Soar to new heights and savor the Chicago skyline with our guide to the Best Rooftop Bars, where every cocktail is a toast to the city’s panoramic beauty. From chic lounges with sprawling views to hidden gems nestled among skyscrapers, these rooftop bars redefine the art of al fresco drinking. Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods offer a tapestry of options, each providing a unique atmosphere to enjoy handcrafted libations against the backdrop of the city lights. Whether you’re a skyline enthusiast or seeking a stylish escape, our curated list guides you through the top Rooftop Bars, ensuring every sip is paired with an unforgettable view. Get ready to elevate your nightlife experience in the Windy City and indulge in the art of rooftop revelry.
Meaning “cherry” in French, Cerise Rooftop is a hip, modern cocktail bar with late-night DJ sets and dance parties on the roof of Chicago’s Virgin Hotels. Located in the Loop, a block from Chicago’s iconic Millennium Park, Cerise has amazing views of downtown Chicago and the Chicago Harbor. Along with an expertly curated cocktail, wine, and beer menu, Cerise also has a robust food menu with elevated bar fares like shrimp cocktails, Memphis fried chicken sandwiches, or steak frites (which I’ve found are a perfect way to spend a night!).
Located in an enclosed glass space on the roof of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Cindy’s Rooftop is a stylish industrial-chic restaurant and bar. You can dine and drink from a seasonal menu of elevated comfort foods with birds-eye views of the famous Bean sculpture, Millennium Park, and Lake Michigan. They have a unique cocktail menu that offers novel twists on classic cocktails along with new inventions. I particularly loved the Prickly Rose, with gin, persimmon liqueur, prickly pear, lemon, and prosecco.
LH is short for London House, a AAA Five Diamond resort overlooking the Chicago River to the north and Millennium Park to the south. The LH Rooftop is a cocktail lounge and fine dining restaurant that’s been voted the second-best rooftop bar in the nation. The LH Rooftop has a fancy and refined atmosphere with a cocktail and food menu to match. Consequently, I had to try the uber-extravagant Filthy Rich cocktail with Ketel One, Amontillado Sherry, Truffle Brine, and a truffle-blue cheese stuffed olive.
Found on the roof of the beautiful Peninsula Hotel overlooking the Chicago Water Tower, Z Bar is the height of luxury and architectural design. Named for the Peninsula’s first female manager, Maria Zec, Z Bar is a fine dining globally-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar with panoramic views of the city. The design of the Z Bar alone is worth the trip, but the menu is as stunning as its surroundings. Expert mixologists make inventive cocktails using the highest-quality ingredients. I wanted a taste of summer so tried the refreshing Strawberry Basil Sidecar with Martell cognac, basic eau de vie, strawberry, and lemon. I’d never had it before, but I’d happily do so again.
Nobu is the most famous fine dining sushi restaurant in the world, with an entire empire of restaurants, hotels, and lounges on nearly every continent. Chicago’s Nobu is an exquisite luxury hotel in Westloop, with its restaurant and sushi bar on the 12th floor and a modern Japanese cocktail bar on the roof. Nobu’s menu of Asian-inspired cocktails, sake and imported beer is as perfect as its award-winning sushi menus. I recommend the Chia Fizz cocktail with prosecco for a pleasing bit of indulgence. The blackberry hibiscus Chia Mama and Meyer lemon sake are honorable mentions well worth trying too.
Located in the edgy and diverse Wicker Park neighborhood, the Kennedy Rooftop is on the roof of the Hyatt Place Hotel in an equally hip and edgy lounge. All the cocktails are named for past presidents and the elevated bar food draws inspiration from global comfort food. As he’s my favorite president, I just had to order the FDR, a delightful concoction made with rum, Giffard Abricot, fresh lime, simple syrup, ginger beer, and Myers Rum Float.
Meaning “father” in Hebrew, Aba is a fashionable Mediterranean restaurant with a gorgeous rooftop patio and lounge overlooking the Fulton Market neighborhood. The patio is a boho-chic oasis adorned with lush greenery, cozy cushioned chairs and benches, and fire pits. Award-winning chef CJ Jacobson creates an authentic menu with dishes from Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece with stunning plating that’s almost too pretty to eat. One of my favorites is the mouthwatering crispy short rib hummus with grilled onions and beef jus.
