensive procedure, and within $20k to $30k you can make your own outdoor bars.