When it comes to mixing spicy tomato brunch cocktails and topping them with piles of bacon, ham, cheese, grilled cheese, and olives, Chicago does Bloody Marys in a big way. So you're never caught Mary-less, we had the brunch-obsessed ladies of Bloody Best hook up this guide to the best Mary in 23 different 'hoods.
Big Jones (address and info)
NOLA-inspired, Big Jones' offering is a Midwestern-meets-Southern Bloody with Crystal hot sauce and lemon that give it a flavor that's all, “I’m spicy and slightly vinegary, but down-to-Earth. Let’s party”. Bottom line, it tastes great with the warm, complimentary beignets.
Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant (address and info)
You’ve arrived at the Disneyland of brunch, and this Bloody is the ride. The Chief (whomever he is) makes a sensory-overload Sunday buffet with a house-made Bloody that comes with a garnish-your-own bar, complete with cheeses, olives, celery, shrimp, hot sauces, and Worcestershire sauce. Wear sweatpants.
Hot Chocolate (address and info)
It’s hard to stack up against decadent chocolate beverages with clouds of melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows -- unless you're this Bloody. You can taste the care and craftsmanship that goes into “Andy’s handcrafted Bloody Mary mix”. Plus, the blue cheese-stuffed olive is money. Cash money.
Broadway Cellars (address and info)
Do us a favor and host your next book club here. Throw down $10, talk about the book for five minutes, lament about girl/boy troubles, and slurp down all the Bloodys your heart desires. The bottomless Bloodys here aren't too tomato-y or too stiff, they're juuuuuuuuust right.
Ditka's (address and info)
What does a touchdown taste like? Bloody Mike. Thick and hardworking, it’s a powerhouse made with spicy, celery-salt laden Ditka’s Kickass Bloody Mary mix. And Da Coach doesn’t fumble with garnishes: think a skewer piled with shrimp, lemon, lime, tomato, pickle, tomato, and pepperoncini.
Rootstock (address and info)
Wine bars know about complexity. So it’s not a surprise that this intriguing gem of a Bloody is the palate-teasing favorite of Ji on Windy City Live. It’s a tangy, refreshing brunch cocktail with a kick of spice and a hearty cured meats-and-cheese garnish.
Headquarters Beercade (address and info)
This Bloody isn't just a thing Harold and Kumar movies are made of. It’s a flavorful, video-game-fueling, spicy, insanely (ridiculously?) garnished Bloody that comes topped with a stack of meats, cheeses, veggies, and a White Castle slider. Game on.
Summer House Santa Monica (address and info)
Light, airy ambiance isn’t all you get at this Halsted St joint; their Bloody is fresh, briny, and punctuated with cumin. With a garnish of crispy bacon, cucumber, a blue cheese-stuffed olive, celery, lemon, and lime, you'd better pull up a seat and brace for winter.
Three Aces (address and info)
If Giada and Keith Richards co-created a Bloody, it would resemble Three Aces’. A little bit Italian and little bit rock 'n roll -- much like the bar behind it. Think strong, classic tomato flavor offset with horseradish and a bacon-chile rim. Pro tip: drink it on their killer patio.
Lula Café (address and info)
Need a reminder that all Bloodys aren’t created equally? Order the Classic Lula '99 Bloody Mary. We still dream of their smoky, spicy, gin-filled smooth operator that was strangely named 11am Sunday 54 E 1st St Bloody Mary. It's no longer on the menu, but rumor has it, they’ll make it on request.
Emerald Loop Bar and Grill (address and info)
The Loop is where you power lunch, not power brunch. But if you need an in-between-meetings drinking break, go to the Emerald and seek out the Bloody. It’s a solid, go-to, tomato-heavy Bloody that makes even the worst boss slightly more tolerable.
Flo (address and info)
In this New Mexican-inspired establishment, Flo is sorta like Walter White if he made Bloodys instead of meth. And you’re Jesse Pinkman if he helped make Bloodys instead of meth, so apprentice your ass off with your choice of tequila, vodka, or house-made bacon bourbon. Now, say my name.
