Whether they are called bartenders, mixologists or victuallers, Chicago drink professionals know how to concoct a killer cocktail.
Here are a few of my favorite cocktail spots in the city:
A new Logan Square spot with funky combos and they actually have some cocktails on tap. Get some artisanal bread and be sure to try The Cocktail and Grapes, Rice and Wrath.
Their cocktail menu is extensive and arranged according to spirit so its easy to navigate, assuming you know what you are craving. Though they have a few rotating originals, be sure to get familiar with some of the old classics. Oh! Be brave and try the Malort and tonic. It is surprisingly delicious I promise!
Slightly pretentious with their various ( not quite tongue in cheek) rules, The Violet Hour is gorgeous and still a fun experience. It isn’t really the place to chill for more than a drink, maybe two. But their highbacked chairs, luxe decor and almost costumed bartenders make it an impressive place to takes guests. I loved the Juliet and Romeo.
This “bar, gallery, record label and venue” was listed as one of GQ’s top 25 cocktail bars in America. Funky cocktails that aren’t over priced ( rare in Chicago let me tell you) they have events happening constantly so be sure to check out their website to plan the best time to go.
Specializing in gin cocktails, this place has super well priced drinks. The bar is impressive and the second room is full of Versailles-esque mismatched furniture which makes me want to sit in all the chairs. They’ve got some yummy fancy snacks to pair with your refreshment.
Eat.Drink.Sleep. This whiskey focused restaurant/bar has a classy hipster vibe. Another Logan Square spot, it’s got “farm to table”, gourmet “regional American fare”. Outside while you are waiting for a table, grab a drink at their “Offsite bar”. The Hills like White Elephants is super strong and memorable. If you can’t make it home, then I suggest staying in one of their uber-hipster hotel rooms upstairs. Cassette tapes and whiskey tokens included.
This is a restaurant a couple blocks from my old apartment. It got progressively better with each visit. We’d get their risotto special which was always absolutely delectable. Their cocktails are $10 and change seasonally. My very favorite is the Dear Prudence which has pink peppercorns and gin.
Ok so if the Mad Hatter had a cocktail lounge, this would be it. It’s started by Grant Achatz ( of Alinea and Next ) so you know that absurdity is inevitable. These cocktail creations are incredible. If you can score a reservation, and are willingly to splurge on $20+ drinks, it is most definitely worth at least one visit. We tried 3 cocktails the other night.
In the Rocks was an iced sphere with an amazing old fashioned inside, which you cracked open with a small slingshot.
Ford’s Model Tea was served in a dainty teacup while a teapot filled with dry ice fumes enhanced the bergamot essence while you sip.
The third was a Pap Finn, which came out in a siphon and full of small beads that melted theatrically.
This was then put into a pot which contained an iced cube of lemon juice, one of huckleberry and one of tea. They were absolutely fantastic. Over the top? Of course. But look at it as a cocktail event!
For more imbibing info check out : Chicago Eater’s Where to Drink Now Heatmap