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

Because drinks with awesome views of Chicago > drinks without awesome views of Chicago, here are 17 places to enjoy the former, from rooftop bars in the heart of the city, to pond-side tipple-ries with Michelin stars.
 

Everest

The Loop
Armed with expansive, western-facing views of the city from its iconic location atop the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Everest offers more than just a dining experience by famed Chef Joho. It also offers booze. Really, really good booze. And lots and lots of it. We're talking 1,600 bottles of wine and, according to The New York Times, "The Country's Best Selection of Alsace Wine." Pro tip: the truffle risotto is a must.

courtesy of The Langham
 

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Travelle

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4012624  

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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 (and seriously addicting fried pinwheel pasta bar snacks) to make enjoying them for a whole bunch of hours totally doable. Oh, and there's also a live harpist, a killer Mediterranean menu, and chicken wings that are on fire (literally!). So. There's. That. Cocktails to try: Trinidad James, London Dove, and Beet It.

courtesy of Vertigo Sky Lounge

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Vertigo Sky Lounge

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3047943  

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River North
Day or night, Dana Hotel's rooftop lounge/club/restaurant brings the mile-high, middle-of-the-city-view goods, and along with them strong house cocktails and a chance to let your inner voyeur flag fly -- the indoor-outdoor rooftop gives you a bird's eye view into all the surrounding high-rises.

courtesy of David Ditzler

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Zed451

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3031990  

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River North
The view from this newly remodeled roof (there's so much more room for activities!) will make you feel honored to be living in Chicago, as it plants you right in the midst of River North. The cocktails from this newly remodeled roof will make you feel not much of anything. Enjoy.

courtesy of North Pond

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North Pond

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3997714  

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Lincoln Park
Located inside Lincoln Park (the actual park), this Michelin-starred restaurant is not only one of Chicago’s oldest restaurants, but it’s also the only one located next to a real, live pond. Also cool: a buck from every bottle of wine you purchase (pro tip: purchase a bottle of wine) gets donated to any of four local charities that push the sustainability envelope.

courtesy of Galdones Photography

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Spiaggia

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3323097  

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Gold Coast
Because sometimes you get tired of Chicago's architecturally acclaimed skyline* (*lie), hit up Spiaggia, which throws down gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and Oak St, which you can take in while downing classic cocktails, Italian beers, and expressive wines.

courtesy of Tanta

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Tanta

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3397500  

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River North
Upstairs dining option + La Guapa, El Macho, and El Chingon = Yuuuuuuup.

courtesy of Elle on the River

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Elle on the River

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3602965  

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River North
The Langham's cool little sidewalk cafe occupies prime real estate on the riverside plaza, which means stunning river panoramas, plus the opportunity to drink any of four six-person punches in prime riverside plaza real estate. Awesome extra: each table comes equipped with its own boombox and pre-set playlist.

courtesy of Eric Kleinberg

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III Forks

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3042279  

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Loop 
Go for the incredible views of Chicago from the Loop, stay for the Manhattans. (And then stay a little longer for the lobster risotto.)

courtesy of Terrace at Trump

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The Terrace at Trump

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4012626  

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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.

courtesy of Tim Hiatt

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drumBAR

Venue node id

3044866  

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Gold Coast
This upscale whiskey bar focuses on expertly crafted cocktails, with an intimate and cool cocktail patio atop Raffaello Hotel. The 18-cocktail menu showcases house-made infused syrups and a concentration on savory drinks. Try the My Little Lotus, Figgin’ Awesome, and Generally Mackin’ (triple fisting!).

courtesy of Signature Room

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Signature Room at the 95th

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3886923  

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Streeterville
You’re 95 floors up. You can see everything. Probably even Michigan and Indiana on a clear day. It doesn’t matter what you order (though a martini seems appropriate). And just beg to be seated near a window.

courtesy of Jeff Kauck

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Terzo Piano

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3034274  

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Loop
If you’ve ever walked across the bridge from the Modern Wing at The Art Institute of Chicago and wondered why you can’t just sit and take in that view of Chicago’s massive skyline, now you can. Terzo Piano is one of the best (liquid!) lunch spots for dropping your jaw over Chicago’s Mag Mile view. Bloody Marys and Negronis? Both things you should be drinking here. FYI: Terzo Piano only does dinner on Thursdays and brunch on Sundays, but it's open for lunch daily.

courtesy of Tavern at the Park
 

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Tavern at the Park (Tree House)

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3882805  

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Loop
Since we all know how temperamental Chicago’s weather can be, it's nice that Tavern at the Park has indoor views from a glass atrium that's called “Tree House.” Views of South Michigan Ave and Millennium Park pair with the "Stop! Tequila Thyme!" (which features a vanilla bean, thyme & cucumber-infused Maestro Dobel tequila served in a heated snifter over a rocks glass of boiling water!).

courtesy of Boka Group
 

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J. Parker

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3045377  

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Lincoln Park
This gem of a rooftop at Hotel Lincoln sports a view built to extend your day drinking time (as will the 10 craft cans) -- a serene lake look that also provides a nice escape from the cookie-cutter Downtown rooftop scene.

Flickr/Seth Amderson

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Japonais by Morimoto Blue Room and Riverwalk

Venue node id

4012632  

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River West
Surpass the loud dining hall (sorry Morimoto) 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. Skip the food, but do try the Morimotini, and ask for sake recommendations.

Danya shaikh/thrillist

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Rockit Bar & Grill

Venue node id

3048470  

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River North
All shiny and new, Rockit’s relaunch is so versatile you could stop here on the way to a gala or game and not be out of place. With garage door entrances and a revamp of the interior and exterior, the cool new upstairs lounge has windows that open onto the street with massive views of Hubbard St nightlife. Try the pork belly nuggets with a Rockit Old Fashioned or The Kipling (upstairs menu).

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Danya is contributing writer for Thrillist, who moved to Chicago to dabble in graphic design, fashion, and journalism. In short, to basically take the city by storm. Follow her at @directedbydanya.

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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 Ă  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.

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