Glenn's Diner & Seafood House (address and info)
Don’t let the cereal boxes on the wall throw you off: My Big Fat Bloody Mary is for grown-ups. Its secret ingredient (milk stout) gives it grit and effervescence. Starting with horseradish, this spicy number finishes with honeydew melon, celery-salt seasoned shrimp, celery, and a crunchy carrot.
Old Town Social (address and info)
Holy charcuterie! And other hard-to pronounce words! The Belvedere Southern Mary is made with horseradish and house-made hot sauce. But the show stopper is the brunch appetizer on top: crisp pickled okra, hearty smoked Gouda, in-house cured salumi, and prosciutto- and provolone-stuffed pepper.
Dusek's (address and info)
Hipsters love this Longman & Eagle sister restaurant, and we do too. The Board & Beer Bloody is so well balanced that you can’t pinpoint exact ingredients except for the bold use of horseradish. And what’s a Bloody without a High Life pony?
Fountainhead (address and info)
This Bloody Mary has always been a spicy, thick fan favorite, but it has reached epic status with the entrance of Chef Cleetus Friedman. His take on our favorite tomato drink, the Cleetus Heatus, is spicy with a sweet edge and made with North Shore Distillery aquavit.
Sunda (address and info)
Sumo Mary topped our Chicago’s most ridiculous Bloody list, but it’s certainly no joke. It’s 32-tomatoey-ounces of mouth-watering Asian flavors, cilantro, and cucumber with a buffet on top. Get ready: baked Alaska crab roll, Chinese duck bao bun, pork belly, grilled cheese with tocino, oshinko, roasted potatoes, shishito peppers, loompya, Chinese broccoli, and bacon.
Endgrain (address and info)
And you thought you had to go to Red Lobster to experience the miracle of fluffy cheddar biscuits. Look no further than this fresh-tasting, spicy brunch gem that basically come topped with a deconstructed ham sandwich. If only you could only get a basket of these at your table...
Eleven City Diner (address and info)
The Serious Bloody Mary is serious...ly amazing! Tangy, spicy, peppery, with a generous dose of celery salt. Plus, you get a cute little flag with your mountain of garnishes. Take home a bottle of the house mix for $7.
Fat Cat (address and info)
Known for its legendary Bloody Mary cart, this Northside bar is now known as the winner of the inaugural Chicago Bloody Mary Competition. Belly up on the weekend and ask for the “award-winning” Bloody that’s spicy and sweet with BBQ boldness.
Little Goat Diner (address and info)
Meet the cultural melting pot of brunch cocktails. The Bloody Mary at Stephanie Izard’s diner outpost comes mixed with pickled onion juice, kimchi, masala, and miso. The result? Smoky, spicy, and a punch of pickled flavor. Oh and also: goat cheese-stuffed olive.
Twisted Spoke (address and info)
The Bloodys at this biker bar are more than boozy tomato drinks. They’re Chicago legends. You’ll want to work your way down the eight on the menu, from the classic Road Rash, to smooth gin-cloaked Bloody Queen, to the smoky scotch-imbibed Deliv’rance.
Bangers & Lace (address and info)
Tomato and pineapple juices. It shouldn’t work, but it does in spades with The Hawaiian, a spicy, smoky, sweet, and utterly unique take on a Mary. Not into a Bloody version of a luau? The Meat & Potato with potato vodka, veal demi-glace,and a beef jerky garnish may be more your speed.
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Follow Elaine and Amber on their quest to find the absolute best Bloody Mary in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods at BloodyBest.com.
