Swanky Bars

Recommended Swanky Bars

  • The Aviary
    Bar/Lounge
    The Aviary West Loop/Fulton Market  1
    There are plenty of cocktails to marvel at while visiting Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’s cocktail lounge—now under the supervision of former Drawing Room bartender Charles Joy—and in general they’re well balanced and delicious. But that’s not why you came. »
  • The Bar at the Peninsula
    Swanky Bar
    The Bar at the Peninsula Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Streeterville
    Of all the places in town with cocktails priced between $10 and $20, the Bar at the Peninsula is one of the better bets. At least here you can feel like Michael Douglas in The Game while you slug back »
  • Bavette's Bar & Boeuf
    Steaks/Lobster
    Bavette's Bar & Boeuf River North
    As at most of Brendan Sodikoff's spots (Gilt Bar, Maude's Liquor Bar, Au Cheval), there's a better than perfunctory cocktail list at this brasserie, this one based on the classics. Among them: a balanced daiquiri (Bavette's Punch); an old-fashioned with »
  • Berkshire Room
    Craft Cocktails
    Berkshire Room River North
    The Berkshire Room's Old Money (bourbon, Aperol, walnut liqueur, a nice little hint of allspice) is more than fine—it's splendid. And the place itself seems engineered to hit the moneyed notes, starting with the Buffettesque name and continuing with the »
  • Charcoal Bar
    Craft Cocktails
    Charcoal Bar River North
    The newly reopened 11-seat subterranean Charcoal Bar at Gene Kato's Sumi Robata Bar features a five-cocktail winter menu from the peripatetic "Sheriff of Boozetown" Michael Simon (formerly of Acadia and Carriage House), who recently returned from a stint in Austin. »
  • The Drawing Room
    Craft Cocktails
    The Drawing Room Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Streeterville
    A generous wine list and pre-Prohibition drinks mixed with house-crafted and local liquors make for top-notch offerings at this "culinary cocktail lounge." The Drawing Room manhattan, for example, is a perfectly balanced classic with Templeton Rye and delicious house-made maraschino »
  • Found Kitchen & Social House
    Contemporary/Regional
    I don't know what I was expecting at Found Kitchen & Social House, but it wasn't a lively, happy crowd, people at every mismatched set of table and chairs, and a 45-minute wait. We ended up eating at the bar, »
  • Gilt Bar
    Bar/Lounge
    Gilt Bar River North
    Decidedly less beer-, pork-, and organ-focused than many of its gastropeers, River North's Gilt Bar puts Brendan Sodikoff's golden touch on communal tables and shared plates, with enough simple, well-prepared, and fairly inexpensive dishes to make me excuse marrow bones »
  • Maude's Liquor Bar
    Bar/Lounge
    Maude's Liquor Bar West Loop/Fulton Market
    Maude's Liquor Bar, one of the earlier projects of Brendan Sodikoff (Gilt Bar, Bavette’s, Au Cheval, Green Street Smoked Meats) and executive chef Jeff Pikus, feels more like a New York brasserie than anything else. The gorgeous first-floor dining room »
  • Nellcôte
    Small Plates
    Nellcôte West Loop/Fulton Market
    Named for Villa Nellcôte, the 19th-century Côte d'Azur mansion where the Stones recorded Exile on Main Street, this cavernous Randolph Street space is clad in wrought iron and marble and drips with crystal light. A crowded, loud party, Nellcote's high-tops, »
  • Nico Osteria
    Italian
    Nico Osteria Gold Coast/Mag Mile/Streeterville
    The bar at chef Paul Kahan's highly anticipated restaurant is gorgeous, a decadent departure from his signature minimalism—which makes sense, given its location in the Thompson Hotel. Brass lamps. Soaring ceiling. Wall of vegetation. A tufted gold-velvet couch that two »
  • RM Champagne Salon
    Swanky Bar
    RM Champagne Salon West Loop/Fulton Market
    RM Champagne Salon’s hopping, mirror-backed bar lines one wall of the fashionable, back-street restaurant, which prides itself on offering wines made from the bottler’s own vineyard. There’s a book full of those—sparkling and not—to choose from by the bottle, and, »
  • Roof
    Patio /Beer Garden
    Roof Loop
    Crowds line up to get onto the glass-walled patio of Roof, the industrial-sleek black-and-gray lounge on the 27th floor of the Wit Hotel. Two tips: arrive around opening time, and check out "the hangover," a table for eight on a »
  • Sable Kitchen & Bar
    Craft Cocktails
    Sable Kitchen & Bar River North
    Sable opened under Violet Hour vet Mike Ryan, and the drinks program gives classic cocktails a workout with concoctions like the War of the Roses, a perfect balance of Pimm's, St-Germain, Tanqueray, mint, and house-made grapefruit bitters. Even the Bridal »
  • Scofflaw
    Craft Cocktails
    Scofflaw Logan Square
    A rebellious mix of the baroque and the affordable, Scofflaw makes a perfect square of Logan Square's premier cocktail destinations (Lula, Longman & Eagle, the Whistler). Head mixologist and co-owner Danny Shapiro has mixed more than his fair share of »
  • Sepia
    American
    Sepia West Loop/Fulton Market  1
    Fancy cocktails, interesting beers, and well-chosen wines are available under the direction of former Scofflaw barkeep Griffin Elliott, but I wish there were some more-affordable by-the-glass selections. I also wish the stylish room—decorated with mirrors and dominated by Mylar-shaded chandeliers—weren’t »
  • 694 Wine & Spirits
    European
    694 Wine & Spirits River West
    A relaxing spot for a midweek date or a sophisticated night out with the girls, this two-story wine bar has a carefully curated wine list and flights of meats and cheeses for a discerning palate. Exposed-brick walls decorated with pop »
  • Three Dots and a Dash
    Craft Cocktails
    Three Dots and a Dash River North
    When it was announced that Paul McGee would leave trailblazing Logan Square cocktail bar the Whistler for a gig with restaurant behemoth Lettuce Entertain You, the news was likened to the sound of "a thousand coupes shattering." But don't call »
  • The Violet Hour
    Bar/Lounge
    The Violet Hour Wicker Park/Bucktown
    Wicker Park's pioneering Violet Hour is a dark, sumptuously appointed retreat from the harsh world outside, attended by nattily dressed barkeeps who exhibit a balletic facility with jigger, shaker, and glass. Under the remote guidance of "head intoxicologist" Toby Maloney, »

