This fifth-floor hotel lounge may not be as high up as other rooftop hotel bars, but this alfresco spot has other things to help set it above the crowd: a thoughtful cocktail list, substantial bar snacks and, most important, open seats. Join hotel guests, exhausted Nordstrom shoppers and other fancy folk taking a breather from Rush Street madness for a plate of crab cakes or fried green tomatoes. Service here is excellent—the last time we visited, they offered to valet-park our bike for free. The gratis Sunday night movies—everything from The Help to The Dark Knight is playing this summer—are hard to beat, too.
Conrad Hotel, 521 N Rush St (312-645-1500).