1. Big Jones5347 N Clark St, Chicago
2. Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant3471 N Elston Ave, Chicago
3. Mindy's Hot Chocolate1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago
4. Broadway Cellars5900 N Broadway, Chicago
5. Ditka's Restaurant100 E Chestnut St, Chicago
6. Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar954 N California Ave, Chicago
7. Headquarters Beercade213 W Institute Pl, Chicago
8. Summer House Santa Monica1954 N Halsted St, Chicago
9. Three Aces1321 W Taylor St, Chicago
10. Lula Café2537 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago
11. Emerald Loop Bar and Grill216 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
12. Flo1434 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
13. Glenn's Diner & Seafood House1820 W Montrose Ave, Chicago
14. Old Town Social455 W North Ave, Chicago
15. Dusek's1227 W 18th St, Chicago
16. Fountainhead1970 W Montrose, Chicago
17. Sunda110 W Illinois St, Chicago
18. Endgrain1851 W Addison St, Chicago
19. Eleven City Diner1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago
20. Fat Cat4840 N Broadway St, Chicago
21. Little Goat820 W Randolph St, Chicago
22. Twisted Spoke501 N Ogden Ave, Chicago
23. Bangers & Lace1670 W Division St, Chicago
If you’re looking for real Southern comfort in Chicago, then Big Jones in Andersonville is for you. The menu is filled with authentic Lowcountry dishes adapted from antique cookbooks, like cornbread muffins taken from an 18th-century plantation recipe and traditional Cajun gumbo. The sustainable menu changes seasonally, but no matter what, expect the signature fried chicken every night. Big Jones’ weekend brunch is also a stunner, especially if you nab a table on the back patio.
Named after a Chicago policeman who supposedly saved Irish music (he reportedly collected and published the largest collection of Irish music ever), Chief O’Neill’s in Avondale is the place to go for an authentic pub experience. Its huge drink menu covers everything from Irish, North American, and Scotch whiskey to local craft beers, and is matched in size only by the food menu, on which you’ll find traditional dishes like corned beef and cabbage alongside vegetarian plates. Add a backyard patio, and you’ve got a great spot to take in some Irish jigs.
Pastry chef Mindy Segal's Bucktown restaurant is synonymous with comfort food from both the sweet and savory sides of the spectrum. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Mindy's Hot Chocolate serves soul-warming dishes, like the Slagel Farm beef burger topped with a fried egg, creamy mac & cheese, and daily soups with crusty sourdough bread. Of course, a meal here isn't complete without dessert, which should include an order of the amazingly rich hot chocolate and a slice of the daily cake (or anything off the dessert menu -- it's all addictive).
On top of awesome breakfast and brunch options, Broadway Cellars in Edgewater offers great drinks, including bottomless Bloody Marys!
Come to Ditka's Restaurant, and you might just see Da Coach himself. Walk right in, savor the legendary surroundings, and get down to business: it's time for Ditka's signature -- a jumbo Spicy Chili Cheese Polish.
Opening today from a group of Webster's Wine Bar vets aiming to achieve simultaneous vino and brew notoriety, RS's a cozy 50-seat nook decked out with locally painted artwork and mismatched, second-hand furniture.
Cheers to never growing up. Headquarters Beercade lets you relive your childhood with all of the video games you loved and the added bonus of being able to consume alcohol while you play. There’s an extensive list of American craft drafts and games galore: whether you’re a pinball wizard looking for your next conquest, or brushing up your skills at arcade classics like NBA Jam and Mortal Combat, this bar is a gamer’s paradise. The space itself is sprawling and the vibe is convivial, making it a popular weekend destination for groups.
From Lettuce Entertain You, Summer House Santa Monica brings Chicago a much-needed dose of SoCal flavor. The restaurant goes full force with its Angeleno theme, from the beach house-meets-garden party decor to the expansive list of California wines. Seafood and vegetable plates shine on the menu -- which also includes tacos, sushi, and burgers -- but the most notable dishes, like wild mushroom enchiladas and king crab orecchiette, are found under the speciality "Things We Love" section. Pro tip: top off your meal with a bacon chocolate chip cookie from the bakery counter at Summer House's sister restaurant, Stella Barra Pizzeria, which is right next door.
A rock-inspired gastropub filled with secluded black leather "gangster booths" and black glass chandeliers, TA's bringing the flavor with bar snacks from pork-fried nuts to farm-raised jerky, and Italian-influenced eats like wild boar sausage.
This Logan Square restaurant has been embracing the farm-to-table philosophy long before the term was so ubiquitous. Open since 1999, Lula Café is a weekend brunch destination with lines running out the door for unreal breakfast sandwiches and veggie-centric mains. The menu is always changing given ingredients' availability, but you'll find it hard to be disappointed by whatever's in store. The garden patio area is the perfect spot for sipping morning cocktails and people watching on Sundays.
