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Four new Chicago bars you must check out this summer

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
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Summer is meant for exploring the city, one bar at a time. We found the newest spots we can't get enough of, from a buzzy speakeasy to a beautiful new meadery.

Photograph: Adam Jason Cohen

The Hive at Honey's: The buzz here revolves around the intoxicating space and a no-fuss cocktail menu that doesn’t make you think too hard. Filled with wax-dripping candles and ornate couches, the Hive is the kind of place you can really sink into. The bar itself is tiny and lined with four chairs, making it feel like a living room—the one you’d design if you had thousands of dollars to spend on vintage furniture. There’s no printed menu here; instead fix your gaze on the blackboard above the bar for three cocktail options that rotate daily. The folks behind Honey’s have really outdone themselves with this effortless blend of simplicity and abundance. Frankly, we almost wish we could keep this spot a secret.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Wild Blossom Meadery: You’ll have to hike to Beverly to visit this spot, but it’s worth the journey. Wild Blossom Meadery is set inside a massive building with a gigantic taproom boasting tall ceilings, sunny windows, honey-themed decor and a large outdoor patio in the works. The tap list is long, but Wild Blossom has been producing mead for a long time and the bartenders are happy to point you in the right direction or fashion up a flight of samples. There’s no food here, so be careful with your consumption—mead packs a similar ABV to wine and can creep up on you if you're not careful. 

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Alulu Brewpub: Alulu joins the ranks of Pilsen’s growing brewpub scene with a long list of beers that you’ll want to drink all summer long. There are also cocktails and a food menu at the bar (pour Alulu’s killer house-made vinegar sauce on eats like frites and chicken wings), but what this brewery does best is its Belgian beers and IPAs. Skip the ambers and blonds in favor of anything described as hoppy or full of esters. With green moss running along the back of the bar and a heavily sunlit room, this place offers a welcoming setting in which to enjoy a beer.

Photograph: Suzanne Shumaker Photography

Centennial Crafted Beer & Eatery: River North’s nightlife-oriented scene doesn't leave a whole lot of room for craft beer bars. Centennial sticks out (in a good way) as a two-story brew beacon with lofty log cabin feels and a salvaged steel bar. The spot offers 36 draft craft beers, sorted by style, as well as a list of bottle and cans. An upscale chef-focused menu comes from the mind of Ben Sheagren, a Hopleaf vet dishing his own PEI mussels, croquettes and a delicious mac and cheese. With suds from the likes of Shorts, Miskatonic, Begyle and 3 Floyds, this beer bar seems destined to become a happy hour haunt.

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