Get us in your inbox

Search
Raised
Photograph: Courtesy Raised

The 18 best rooftop bars in Chicago

Lounge around in the sun with a drink in your hand at one of the best rooftop bars in Chicago

Edited by
Emma Krupp
Contributors
Zach Long
&
Morgan Olsen
Advertising

Nothing says summer in Chicago like drinking at a rooftop bar—and though we've got a few more months before warm weather is here to stay, you'll find plenty of spots that are open now for sipping cocktails while admiring sky-high views. Grab a bite to eat at rooftop restaurants situated on terraces high above the street and inside hotels in the Loop, or steal away to hidden patios and gardens for a cocktail away from the crowds. Can't brave the early spring temps? Huddle around an outdoor fireplace set-up or opt for drinks indoors at bars with floor-to-ceiling windows (we promise the views are just as good). We'll continue to update this list as more spots open up, but in the meantime, you can get a head start on patio season at the best rooftop bars in Chicago. 

The best of the city under one roof

  • Bars
  • West Loop

Named for Time Out's late founder Tony Elliott, Tony’s is the crown jewel of Time Out Market Chicago. The cozy all-season rooftop bar is decorated in vintage Time Out London covers, twinkling lights and handsome wood beams that stretch the length of the room. The space is anchored by a sprawling bar that serves a curated selection of wines, beers and signature cocktails. If the sun is shining, wander outside to take in skyline views and enjoy a meal on the breathtaking terrace.

Best rooftop bars in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • West Loop

The crown jewel of this luxury hotel in the West Loop is the Rooftop at Nobu, a sprawling outdoor terrace located 11 stories above the street. Complemented by east-facing skyline views, the rooftop's design is streamlined and minimalistic, with modern Japanese touches that are equally stylish and intimate. The menu includes a selection of shuko, or small snacks, like nori tacos, black cod lettuce wraps and lamb and chicken kushiyaki. Guests will also be able to order the hotel's signature yellowtail and black cod. On the booze front, expect a menu of wines by the glass and bottle, specialty cocktails and a wide range of sake. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

An indoor/outdoor lounge on the third floor of the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel serving up cocktails, craft beer, small plates and a view of the city's skyline. The bar menu features New American snacks with an emphasis on frites and steamed buns while the beverage program caters towards the local with drafts brewed in Chicago. Walk-ins only

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Argentinian
  • Loop

Even when it's a little chilly outside, this beautiful rooftop bar at the Kimpton Gray Hotel feels like a tropical paradise. You'll find comfortable couches and small tables set under a gigantic retractable glass roof that lets in some fresh air when the weather is nice. Thirsty? The menu here highlights classic South American cocktails (think pisco sours and chilcanos) and other seasonal sippers. Pair your drink with an order of the fan-favorite empanadas, which are stuffed with chicken, aji panca and aji amarillo salsa. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Loop
  • price 3 of 4

When friends ask us where to take cocktail-loving out-of-towners, one spot always leads the pack: Cindy's. The rooftop restaurant and bar at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel offers unparalleled views of the city, with an expansive look at Millennium Park and the Lake. But the real draw is a roster of excellent cocktails and clever spirit-free elixirs. Walk-ins and reservations (Note: reservations for drinks, desserts or appetizers only not accepted) 

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Streeterville

With 36,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space to roam with a cocktail in your hand, Navy Pier's Offshore is the largest rooftop bar in the world. (Really.) The all-seasons venue includes a glass-enclosed bar where you can order a cocktail and some oysters, as well as an expansive outdoor terrace outfitted with fire pits and a stage for live performances. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Lincoln Park

If you haven't crossed the J. Parker off your Chicago bucket list, grab a glass of sparkling rosé and get to work. With its mesmerizing views of the city and Lincoln Park—plus free jazz nights on Wednesdays—this year-round rooftop bar with a retractable glass roof is a must for entertaining out-of-towners. On particularly beautiful summer days, arrive early and be prepared to wait for a seat to open—it's worth it, promise! Walk-ins only

Advertising
  • Bars
  • River West/West Town

Unlike the expressway of the same name, Chicagoans will actually want to hang out at the Kennedy Rooftop, located on top of the Hyatt Place Chicago in Wicker Park. Here, guests are afforded unobstructed skyline views that stretch from the John Hancock to the Willis Tower in addition to 7,500 square feet to roam. A lineup of craft cocktails pays homage to past presidents, like Reagan’s Orange Blossom with botanical vodka, orange juice, lemon, orange bitters and club soda. Walk-ins and reservations (call 773-270-6770)