The Loop is where you power lunch. It's a great place to grab a pint too. And don't forget about brunch either, they've got one of the best Bloody Marys in town.
This Latin American brunch spot is the perfect place to treat yourself to great comfort food in Noble Square. Aside from free coffee, their French toast is super tasty and their Bloodys are strong and delicious.
Don’t let the cereal boxes on the wall throw you off, this place serves some of North Center's best seafood dishes. Plus, My Big Fat Bloody Mar, made with milk stout, is the perfect way to cure any hangover.
Old Town Social is setting out to seamlessly infuse turn-of-the-century elegance into its classic neighborhood bar confines. The upscale, spacious, high-ceiling'ed gastropub is as good a place to watch the game as it is to enjoy a nice dinner out on the town. Nestle up to the marble bar top for front row seats to the flat screens, cozy into the front room's fireplace and sip on signature cocktails, gather a group and dine on a slew of contemporary American share plates (don't skip the mac 'n cheese), and stop by the vintage shoe shine station on your way out, of course.
Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.
This Ravenswood tavern is a mahogany-ensconced destination for craft beer and beer-focused comfort cuisine (burgers, fried chicken, steak frites). The beer list, which features a mix of local gems and international brews, is always fantastic, and there's an equally robust selection of whiskey if you're looking for something a little stronger. During the warmer months, the rooftop garden is always happening.
Toeing the line between swanky hotspot and sophisticated dining destination, this Asian fusion concept from Rockit Ranch Productions is a worthy choice for an undeniably hip meal out in River North. The menu offers some seriously interesting eats (duck breast kimchi, oxtail pot stickers) and includes sushi, sashimi, and plenty of wok dishes. The beer list is heavy on the Asian pours, and there are sake and speciality cocktails as well. Sunda's decor feels just as sleek as the menu with polished black bamboo and high wooden tables.
Endgrain is a Roscoe Village, farm-fresh restaurant that's turning out innovative cuisine (think fried chicken with PORK GRAVY and bacon/butterscotch donuts).
A matrimony of the Jewish delicatessen and the old-school diner, Eleven City Diner's a greasy spoon sans the grease, with awesome double-decker sandwiches and generally huge portions of pretty much everything.
This casual and spacious Uptown spot is serving everything from flatbreads and burgers to salads and wings, plus some of the best Bloody Marys in town during its weekend brunch. You'll also find a rotating craft brew selection featuring more than 80 beer options, most of them American, which you should tap into before heading out to one of the two outdoor patios. Better yet, sidle up to the pool table, shuffle board, or giant Jenga.
Right across the street from its upscale sister Girl & The Goat, Stephanie Izard's Little Goat is an all-day upscale diner that serves insanely creative takes on classic American comfort food. Split between a sit-down restaurant and a bakery, Little Goat is the place to go for over-the-top breakfast (breakfast spaghetti, banana peanut butter waffles), exceptional burgers (you can choose between a beef, goat, and veggie patty), and crazy desserts (smoked pork & toffee crunch milkshakes, Cheez-It sundaes). If you can't sit and stay -- or handle the long weekend waits -- then hit the "Grab and Goat" take-away area.
In case the exterior motorcycle art and bike handlebars on the front door didn't tip you off, Twisted Spoke is a biker bar. The West Town hangout is beloved by Chicagoans of all stripes thanks to a massive selection of whiskey and beer, legendary Bloody Mary menu, rooftop garden, and sinister bites like barbecue nachos and fried jalapeño poppers. Of all the things that make Twisted Spoke stand out though, it's the weekly Saturday night "Smut and Eggs," when you can order breakfast food and watch porn. Um.
Bangers & Lace is Wicker Park's craft beer and sausage haven. You've come to the Wisconsin tavern-like establishment for bangers and lace... and whiskey, and also probably a burger. But it's known for its house-made sausages, which run the gamut from classic (Chicago-style hot dogs and corn-battered and fried dogs) to experimental (lamb Kofta, Cheddarwursts, and duck sausage BLT). The craft beer selection -- on draft, in bottles, and in six-packs -- is global, from the regional Great Divide's Barrel-Aged Old Ruffian to St. Feuillen's Grand Cru, as is the whiskey list, which its nearly as extensive.