Food & Drink

17 Jaw-Dropping Chicago Locations for Drinks With a View

Published On 05/15/2015 Published On 05/15/2015
courtesy of everest
courtesy of The Langham
 
courtesy of Vertigo Sky Lounge
courtesy of David Ditzler
courtesy of North Pond
courtesy of Galdones Photography
courtesy of Tanta
courtesy of Elle on the River
courtesy of Eric Kleinberg
courtesy of Terrace at Trump
courtesy of Tim Hiatt
courtesy of Signature Room
courtesy of Jeff Kauck
courtesy of Tavern at the Park
 
courtesy of Boka Group
 
Flickr/Seth Amderson
Danya shaikh/thrillist
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1. Everest 440 S La Salle St, Chicago, IL 60605 (Loop)

Replete with expansive views of the city from its post on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Everest is home to one of the country’s largest selections of Alsatian wines. The list itself, featuring 1,600 labels, is primarily focused on the same region as acclaimed Chef Jean Joho’s upscale Franco-Germanic cuisine. For decades, Everest has been a culinary destination among residents and visitors for Joho’s seven-course tasting menu, or the three- or four-course prix fixe menus. And while the wine pairing may be optional, you’d be remiss to skip the intermingling of some of Chicago’s most refined cuisine with one of the world’s best wine lists.

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2. Travelle 330 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (River North)

This super-elegant spot inside The Langham has one of the absolute best views right in the heart of Chicago -- courtesy of those floor-to-ceiling windows -- and has enough curated cocktails (our favorites are the Trinidad James, London Dove, and Beet It) and fried pinwheel pasta, the seriously addicting bar, to make enjoying the skyline for hours totally doable. Oh, and there's also a live harpist, a killer Mediterranean menu, and chicken wings that are on fire (literally!).

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3. Vertigo Sky Lounge 2 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Gold Coast)

On the 26th floor of the Dana Hotel, this rooftop lounge is one of the best party spots in the Chicago hotel bar scene. In the winter, Vertigo turns into an indoor/outdoor ice bar where you can do necessary winter drinking activities like take shots on an ice luge. The rest of the year, it returns to its ultra-luxe penthouse vibe with DJs, bottles of Cristal, buckets of beer, and an outdoor fire pit.

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4. ZED451 739 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Housed in a mammoth, blonde-wooded former churrascaria, ZED's a "contemporary steakhouse" that swipes Brazil's shining achievement: tableside all-you-can-eat rotisserie.

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5. North Pond 2610 N Cannon Dr, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

When it comes to romantic restaurants in Chicago, few top North Pond, a waterfront hideaway within Lincoln Park. Chef Bruce Sherman sources seasonal ingredients from local markets and farmers to craft his menu, which is split between a tasting dinner with optional wine pairings and à la carte items. The Arts and Crafts-style building, originally built in 1912 for ice skaters, is as picturesque as the park surroundings.

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6. Spiaggia 980 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Gold Coast)

Walls of wine bottles line the entrance to this elegant Italian eatery (which nabbed a 2014 James Beard nomination for Outstanding Restaurant), ushering diners into a contemporary space with black marble and white tablecloths. Chef Tony Mantuano heads the kitchen, making the preparation of elevated, artfully plated dishes look like a walk on the beach (by the way, "spiaggia" means beach in Italian). Jackets are no longer required in the dining room, but let it be known, this isn't the type of place where you want to show up looking like a schlub.

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7. Tanta 118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60612 (River North)

Tanta celebrates Peru’s diverse culture by injecting Japanese and Spanish flare into an otherwise Peruvian street-food-centric menu. In addition to traditional street anticuchos (skewers), there's a selection of ceviche, nigiri, and causitas, or whipped potatoes fused with seafood. The restaurant's lively atmosphere -- and creative menu -- tempts you to indulge in fruity, colorful cocktails made with pisco brandy made in the wine regions of Peru.

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8. Elle on the River 330 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (River North)

This first-come, first-served seasonal pop-up on the river features fruity punch bowls (the Elle a Noir features Grey Goose, cherry noir, strawberry, basil and peach), and will pose as your Summer taco shack. Order three, six, or a dozen Calabrian mahi mahi tacos stuffed with lemon, quinoa, and slaw wrapped in housemade chickpea flatbreads while listening to a soundtrack you've selected out on this al fresco patio.

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9. III Forks 333 E Benton, Chicago, IL 60601

A contemporary steakhouse already established in Texas and Florida, III Forks has landed just north of Millennium Park in the new Lakeshore East development, which guests have an expansive view of thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that protect Italian mosaic columns, leather banquettes, and two-way fireplaces, whose linebacker/fullback duties hopefully won't leave them burned out.

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10. The Terrace at Trump 521 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611 (River North)

Another special occasion spot with out-of-this-world unobstructed views, the Terrace at Trump is pretty spectacular when it comes to looking points of Chicago. The unrestrained views of the river, lake, and city peer through the skyscrapers and over the bridges, creating an awe-inspiring feeling of depth in a city oasis. Note: you’re paying for the view and the venue, not the drinks, so opt for wine over cocktails. Also, having a Lobster Maitake Roll and the K-Chick Steam Bun can't hurt.

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11. Drumbar 201 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60611 (Gold Coast)

Not only is Drumbar one of the sexiest rooftop lounges in Chicago, the 18th-floor bar atop the Raffaello Hotel has a brag-worthy selection of whiskey, scotch, bourbon, and cognac. The sleek spot has a cozy den-meets-gentlemen's club decor with dark leather couches, wood-paneled walls, and a marble bar. During the summer, the seasonal outdoor patio makes it even more of an after-work drinking destination near the Magnificent Mile.

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12. The Signature Room at the 95th 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Streeterville)

This fancy schmancy bar and restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center boasts panoramic city views through massive floor-to-ceiling windows. The Signature Room is probably Chicago's most jaw-dropping location for drinks, but beware: the prices are steep. It doesn't really matter what you order -- be it a martini and high-end tater tots or champagne and a seafood tower because after all, you're there for the ambience.

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13. Terzo Piano 159 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603 (Loop)

Located in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, Terzo Piano is Chef Tony Mantuano's greatest work of art. The food is fresh, local, organic, and sustainably produced. You can expect healthful Italian dishes like an olive oil poached salmon sandwich, clams flatbread, and a grilled beef burger.

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14. Tavern at the Park 130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (Loop)

Check out their rooftop bar "Treehouse at the Tavern", or just stop in for lunch and enjoy some mac and cheese, a hearty steak sandwich, and something sudsy from their tastefully put together draft list.

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15. J. Parker 1816 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

This rooftop bar atop the Hotel Lincoln features an impressive cocktail list, views of the park/lake shore/skyline, and small bites so good you'll hang around for a dangerously long time--no big deal.

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16. Japonais by Morimoto 600 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

Surpass the loud dining hall and head downstairs to The Blue Room, which offers a unique view of Chicago -- the river is literally level with you, and on the other side of it? The more industrial side of Chicago. Ask for sake recommendations and settle in with some next-level seafood creations.

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17. Rockit Bar & Grill 22 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Rockit serves American-style cuisine with an upscale twist with bites like prosciutto parmesan garlic bread, bourbon chipotle maple wings, and buffalo calamari cobb salad. We recommend the burger with brie for extra gooey wonderfulness. Be on the lookout for their special menus, including a game day menu (so you can eat your feelings). It can get crowded during the weekends, but the after-work scene is much more laid-back and relaxed, making it the perfect place to catch up.