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

Head to the 26th floor of the Virgin Hotel and you'll find Cerise, an indoor-outdoor rooftop where you can get lunch, dinner or a late-night drink. You can grab a burger or eat a salad before ordering a mezcal Old Fashioned or some sparkling wine to enjoy while gazing out at the city. On Fridays and Saturdays, you'll typically find a DJ spinning records in the evening—you'll probably want to make a reservation to ensure you get a table. Walk-ins and reservations

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Lincoln Park

Utopian Tailgate, a rooftop deck perched atop the Second City in Old Town, spotlights the many joys of tailgating—complete with tableside coolers of beer, stadium seating and cornhole. The 10,000-square-foot space comes from the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group (the folks behind the Sixth, Homestead on the Roof and Apogee) in partnership with the famed Chicago comedy institution. The sprawling all-year space is decked out in greenery, bright colors and plenty of flatscreen TVs. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Restaurants
  • Loop

In a city full of sweeping views, everyone wants to be on top—but this tri-level venue is the tippy top of all rooftop bars. Located on the 22nd floor of LondonHouse Chicago, LH Rooftop affords guests stunning vistas of the architecture along the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue. You can only make a reservation for the indoor lounge on the 21st lounge for now, but rest assured that the views there are (almost) as good. Walk-ins and reservations

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

It's hard to find towering rooftop bars on the city's North Side, but the Up Room (set atop Wicker Park's Robey Hotel) is one of the few spots where you can sip a drink and look out over the city. Settle in 13 floors above the busy intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues and order a tropical cocktail, a flight of whiskey or a local craft beer. Tables are first come, first served—if you're lucky, you might be seated inside the building's prominent spire. Walk-ins only

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • River North

From the fifth floor of the Gwen Hotel in River North, you can enjoy some unique views of the city, including plenty of the skyline's architectural highlights. Hotel guests and visitors fill the terrace patio for breakfast, lunch and dinner, ordering everything from churro waffles to grilled beef short ribs. The bar is the highlight of the space on the weekends, serving creative cocktails, local beer and a variety of wine. Walk-ins and reservations

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Streeterville
  • price 3 of 4

The Peninsula's stunning rooftop lounge has it all: sweeping city views, globally inspired cocktails and a roster of delicious, shareable snacks. Pair the super refreshing Elderflower Collins with an order of tuna tartare with mango, avocado, cilantro, yuzu and a soy-ginger marinade. Plus, Z Bar now offers several spirit-free options, including mocktails, craft sodas and teas. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Bars
  • Near South Side

True to its name, the views at VU are epic from 22 stories above street level. Once you've secured a seat, order from a selection of classic cocktails (including high-end options, like the Falling for Forester made with Old Forester 1920) before ordering a few bites for the table. With three bars and two patios spread across 13,000 square feet, there's plenty of room to spread out and relax in the sun. Walk-ins and reservations

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • River North

There's not a bad seat in the house at this sprawling year-round rooftop bar (complete with a retractable roof), which affords everyone a front-row seat to a postcard-worthy skyline view. Take in the vistas while sipping a cocktail, a glass of wine or a selection from the impressive mocktail menu. As the sun sets, refuel with wagyu beef sliders, spicy tuna rolls and chocolate lava cake. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • West Loop

The loungey, greenery-lined setup at this West Loop restaurant makes it easy to relax during the colder months with a temporary enclosure and heat lamps—and the sights of the surrounding neighborhood don't hurt either. Order a few Mediterranean dishes from the menu (the spicy hummus, whipped feta dip or the big eye tuna carpaccio are all surefire hits) and then explore the cocktail menu. Even the drinks with the cheekiest names are worth a try—our favorite is the favorite Aloe? It's Me with mezcal, aloe, green juice, lime and jalapeño. Walk-ins and reservations

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Wicker Park

You don't have to walk far to find a bar on this stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, but Whiskey Business is the only spot to offer a sprawling rooftop space. You'll find party-ready drinks like Red Bull vodka as well as a slightly more refined selection of whiskey cocktails (it's in the name). Stop by on Monday nights to watch a movie from a gigantic screen on the rooftop. Walk-ins and reservations

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Loop
  • price 3 of 4

While the ROOF on theWit was once best known as a nightclub, it has changed its tune a bit over the past few years. Now, you'll find couches and small tables set under the retractable glass roof, plus a small open-air terrace with a view (and the most in-demand seats). The menu includes small plates, pizzas and lots of cocktail, beer and wine options. And though the late-night scene here may not be as raucous as it once was, you can still get a bottle of champagne for the table. Walk-ins and reservations

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising