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Photograph: Christian Horan Devereaux

Scope out Chicago’s best new rooftops and patios of 2018

Grab a drink and soak up the sun at these new outdoor spaces

By Morgan Olsen

After a long, nagging winter, we're so ready to dine alfresco at some of Chicago's best new restaurants and bars. And for enduring snowy weather well into April, the outdoor powers that be are rewarding us with an epic lineup of new patios and rooftops. We rounded up the most promising options—from a romantic, fireplace-equipped oasis in Lakeview to a swanky lounge in the sky to a slew of funky beer gardens. We even tossed in a handful of late bloomers that debuted late last summer or haven't had a patio until this year. Here's where you'll find us sipping frozen cocktails all summer long. 

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Chicago's best rooftops, patios and beer gardens

Chicago’s best new rooftops and patios

The Moonlighter

Restaurants Logan Square

Boasting 2,000 square feet of pristine outdoor space, we have a feeling that this Logan Square sports bar will be a huge hit this summer. Did we mention it's just down the street from Parson's Chicken & Fish? The dog-friendly patio is dotted with picnic tables and firepits, making it all too easy to sip large-format cocktails into the wee hours of the morning. 

Gideon Sweet

Restaurants West Loop

If you ever dined at Graham Elliot Bistro in the summer, you know that the back patio was a hidden oasis in the West Loop. The chef's new concept with Matthias Merges at the same address is resurrecting that clutch outdoor space and spoiling us with an additional sidewalk patio out front. The back patio, which overlooks RM Champagne, seats 54 guests, making it one of the ’hood’s best-kept secrets.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The Warbler

Restaurants Lincoln Square

We already liked the new kid on the block in Ravenswood, but the 120-seat patio really sealed the deal. The exterior space mimics the restaurant's interior with plenty of lush greenery and comfy seating—the perfect backdrop for the bar's colorful, bird-themed cocktails. 

tied house, patio
Photograph: Berga & Gonzalez

Tied House

Restaurants Lake View

An early frontrunner for best new patio of the year, Tied House's intimate, 48-seat outdoor space is downright dreamy. Though it's situated off busy Southport Avenue, the trellis-covered nook is an otherworldly retreat with overhead heat lamps and a lavish fireplace for those chilly summer nights. As if that weren't enough, the patio is pup-friendly, a big perk for neighborhood dog owners.

Big Star Michelada
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas

Big Star

Restaurants Wrigleyville

Big Star's second location brings queso fundido, tacos and margaritas to Wrigleyville, and just like its Wicker Park counterpart, guests will be able to dine alfresco at the new spot. The 80-seater is located directly across the street from Wrigley Field, making the outdoor seats valuable real estate on game days.


Bars Hotel bars Rush & Division

What's sure to be the most in-demand rooftop of the season, Devereaux offers ’70s vibes on the 18th floor of the new Viceroy Chicago. The bar offers a range of beautiful cocktails (mostly twists on classics), beer and wine plus bar snacks like veggie crudite, garlic fries and a cheeseburger. We saved the best detail for last: The rooftop pool is open to anyone at Devereaux, not just hotel guests, so get there early to nab a spot.

Patio at the Kenninson
Courtesy Boka Restaurant Group

The Kennison

Restaurants Contemporary American Lincoln Park

Looking to grab brunch after stocking up on produce at Green City Market? Stroll across the street to this sweet American restaurant on the first floor of Hotel Lincoln and sip mescal Bloody Marys or blood orange mimosas while catching some rays.

GT Prime patio
Photograph: Felicia Roumeliotis

GT Prime

Restaurants Steakhouse River North

Look out for this small but mighty patio on Wells Street this summer. Boka Restaurant Group's modern steakhouse will offer 32 seats on its tree-lined sidewalk. Just this once, skip the red meat in favor of cucumber-studded scallop ceviche, crab and avocado salad and a glass or two of rosé.

Christian Horan Photography


Restaurants American Rush & Division

Somerset opened in the former Cedar Hotel space toward the end of last summer, leaving us just enough time to fall madly in love with the new restaurant's revamped street-level patio. What used to be a raucous outdoor scene filled with buckets o' beer and chicken fingers has transformed into a grown and sexy retreat with colorful swizzles and hamachi crudo.

gibsons italia
Photograph: Kailley Lindman

Gibsons Italia

Restaurants West Loop

This summer, we're picturing daiquiris and seafood towers on repeat at Gibsons Italia. The River North steakhouse will debut two east-facing patios come May—68 seats off the dining room on the third floor and another 32 seats off the bar on the second floor.


Point & Feather

Bars River North

Sip gin-based cocktails in the sun at this upscale dart bar located on bustling Hubbard Street. The flower-lined outdoor space has room for 75 and will offer the same menu as the bar inside; choose from summer-ready bites like crab cake corn dogs, grilled calamari with nduja-tomato sauce and buffalo-tossed gulf shrimp.

Bar Cargo

Restaurants Pizza River North

Take your pick: You can grab a seat on the smaller, 40-seat, dog-friendly sidewalk patio on Wells Street or make your way to the hidden beer garden out back, which has room for 100. No matter where you sit, we recommend ordering a round of frozen cocktails and one of Bar Cargo's signature Roman-style pizzas (we're particularly fond of the Arrabbiata with Pachino tomatoes, chile and garlic).


The Delta

Restaurants American Wicker Park

Another late bloomer from 2017, Delta's sweet out-back patio boasts 350 square feet of space with room for up to 40 diners. The secluded area is covered (perfect for rainy days) and outfitted in vintage knickknacks and lush plants. Order a large-format cocktail and stay a while.

Nick Murway

Ludlow Liquors

The Orbit Room's popular backyard garden patio lives on through Ludlow Liquors, the building's new tenant from the creators of Sportman's Club. Expect communal seating, stadium-style benches, picnic tables and a walk-up window for easy ordering.

bar biscay, interior, restaurant, bar
Photograph: Eugene (Huge) Galdones

Bar Biscay

Restaurants French River West/West Town

Named for the region that stretches from the northern coast of Spain to the western coast of France, Bar Biscay is serving soulful cuisine in a sexy-cool West Town space. Come summer, 14 lucky diners will get to eat their pintxos on Chicago Avenue surrounded by lush flower boxes.

Sleeping Village
Photograph: Christopher Dilts

Sleeping Village

Bars Avondale

Part bar, part music venue, Sleeping Village has a little something for everyone in Avondale. With 56 beer and cider drafts, the bar is the main attraction; guests can choose from ales, stouts, barleys and fruit-centric brews from around the world. Take it outside with the venue's 2,000-square-foot, 152-seat, dog-friendly patio. We have a feeling it'll be a low-key summertime favorite. 


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