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beatnik on the river, beatnik, patio, outdoor
Photograph: Francis Son

The best new Chicago rooftops and patios of 2019

Catch some rays at the best new rooftops and patios in Chicago this summer

By Morgan Olsen
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Come summertime, Chicagoans emerge from hibernation and flock to the best rooftop bars Chicago has to offer. And heck, we deserve all the sunshine and frosé after our long and brutal winters. As the thermometer creeps up above 60 degrees, we're scoping out the best new Chicago rooftops and patios that opened in the last year—and a few that are still in the works. The latest crop includes some of the best new restaurants in Chicago, like Le Sud, Aba and Mini Mott. Plenty of exciting new Chicago bars made the list, too, offering summer-ready cocktails, endless pours of rosé and ice-cold beer. Grab your sunglasses and SPF and book it to the best new rooftops and patios in Chicago this summer.

RECOMMENDED: The best new rooftops and patios that opened in 2018

Best new rooftops and patios 2019

Cabra
Cabra
Photograph: Morgan Olsen

1. Cabra

Restaurants Peruvian West Loop

Easily one of the year's most highly anticipated rooftop restaurants, Cabra is the crown jewel of the new Hoxton hotel in the West Loop. Chef Stephanie Izard steers the menu here, with Peruvian-inspired fare like shrimp ceviche, yuca fries and empanadas. Plus, you don't have to be a hotel guest to dip your toes in the rooftop pool.

Aba, rooftop, patio, outdoor dining, outdoor, restaurant
Aba, rooftop, patio, outdoor dining, outdoor, restaurant
Photograph: Jeff Marini

2. Aba

Restaurants Mediterranean West Loop

If you're hoping to snag a table at this always-packed West Loop rooftop, stop what you're doing now and make a reservation. Chef CJ Jacobson delights diners with fresh Mediterranean-inspired bites such as hamachi crudo, house-made stracciatella and slow-braised leg of lamb wrapped in eggplant. Lead mixologist Liz Pearce keeps the good times flowing with rooftop-friendly cocktails like the Aloe? It's Me, with mezcal, aloe, green juice, lime and jalapeño.

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Z Bar, rooftop, bar, rooftop bar, patio, outdoor, downtown
Z Bar, rooftop, bar, rooftop bar, patio, outdoor, downtown
Photograph: Neil Burger

3. Z Bar

Bars Hotel bars Streeterville

The Peninsula's swanky rooftop lounge has it all: sweeping city views, intricate tipples and a roster of delicious, shareable snacks. When you see the Disco Fever cocktail pass—it's served in an actual disco ball, so you can't miss it—flag down your waiter and order one for the table.

Photograph: Barry Brecheisen

4. Offshore

Bars Cocktail bars Streeterville

With 36,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space to roam through with a cocktail in your hand, Navy Pier's Offshore is one of the largest rooftops in Chicago. 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 firepits and a stage for live performances. During the summer, it's a popular spot to watch the tour boats cruise by and take in the weekly Navy Pier fireworks displays.

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beatnik on the river, beatnik, patio, outdoor
beatnik on the river, beatnik, patio, outdoor
Photograph: Francis Son

5. Beatnik On the River

Restaurants Loop

Upon entering this breathtaking riverfront oasis, you might catch yourself wondering if you've been transported to a faraway place. An offshoot of the popular West Town dining destination by the same name, Beatnik On the River draws inspiration from the ’50s and ’60s, offering dishes and drinks from around the globe. The best tables in the house are on the 80-seat patio, which sits along the Chicago River and is outfitted with colorful tile, Indonesian daybeds and fringe-lined umbrellas. Order a glass of bubbly and stay awhile.

Photograph: Heidi Harris – Our Labor of Love

6. VU Rooftop Bar

Bars Near South Side

There's a lot going on inside this 13,000-square-foot all-season rooftop bar in the South Loop. Belt it out inside a karaoke room, grab a drink at the solarium bar or snap a photo of the skyline from 22 floors above street level.

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Hampton Social Streeterville
Hampton Social Streeterville
Photograph: Marcin Cymmer

7. The Hampton Social Streeterville

Restaurants American Streeterville

The Hampton Social's Streeterville location is doing the most with this expansive, turf-lined rooftop deck with room for up to 62 guests. The menu here is ready for summer, with oysters, brick-oven pizzas, crispy calamari and more than 10 rosés to choose from.

Photograph: Clayton Hauck

8. Parson's Chicken & Fish Lincoln Park

Restaurants Soul and southern American Lincoln Park

If the original Parson's in Logan Square is jam-packed (when isn't it?), head east to the new outpost in Lincoln Park. Though the patio's physical footprint is a bit smaller than its predecessor, you can still order all your old favorites, including fried chicken, cheese curd fritters and—most importantly—negroni slushies.

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SX Sky Bar at Hotel Essex
SX Sky Bar at Hotel Essex
Photograph: Kailley Lindman

9. SX Sky Bar at Hotel Essex

Restaurants American Loop

You may have heard about this South Loop rooftop bar because of the $669 cocktail on its menu (for the record, it includes a bottle of Dom Perignon), but there's a lot more going on at SX Sky Bar inside Hotel Essex. The bi-level, indoor-outdoor lounge offers plenty of room to sip cocktails, sit down for a bite or hit the dance floor.

Photograph: Courtesy Lonesome Rose

10. Lonesome Rose

Restaurants Logan Square

The long-awaited rooftop at Lonesome Rose finally debuts this spring, with 40 seats in the sun and plenty of Tex-Mex treats. Picture yourself here with a frozen margarita in one hand and a queso-drenched tortilla chip in the other.

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All Together Now
All Together Now
Photograph: Carolina Mariana Rodríguez

11. All Together Now

Restaurants American creative River West/West Town

West Towners are lucky to have this sweet bottle shop that doubles as an all-day eatery with elevated bites like lentil croquettes and pistachio-crusted walleye. Pluck a bottle of vino from the shelves (or order by the glass) and grab a seat on the sidewalk patio to soak up the late-afternoon sun.

Photograph: Casey VanderStel

12. Mini Mott

Restaurants Logan Square

People-watching in Logan Square is made infinitely better with double-decker burgers, katsu chicken sandos, saucy wings and garlicky fries. The drink menu—with local suds, wine and easy-drinking cocktails—doesn't hurt, either.

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Monnie Burke's
Monnie Burke's
Photograph: Phillip Sturm Photography

13. Monnie Burke’s

Restaurants French Lower West Side

The sprawling, bar-equipped patio at Monnie Burke's is a not-so-hidden gem in Pilsen. Spring for the frozen sangria with pisco, apple brandy, chicha morada (a Peruvian drink made with purple corn), citrus and strawberry.

etta, jaclyn rivas, wicker park, food, restaurant
etta, jaclyn rivas, wicker park, food, restaurant
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

14. etta

Restaurants Wicker Park

From the street, you may not realize that etta has a sizable second-floor rooftop deck that spans the length of the restaurant. Head upstairs to enjoy dinner al fresco, with summer-ready menu options like fire-roasted whole branzino, wild mushroom pizza and warm banana bread pudding. The cocktails are fun (you can order margaritas for everyone for $69), but the wine list is truly superb, with plenty of rosé for those long summer nights.

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15. Proxi

Restaurants Global West Loop

This border-blurring West Loop restaurant from chef Andrew Zimmerman gets an upgrade this summer with a 30-seat sidewalk patio. There are no missteps on the dinner menu, but the Don't Chouette It cocktail is an absolute must for the patio, with Aperol, bubbly, blood orange and champagne ice cubes.

16. Bar Ramone

Restaurants Tapas River North

With just 16 seats, Bar Ramone doesn't have the largest patio on the list (not even close), but it does have an extensive wine list and porróns, so we can hardly complain. Stop by for Spanish bar snacks and unique wines by the glass after work.

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Young American
Young American
Photograph: John Stoffer

17. Young American

Bars Logan Square

Since opening earlier this year, Young American has been consistently packed. A new sidewalk patio with high-top and communal tables should make it a teensy bit easier to throw back CBD-laced cocktails in Logan Square.

18. Le Sud

Restaurants North Center

This summer, fan-favorite French newbie Le Sud will debut an "enchanted forest" on the building's rooftop. The 40-seat space is equipped with herb-filled planters, fire pits and and a retractable roof, which allows for year-round dining. Sounds ideal for picking at charcuterie and sipping French champagne.

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Funkenhausen
Funkenhausen
Photograph: Courtesy Funkenhausen

19. Funkenhausen

Restaurants River West/West Town

A sweet, 16-seat patio sits outside Funkenhausen in West Town, offering prime spots for a German-inflected, schnitzel-filled brunch along Chicago Avenue.

Punch Bowl Social
Punch Bowl Social
Photograph: Amber Boutwell

20. Punch Bowl Social Chicago

Restaurants American West Loop

Before you get lost inside the 30,000-square-foot space that is Punch Bowl Social, slow down and have a cocktail or two on the 40-seat sidewalk patio out front. The bowling alley will be waiting for you as soon as you're done.

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