Chicago Reader | Bar Guide | Bar | Craft Cocktails

Craft Cocktails

Recommended Craft Cocktailss

  • Ada Street
    Small Plates
    Ada Street West Town/Noble Square
    Michael Kornick and David Morton's candle-lit barstaurant, which shares the same stark industrial landscape as the venerable Hideout, opened in 2012 touting the cocktails of its "spiritual adviser," Tim Lacey, once Charles Joly's right-hand man at the Drawing Room. Then »
  • The Aviary
    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. »
  • Barrelhouse Flat
    Craft Cocktails
    Barrelhouse Flat Lincoln Park
    The deliciously overwhelming cocktail list is a nod to the voluminous offerings over at the Violet Hour, where Barrelhouse partner Stephen Cole spent countless hours muddling and tincturing. The Elk's Own, one of two whiskey cocktails available under the "Egg" »
  • Bavette's Bar & Boeuf
    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 »
  • The Betty
    Craft Cocktails
    The Betty West Loop/Fulton Market
    Situated next door to the Publican, this spot from Footman Hospitality (Bangers & Lace, Sparrow, the Anthem) takes on the old-school Chicago tavern concept—but the sheer enormity of the space mostly swallows that approach right up. That’s not »
  • Big Star
    Big Star Wicker Park/Bucktown
    No matter the time of day, a wait is practically guaranteed at this U-shaped bar manned by bartenders who spin classic country and honky-tonk on vinyl. Here are well-engineered cocktails alongside cheap domestic beers, and if you can't decide between »
  • Billy Sunday
    Billy Sunday Logan Square
    A craft cocktail joint from Matthias Merges (Yusho), Billy Sunday is dark, charming, and right at home here in the overstuffed heart (or stomach) of Logan Square. The chief surprise and pleasure of it is bartender Alex Bachman's creative and »
  • The Dawson
    The Dawson River West
    The stated mission of the Dawson is that of a "booze-focused restaurant," with each staff member supposedly empowered to recommend three specific beverages for each dish—not just wine or beer but also the seasonal cocktails. In addition, many of the »
  • The Drifter
    Craft Cocktails
    The Drifter River North
    This tiny subterranean space beneath the Green Door Tavern—itself once an actual speakeasy—puts on a carny, speakeasy vibe with burlesque and musical performances and a rotating cocktail menu dealt out on tarot cards. In the running for least douchiest »
  • The Drinkingbird
    Craft Cocktails
    The Drinkingbird Lincoln Park
    The dressed-up bar food and craft drinks at this 60s-style bar and lounge amid the strip malls on Clybourn might blow Guy Fieri's mind. A jerk-spiced burger? Bratwurst made in-house? He'd have a coronary, and I might have too if »
  • Joie de Vine
    Joie de Vine Ravenswood
    The cocktail menu at Joie de Vine is literally nonexistent. In its place is a brief paragraph explaining that if you tell the bartenders what spirits and flavors you like, they'll make you a drink tailored to your tastes. It's »
  • Lone Wolf
    Craft Cocktails
    Lone Wolf West Loop/Fulton Market
    Lone Wolf has capitalized on the West Loop’s popularity as a dining destination, positioning itself as a place to get pre- or postmeal drinks and snacks, or to have a drink while waiting for a table at a nearby restaurant. »
  • Longman & Eagle
    Longman & Eagle Logan Square
    At Longman & Eagle the throngs are as apt to tie up the tables early Monday evening as they are late Friday night. Good thing there's a craft cocktail list delectable (and affordable) enough to make it worth sampling just »
  • Lost Lake
    Lost Lake Avondale
    Chicago has become something of a modern tiki mecca, thanks to Paul McGee, the cocktail visionary who previously helmed River North's Three Dots and a Dash, where I learned that midwest winters are best handled with strong (never cloying) rum »
  • Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar
    In August 2010 arts raconteur Ed Marszewski transformed his mother's packaged-goods bar into one of the city's premier watering holes for international craft beers and whiskeys. The bar offers more than 450 brews in bottles and on tap, along with »
  • Masa Azul
    Masa Azul Logan Square
    Asking partner Jason Lerner about one of the scores of tequilas and mezcals at this restaurant and lounge is to unleash an agave evangelist. And since April 2014, the spirits list has been further boosted (particularly with regard to mezcal) »
  • The Matchbox
    Corner Tap
    The Matchbox River West
    To say that the Matchbox is cozy would be an understatement. Wedge-shaped, it's 15 feet across at its widest point and about three and a half feet at its narrowest. It can be tricky to squeeze past seated patrons to »
  • Nico Osteria
    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 »
  • Parson's Chicken & Fish Logan Square
    Conceptually, Parson's has as much if not more in common with Big Star as it does with a typical Harold's Chicken Shack. It has a great big patio (it's an ice rink in the winter), servicing drinkers with brisk, boozy »
  • Punch House
    Craft Cocktails
    Punch House Pilsen/Little Village
    This concept from the team behind Longman & Eagle is even more ambitious and impressive than Michelin-starred L&E itself. Here they've transformed Pilsen's historic Thalia Hall into a restaurant, Dusek's, and an upstairs concert venue as well as this basement »
  • 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
    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 »
  • Sportsman's Club
    Craft Cocktails
    Sportsman's Club Humboldt Park
    Heisler Hospitality's revamp of an old Polish dive, featuring craft beers and "spirit-forward" cocktails from barmen Wade McElroy (Trenchermen, Barrelhouse Flat) and Jeff Donahue (Barrelhouse Flat, the Aviary). Sporting the occasional dead animal head, the bar is cash only, with »
  • 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
    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, »
  • Ward Eight
    Craft Cocktails
    Ward Eight Evanston
    At this craft cocktail bar from Anne Carlson and Cody Modeer, formerly of In Fine Spirits, there's a full spectrum of expertly mixed potions, from light effervescences like the gin-and-sparkling-wine French 75 to bitter boozers like the rye-Fernet Toronto, all »
  • Watershed
    Watershed River North
    The jazz lounge once housed in the basement of Pops for Champagne has been transformed into Watershed, a dim, nautically themed suburban home barroom circa 1976—a setting for events as diverse as after-tennis cocktails, key parties, and teenage booze raids. »
  • Weegee's Lounge
    Craft Cocktails
    Weegee's Lounge Logan Square
    Aside from offering an expertly prepared gin rickey, sidecar, and old-fashioned, this joint is arguably the most tolerable locale with a shuffleboard table in the city. Located off the Logan Square beaten path of cool, the dimly lit, rarely too »
  • Whistler
    Music venue
    Whistler Logan Square
    Part storefront art installation, part eclectic music venue (and record label), mostly craft-cocktail mecca, the Whistler is a Chicago destination, forget about neighborhood spot. Just don’t let the Friday- and Saturday-night lines deter you from visiting at more reasonable hours. »

Craft Cocktails

Search for a bar.

Popular Stories