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Photograph: Clayton HauckDrumbar

Alfresco eating and drinking | Rooftops

The newest spots for sky-high imbibing.


Never heard of the Raffaello Hotel? Just hope nobody else has either so you can snag a seat at this 18th-floor rooftop bar overlooking the lake and Gold Coast before the hordes invade. Banquette seating lines the glass-walled perimeter of the 2,000-square-foot space, and lounge chairs circle two fire pits. Rather keep warm inside? Step through the enormous arched doorway to the cavernous main bar, which has 20-foot-high vaulted ceilings, cozy alcoves with an antique fireplace and two bars to grab one of the six to eight seasonally rotating cocktails, which will focus on Scotch, whiskey and bourbon. Small plates from the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Pelago, will be available inside and out. 201 E Delaware Pl, 18th floor (312-924-2531). Opens June.—Laura Baginski

The J. Parker
A rooftop with spectacular views of the lake, city and Lincoln Park Zoo comes around about as often as a Saturday that’s both Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby—in other words, this year. Soak up the scenery at the Hotel Lincoln’s 75-seat rooftop while your liver soaks in cocktails from Erin Hayes, the fierce new bartender at Perennial Virant. The rooftop’s menu of small bites also comes from PV. 1816 N Clark St (312-254-4700). Opens early June.—Marissa Conrad

Tavern at the Park
With prime real estate across the street from Millennium Park, why did it take this five-year-old restaurant so long to add a rooftop? No matter: It’s (nearly) here now and it comes with a retractable glass roof, which means the third-floor space—and the view—will be accessible year-round. Expect loungy seating and tables for 180, a dedicated bar, and a menu of small plates and larger dishes from the restaurant downstairs. 130 E Randolph St (312-552-0070). Opens June.—LB

III Forks
The Lakeshore East location of this Texas-based steakhouse chain opened its sleek rooftop just as temps turned chilly last year. Enjoy its warm-weather debut in a cabana, perched around stone and glass fireplaces or at the granite-topped bar, which looks out on buildings including Jeanne Gang’s undulating Aqua. 333 E Benton Pl (312-938-4303). Open now.—Julia Kramer

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