Sip and savor the breezy charm of Chicago with our guide to the Best Beer Gardens, where the city’s social scene meets al fresco delight. From lush rooftop terraces to charming outdoor patios, these beer havens redefine the art of enjoying a brew in the open air. Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods host these laid-back retreats, offering not just a drink but an immersive experience. Whether you’re a craft beer enthusiast or seeking a tranquil spot to unwind, our curated list ensures that every pour is complemented by a vibrant atmosphere. Join us in exploring the top Beer Gardens in Chicago, where the blend of refreshing drinks, delectable bites, and inviting surroundings creates the perfect recipe for a memorable outing.
With a name like that, you know what you are getting into. In all honesty, I like going to Miller Lite Beer Garden Grove for the skyline, which is especially beautiful at sunset here in Chicago. The beer garden is on Navy Pier, so you get a full view of the boats gliding by after a lovely walk on the pier. I also appreciate that this beer garden has food. Some beer gardens only provide light snacks, but you can get a full meal while listening to live music. You probably cannot call it a garden because you cannot enjoy a lot of plant life here. There are some pretty flowerpots here and there, though.
As you might guess from the name, this is a German-themed beer garden and is completely family-friendly. This beer garden has a wide-open patio with shaded tables and a full German menu. Part of the beer garden is an indoor bar, so you can stop there to admire the wide range of German beer available. Beer-wise, you can never go wrong with a chili Sheboygan or a Hacker Pschorr Weisse. I would go so far as to say this place has the best German food in Chicago. Plus, you have to get out to the garden in the summer, where it is cozy, and the customers are always kind and relaxed.
Kaiser Tiger calls itself Chicago’s best beer garden, which is a lofty title for all the beer gardens there are. Of course, you have something good when your beer garden is open in both rain and sunshine. Having twenty-plus beers on tap helps too. Plus, you can play bocce nearby in the warmer months and curling in the colder months, both of which are a lot of fun. Otherwise, you can enjoy the beer garden on a sunny day or a warm night, when you can relax under the fairy lights. The food is also good and in pretty large portions. I could easily share a side of the french fries with a friend. They serve the fries with curry ketchup, and it is delicious!
If you happen to stop in Wrigleyville, drop by Murphy’s Bleachers for a trivia game or a beer before or after a Cubs game. The place has seen many names over the years, but it is a staple for Chicago baseball fans, with plenty of Cubs memorabilia. That said, I prefer to come here on a non-game day. It is much quieter there, but you will still see some regulars hanging out then. You can enjoy some comfort food there, like grilled cheeses, mozzarella sticks, burgers, brats, ham and cheese sandwiches, and homemade potato salad. We cannot forget a good Chicago-style hot dog either. The rooftop is this place’s beer garden, in a way, and it has a marvelous view of Wrigley Field.
O’Donovan’s is a beautiful Chicago pub with outdoor and indoor seating, but they are not wholly separate. The restaurant windows are wide open in the summertime, and you can enjoy the beer garden out back with beautiful plants and comfortable couches. I like how they bring the outdoors into the restaurant with the leafy vines hanging from the lights. You can get beer, wine, and cocktails at this beer garden. They also have specials daily for dinner, like $2 burgers on Monday and BBQ ribs on Tuesday and Thursday. I like to get the Kobe burger or the Asian chicken salad.
Sheffield’s Beer & Wine Garden is one of my favorite beer gardens, mainly because the garden and the restaurant are not separated. You can go to the bar to grab a drink before sitting at your table, surrounded by beautiful plant life and fresh air. The place recently became famous for its in-house BBQ, but they have over 100 beer bottles and a huge vintage beer collection. They also have four bars and a fireplace at either end of the beer garden. It is no surprise that Food and Wine Magazine once ranked the beer garden as one of the best in America.
Hopleaf is a great place for a small, literal taste of Belgium. They have famous mussels and frites, plenty of Belgian signs to read on the walls, and a few Belgian drinks. I would not call this a typical beer garden, but it has beautiful, airy outdoor seating. They have a wide selection of beers and ciders, plus some delicious food, such as cornbread with chili, Reuben sandwich, fried chicken sandwich, and steak frites. This place has no TV and music, so it is a great beer garden for focused conversation and true peacefulness.
Located in Wicker Park, the Perch’s outdoor beer garden is lovely and is quite popular with dog walkers. Indoors, the space is huge and open, with vines and plants hanging from the ceiling. The shrimp, spinach dip, lobster deviled eggs, steak frites, chicken dip, tuna salad, and brussel sprout salad are sound choices for food here. The cornbread makes a great light snack. Plus, they make a lot of their food on a charcoal grill, so that smoky taste is welcome. For drinks, I like the rose sangria and the Purple Rain cocktail every once in a while.
Gannon’s Pub’s beer garden might not be as impressive as the others on this list, but it is still a relaxing spot in Lincoln Square. It is an enclosed area with lights and plants and is excellent for chilling out day or night. They have TVs in the garden, so it is an ideal place to enjoy a game. The Wisconsin burger, Cajun burger, and cheese curds are great, and their Long Island iced tea is terrific for relaxing on a warm day. You can get burgers half off on Tuesday, which is a big plus for their great burgers. I should note that Gannon’s Pub likes watching Michigan State games, and they have drink specials on game days.
Irish pubs and restaurants are always fun to visit, especially with some scenic outdoor seating. You might even hear a live Irish band playing when you go. There is also plenty of Irish memorabilia scattered around the interior. The garden is lovely and calming to sit in. The calamari with shrimp and the beer-battered fish and chips are great starters. I like the shepherd’s pie and corned beef sandwiches for the main courses. Unfortunately, there are not many vegetarian options, just to note. There is usually a cover charge on St. Patrick’s Day when the restaurant has more live entertainment than usual.
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