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Photograph: Christina Slaton

How to survive winter: Beeline to the bar

Flee the chill this winter by holing up at tropical tiki bars, indoor beer gardens and fireplaces around Chicago

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
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When the temperatures plummet, it’s easy to make excuses and stay home for a date with Netflix. Squash that tendency and retreat to these bars in Chicago instead—whether it's a great beer bar or cocktail bar, each offers the perfect escape from blustery weather, with terrific drinks to boot.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago this winter

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Loop
  • price 1 of 4
The grand Chicago Athletic Hotel made a splash when it opened over the summer, thanks in part to the stunning rooftop views from bar and restaurant, Cindy’s. The hotel will be a draw come winter, too: In the Drawing Room on the second floor, three fireplaces add a cozy feel to the library-like lobby. Order an old-fashioned ($12) and a crock of French onion soup ($10), or attend the winter fireside storytelling series.
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Avondale
  • price 2 of 4
Lost Lake is an island oasis in all seasons, but come winter, those flower- and umbrella-topped drinks, fish mugs and Hawaiian-shirt-clad bartenders are an easy and effective way to channel warmer climates. Go with a group and share the Beachcomber’s Rule No. 2: Never Bet on Another Man’s Game, a four-person punch made with three rums, tropical passion fruit and pineapple, with falernum and Angostura for spice ($50).
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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4
This rooftop, offering stunning views of Lake Michigan and the beach, is a bar for all seasons, now that a retractable roof encloses the space. Admire the vista over seasonal dishes from chef Paul Virant. Pair it with a cocktail, like the hot Kentucky's Orchard, with Old Forester, ginger, clove, cinnamon, apple cider and lemon—or warm up with a tour through the whiskey list.
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Estereo
  • Bars
  • Café bars
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4
Estereo's Latin-American influences and music make this place a perfect getaway to forget about the cold outside. Grab a seat at the bar and pick a rummy drink and let all your winter blues melt away.
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • North Center
  • price 2 of 4

While many beer gardens close at the end of summer, Village Tap keeps the brews flowing in its comfortably enclosed space with heaters. Order a roasty milk stout or another dark beer from an ever-evolving list that offers more than 20 taps with domestics, Belgians and local brews from Half Acre, Aquanaut and Moody Tongue.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4
Tucked into the back corner of the Freehand Hotel lobby are two fireplaces ideal for warming up in winter. The cozy lobby has a cabin vibe and dark lighting, plus board games like backgammon for whiling away cold nights over wintry cocktails.

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