Swanky Bars

    • 676 Restaurant & Bar
      676 N. Michigan Ave.
      Chicago, IL, 60611-2883
      312-944-7676
    • The Allis
      113-125 N. Green St.
      Chicago, IL,
      312-521-8000
    • Annex at GreenRiver
      259 E. Erie St., 18th floor
      Chicago, IL, 60611
      312-337-0101
    • The Bedford
      1612 W. Division St.
      Chicago, IL, 60622
      773-235-8800
    • Bernard's Bar at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago
      11 E. Walton St.
      Chicago, IL, 60611
      312-646-1300
    • The Boarding House
      720 N. Wells St.
      Chicago, IL, 60654
      312-280-0720
    • Boleo
      122 W. Monroe St.
      Chicago, IL, 60603
      312-750-9007
    • Celeste
      111 W. Hubbard St.
      Chicago, IL, 60654-4503
      312-828-9000
    • Coq d'Or
      140 E. Walton St.
      Chicago, IL, 60611-1545
      312-932-4623
    • Crimson Lounge
      333 N. Dearborn St.
      Chicago, IL, 60654
      312-923-2473
    • Cuvee
      308 W. Erie St.
      Chicago, IL, 60642
      312-202-9221
    • Double A
      108 W. Kinzie St.
      Chicago, IL, 60654
      312-329-9555
    • Drumbar
      201 E. Delaware Pl.
      Chicago, IL, 60611
      312-943-5000
    • Easy Bar
      1944 W. Division St.
      Chicago, IL, 60622-3146
      773-227-4644
    • Encore
      171 W. Randolph St.
      Chicago, IL, 60611-3108
      312-338-3788
    • Eno
      505 N. Michigan Ave.
      Chicago, IL, 60611-3827
      312-321-8738

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