Whether you're a birthday diva or hate the attention, planning a party can be stressful. Chicago has no shortage of fantastic birthday party options for adults, but some years you just want to pile all your friends in a bar and call it a night. From spacious beer gardens to sophisticated cocktail havens, we rounded up the best celebration-friendly watering holes in the city.
The best bars for birthday parties in Chicago
Ring in another year on the planet with pitchers of pilsner and grilled brats on the roof deck of Gene's Sausage Shop, a Lincoln Square mainstay. With long picnic tables and an even longer list of housemade sausages, Gene's is a great place to kick back for a long afternoon of celebrating. Maybe don't invite your vegetarian friends, though.
If you have a summer birthday, Happy Village's massive backyard patio is ideal for big groups. Patrons are invited to BYO food, so it's totally possible to dig into birthday cake while throwing back a Miller High Life. When the garden closes at 11pm, pack up your picnic and head inside for jukebox jams, cheap brews and enough whiskey to keep your whole crew partying all night long.
In the warmer months, Kaiser Tiger's sprawling patio is fit for big and small groups of beer-loving revelers. Winter babies, don't fret. Come December, the outdoor space is transformed into a curling rink. As long as your friends can get down with sausage, beer and friendly competition, it's a sure bet. And if not, maybe it's time to find new friends.
Sheffield's has a bit of a bro-ey vibe to it, but its summertime beer garden makes sifting through frat guys totally worth it. Arrive early to stake out your spot outside, or stay inside to cruise the sophisticated beer list. This is a particularly reliable choice on weeknights... just try to avoid game days.
If you're a birthday princess, you'll feel right at home at this West Loop champagne emporium. When you arrive, you'll enter through an unmarked alleyway adorned with string lights and cobblestone, which leads to an ornate parlor and precious courtyard. When winter rolls around, cozy up inside on the couches with oysters and a cocktail. Hello, birthday heaven.
Saint Lou's has a lot going on, which means more choices for your birthday bash. There's the '70s-style full-service restaurant, which offers meat-and-three combos for hearty eaters, but the main attraction is the glorious patio out back. With big tables, bocce ball and stadium seating, it's an idyllic spot for a day-drinking party. Psst: We're quite fond of the lavender lemonade with your choice of clear spirit. When the day fades, head inside to sister spot, Moneygun, for more cocktails and bar snacks.
This environmentally friendly bar—complete with rooftop herb garden and solar panels—is the place to be if you're looking for live music, art or just a unique place to drink. In addition to the extensive cocktail menu and bar bites available in the main room, Simone's offers two additional spaces for DJs, art exhibits and salon-style discussions. The wraparound bar means it never feels too crowded—even if it is a Pilsen hotspot.
Small Bar is a totally unassuming watering hole on a quiet, residential block in Avondale, making it the perfect place to bring friends together. The beer selection is fantastic, and snacks like hand-dipped cheese curds and burgers round out the menu. With a gorgeous arched and mirrored wooden bar, gold-painted tin ceilings, bubbling Lava lamps and an alt-rock-heavy jukebox, we wish every night could be our birthday party at Small Bar.