Located on a massive indoor and outdoor rooftop space in the elegant Lincoln Hotel across from the historic Lincoln Park, The J. Parker is a modern cocktail bar and restaurant. The indoor space has a contemporary, natural, and minimalist design opening onto a dome-shaped skylight where you can enjoy fantastic views even during the winter. I thought it a fun touch that their cocktails are named for Greek mythological characters and concepts like Aphrodite’s Thirst Trap or Ghosting Medusa. My favorite was the Situationship with Hades (yes I do have a soft spot for the Disney movie), featuring mezcal, Violette liqueur, pomegranate, lemon, and kombucha.
The Gwen is Trip Advisor and Conde Nast Traveler’s choice for the best hotel in Chicago, and its rooftop bar, Upstairs, is Thrillist’s choice for the most essential rooftop bars in Chicago. Located along the Magnificent Mile with vies of the Windy City’s skyline and the Navy Pier, Upstairs at the Gwen also has the poshest, most photographable lounge space. They even winterize the rooftop with fire pits and individual cloth igloos. Their delicious cocktails and full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are as creative and culturally diverse as Chicago itself. Their Sweet Tea Sour cocktail is an ingenious concoction, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
If you head to the top floor of the Hoxton Hotel, a block from the Magnificent Mile in West Loop, you’ll discover Cabra. It’s a colorful and cheerful Peruvian restaurant and cocktail bar. Panoramic views of the city lights are available year-round from the comfort of the stunning interior. There’s also an outdoor patio to dine al fresco when the weather allows. Peruvian cuisine offers world-class dishes like ceviche and empanadas, and Cabra offers multiple varieties of each. I recommend ordering the tangy and fluffy Pisco sour to start your meal.
A favorite East Village spot for locals in the know, Homestead on the Roof is a secret rooftop restaurant that’s only open during the summer. It’s above a pizza shop, and unless you’re looking for, you won’t see it from the street. The gorgeous rooftop patio is surrounded by vertical gardens that chefs utilize to elaborate its stunning farm-to-table food and drink menu. The colorful burrata and beets plate with pea tendrils, citrus, and lemon preserves was almost too pretty to eat. Of course, I did, and was thrilled with my choice!
Featured in Culture Trip’s guide to the best rooftops in Chicago, The IO Godfrey Rooftop Lounge is a high-end cocktail bar and New American restaurant in River North, overlooking the Chicago River. It has a retractable roof to shield you from the summer sun and individual igloos to stay warm during the winter. Their chef-driven cocktail menu offers seasonal takes on classic cocktails. I especially enjoyed the Winter Mule, with Ketel One, cranberry puree, thyme syrup, fresh lime, and ginger beer.
Teetering between Bucktown and Logan Square, Lonesome Rose is a casual neighborhood eatery and bar with a basement cocktail bar, a street-level kitchen, and a covered rooftop patio. Lonesome Rose specializes in Mexican food (something I can rarely resist), but their cocktail menu, wine, and beer list are globally inspired. I love the notion of breakfast for dinner, so I delighted in their all-day breakfast burrito with chorizo, avocado, scrambled egg, potatoes, rice, peppers, onions, pico, cream, shredded cheese, and Hollandaise sauce.
Located on the roof of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, Offshore Rooftop is touted as the nation’s largest rooftop venue with amazing views of Lake Michigan and the entire Chicago skyline. Offshore has a cocktail lounge, high-end restaurant, outdoor entertainment areas, multiple fire pits, and designated areas for private parties. Eater and Time Out have applauded Offshore for its family-friendly atmosphere and sophisticated adult menus. I loved their uniquely American take on fish and chips, with beer-battered pike, Texas toast, tartar sauce, hot sauce, and thick-cut fries.
True to its name, RAISED is a few stories above the Chicago River in The Loop right next to the Vietnam Memorial. It is a bustling, hip cocktail bar with industrial-chic décor and an inside-outside rooftop patio. They offer a high-end bar fare menu of small, shareable plates to accompany a creative cocktail menu and robust wine and beer list. I needed an alcoholic pick-me-up and got more than I bargained for with Sunny’s Vice, a rum cocktail with espresso, cocoa puff cream, and simple syrup.
Voted one of the top three rooftop bars in the world by Travel and Leisure, ROOF on the Wit is inside the DoubleTree Hotel in the Loop, 27 floors above the Chicago Riverwalk. Its stunning vintage-chic décor with Warhol-like art prints lining the walls is a festive and elegant setting for corporate events, happy hour hangouts, or romantic dinners. I recommend taking advantage of their happy hour for the cheapest prices in town on select beers, seltzers, wines, and well drinks, not to mention 20% off their delicious wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas.
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