The best wine bars in Chicago

Whether you enjoy a crisp sauvignon blanc or a bold syrah, the best wine bars in Chicago offer plenty of options
Rootstock
Photograph: Jessica Lynn Capron Rootstock
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Handcrafted cocktails and local beers are big draws for Chicago bars, but that doesn't mean we don't have a soft spot for great wine. The city's top sommeliers aren't afraid to think outside the box (or bottle, as it were) in order to curate menus that are packed with unusual finds from around the world. Whether we're after a glass of cheerful bubbles or soul-soothing pinot noir, these are the wine bars we head to. At these spots, even the bar food goes beyond the typical cheese plates—some have menus that rival Chicago's best Italian restaurants. Get ready to sip and swirl at some of the best wine bars in town.

RECOMMENDED: Our guide to the best bars in Chicago

Best wine bars in Chicago

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Bars, Gastropubs

Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park

The novella-length menu at this low-key alcove contains loving and helpful descriptions of an impressive selection of wines and beers. And thanks to the array of small plates served until 1am, this is the kind of warm, simple neighborhood place you’ll never want—or need—to leave.

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Income Tax
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Bars, Wine bars

Income Tax

icon-location-pin Edgewater

Generally speaking, income tax isn’t something we’re thrilled about. Income Tax, a wine bar in Edgewater, on the other hand, is a place you should get excited about. The neighborhood spot offers a knockout selection of inspired bites, but the big decisions are reserved for the exhaustive wine and spirits menu. If you're looking for wines by the glass, there's a concise list of options—from prosecco and rosé to cabernet Franc and syrah.

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Bars, Wine bars

The Press Room

icon-location-pin West Loop

This subterranean wine bar is all but hidden on a quiet corner in the West Loop. But once you step inside, you'll get the sense that it's every nearby resident's favorite secret. Owned and operated by the folks behind upstairs bed-and-breakfast Publishing House, the Press Room offers a robust selection of special wines by the glass and bottle. Sip picks from Chile, Spain, Argentina, Israel, Washington and beyond. Pours are best paired with La Grande Board, an assortment of charcuterie and cheese, or the dreamy chocolate cremeux.

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Photograph: Jessica Lynn Capron
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Bar Pastoral

icon-location-pin Lake View

The restaurant attached to Lakeview's Pastoral is a dim, cozy spot for drinking an interesting selection of wines by the glass, along with the food you want while sipping wines—cheese plates, charcuterie and pâté. Half glasses of wine are just $5–$8, so you can sample a variety. If you like what you taste, well, Pastoral's shop is just next door.

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Bars, Wine bars

Webster’s Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Logan Square

Webster’s Wine Bar relocated from Lincoln Park to Logan Square (where it took over sister spot the Telegraph), but little has changed. It's still a solid place to sample an array of wines, since tasting pours are about $4.50–$7.50, and the knowledgeable staff and engaging menu descriptions will direct you to the right wine. The cheeses and charcuterie plates are just what you need to soak it all up.

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Bars, Wine bars

DiSotto Enoteca

icon-location-pin Streeterville

Old World wine list and Mediterranean small plates: Scott Harris has nailed the formula at Purple Pig and Davanti Enoteca, so why mess with a good thing? Admittedly, the scales at DiSotto (in the cellar-like basement of Francesca’s on Chestnut) tip toward drinking—the food is limited to antipasti, bruschetta, cheeses, salumi and a small selection of pasta. But when you’re spreading thick ricotta and fragments of honeycomb on toasted bread or sampling warm, marinated olives or indulging in the toast with a truffled egg yolk at its center, the appeal of this wine bar can’t help but feel unending.

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Bars, Wine bars

RM Champagne Salon

icon-location-pin West Loop

You enter through an unmarked alleyway, glowing strings of lights leading you to a cobblestone courtyard and ornate parlor that resembles a Parisian hideaway. You forget where you are. You order glasses of champagne you’ve never heard of, you gently unhinge oysters from their shells, and when dessert comes, your selection is plucked from a fanciful cart, replete with bite-size marshmallows. Heaven? Who needs it when there’s RM?

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Bars, Wine bars

Pops for Champagne

icon-location-pin River North

This sleek, shiny bar in Tree Studios boasts—as the name suggests—the city’s best selection of bubbles. Most of it doesn’t come cheap (it never does), but you’re not just paying for the booze—you’re paying for some of the most educated bartenders in town. Take advantage of their knowledge and ask lots of questions. And when you’ve had enough education (and wine), head downstairs to Pops’ cocktail bar, WaterShed.

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D.O.C. Wine Bar
Photograph: Eugene (Huge) Galdones
Bars, Wine bars

D.O.C. Wine Bar

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

The patient staff at this Lincoln Park wine bar doesn't take themselves too seriously, which makes the discovery process here fun and approachable. There are plenty of options by the glass, but deal seekers will want to venture in on Mondays, when bottles under $99 are 50 percent off. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Red & White Wines
Shopping, Liquor stores

Red & White Wines

icon-location-pin Bucktown

An environmentally conscious wine shop, Red & White specializes in natural wines and hard-to-find and obscure booze in all forms. The storefront's new wine bar unsurprisingly pours from the same vein, though guests can expect to find different bottles than what's available up front. The beautiful, modern space also serves a variety of small nibbles including smoked trout with warm fingerling potato salad, anchovy toasts and an assortment of charcuterie and cheeses.

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Shopping, Liquor stores

Lush Wine & Spirits

icon-location-pin River West/West Town

This combination wine store and bar has a few outposts, but we enjoy hanging out at the one in West Town. You'll find a sizable glass list and an abundance of snacks (we like the crispy chickpeas), and since you're there already, you should take a bottle of wine or beer home, too. For convenience.

Check out more great wine bars

Best wine bars in America: Coopers Hall Winery
Photograph: Courtesy Coopers Hall/Heidi Hoffman
Bars, Wine bars

The best wine bars in America

Raise a glass in the country’s finest wine bars, from cozy Old World–focused nooks to contemporary food-and-wine destinations.

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