In Chicago, we take the summertime very seriously. We only have a few months of beautiful weather, and we take advantage of every warm and sunny moment. This means that every activity, including and especially eating and drinking, is done outdoors. To help you make the most of the Windy City summer, here are your best patio bets:
Though it’s sister restaurant, Siena Tavern, also has a much sought-after patio, we are all about Bar Siena this year. Visit the restaurant for a traditional patio dining experience, complete with Italian streetfood eats and delicious summer cocktails. But for a more casual affair, visit their Bombobar window and picnic tables. You can pick up coffee, gelato and bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) from your early morning commute into the wee hours of the weekend (amen to late night treats!)
For Chicago happy hours, it doesn’t get much better or more convenient than AIRE on the roof of the Hyatt Centric. Located steps from the actual center of the city, this hotel has sweeping views of the downtown and comfy lounging chairs meant for whiling away the hours after work. Try one of their craft cocktails, kick off your practical work pumps, and give yourself a TGIF reward any day of the dang week.
Wicker Park is full of amazing bars and restaurants with open air dining, but don’t miss The Southern. It promises “Kick ass bar + Comfort food” and boy does it deliver. Think classic whiskey cocktails, a wide range of rotating draft and craft beers, the Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich, and Pork Shoulder Roulade. I’ll just let that list sit right there…
If you can get up to the rooftop, you know you’ve made it big in the Windy City. This is a members only rooftop that is one from your dreams. However, even if you can’t reach the penthouse level, the streetside patio of Soho House gives everyone access to the delicious food and drink menus from their various restaurants: The Allis, Fox Bar as well as Chicken & Farm Shop.
Every seat is technically a patio seat here. All their outside-facing walls open up to give everyone a taste of the summer air as they feast on Tuna Tartare Taquitos and Pineapple Pork Tacos. Sit on the patio, or just near a window for happy hour, but be sure to get there early! The tables fill up fast thanks to their deadly signature Summer Margarita with middled berries, basil and lime. If you don’t make it this summer though, don’t cry, because the patio reopens in the winter as an ice rink for skating.
This West Loop spot is a perfect for a cozy and intimate dinner during the winter, but in warmer months the patio opens and everything changes. Set behind the restaurant, diners are secluded from the hustle of downtown and you literally feel like you’re in a small French bistro. I started a “West Loop Cocktail Crawl” here last year with friends and never wanted to leave! It is also steps from the tiny sidewalk cafe, Expat, with boozy sno cones not to be missed.