We know exactly what will make that cocktail taste better: sipping it a rooftop bar with a spectacluar view. Chicago's got plenty, so we rounded up our favorite sky-high bars and lounges for your drinking enjoyment.
① THE dec in Gold Coast
Swanky and mixologist-driven, The Ritz Carlton's rooftop lounge serves playful cocktails, such as the Southern-inspired Sun-Tea Delight ($14; Grey Goose melon vodka, turmeric lemon tea syrup, passion fruit purée, Prosecco), as well as a variety of sweet "treatmints," like chocolate-covered ice cream bonbons ($12).
② The J. Parker in Lincoln Park
Hotel Lincoln's crowning glory, the J. Parker, flaunts jaw-dropping views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline. Craft cocktails are the name of the 140-seat rooftop bar's game, with the clever, bourbon-based Retox ($13) with Old Forester bourbon and the spicy Statue of Limitations ($13) with chile-infused Herradura tequila reigning as perennial standouts.
③ ROOF on theWit in the Loop
A state-of-the-art retractable roof allows for all-weather rooftop imbibing at this lively lounge. Edible offerings range from apricot poppers ($12) to hot buttered lobster rolls ($24), and the craft cocktails are all available by the glass or by the punch bowl for a small group.
④ Fountainhead in Ravenswood
For a killer craft beer list and whiskey selection, look no further than Fountainhead's sun-soaked rooftop garden. While you imbibe, nosh on BBQ pulled pork ($15) and pub cheese with pretzel bread ($9) created by Chef Cleetus Friedman.
⑤ IO Urban Roofscape in River North
Above the Godfrey Hotel sits this 10,000-square-foot "roofscape," equipped with a retractable roof, a two-level fire pit and comfortable seats in both the sun and shade. Go for the Adult Smoked Salmon ($11), cured in your choice of bourbon or gin, and stay all day for the Courvoisier-spiked root beer floats ($45 for a pitcher) and breathtaking city views.
⑥ Twisted Spoke in West Town
This biker bar and neighborhood watering hole sports an under-the-radar rooftop patio overlooking the bustling corner of Ogden and Grand. The space is littered with umbrella-shaded picnic tables and is ideal for daytime Road Rash Mary ($8) sipping.
⑦ Terzo Piano in the Loop
Situated above the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing, Terzo Piano has everything you could want in a rooftop bar: sweeping views of Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue, meticulously crafted cocktails and food from Tony Mantuano's team—plus a generous sprinkling of Chicago's world class culture.
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