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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

Photograph: Christina Slaton

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

The Drawing Room at Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Drawing Room

icon-location-pin Loop

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.

Lost Lake
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Bars, Cocktail bars

Lost Lake

icon-location-pin Avondale

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).

The J. Parker
Photograph: Max Herman
Bars, Lounges

The J. Parker

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

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.

Photograph: Jordan Balderas
Bars, Breweries

Moody Tongue Brewing Co.

icon-location-pin Lower West Side

With it's big leather chairs and clean white detailing, Moody Tongue feels posh and polished. But grab a seat by the fireplace and sip on a smoky Applewood Gold and you'll warm up just fine.

Bars, Café bars


icon-location-pin Logan Square

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.

Village Tap
Photograph: Max Herman
Bars, Beer bars

The Village Tap

icon-location-pin North Center

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.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Bars, Cocktail bars

The Broken Shaker

icon-location-pin River North

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.

Find more cocktails in Chicago

Berkshire Room
Photo: Jason Little

Cocktails in Chicago

Whether you're looking for your next stop for a drink or want to try to make one yourself, we've got you covered with our guide to cocktails in Chicago.