What can we say? Chicagoans love their al fresco dining. When the weather warms up, restaurants swing open their doors and diners demand an outdoor seat. From Wicker Park to downtown, our concierge contributor Robert Brooks scouted out some of the best outdoor dining spots to check out.
Citizen Bar: In addition to having a 5,000-square-foot outdoor area with two levels for dining (and cocktailing!), Citizen also has some of the best spicy corn chowder around.
South Water Kitchen: This hip American restaurant adjacent to the Hotel Monaco provides an opportunity to dine on comfort food with stunning views of Marina Towers and the Chicago River. It’s also one of my favorite spots for brunch.
McCormick & Schmick’s: Dine on more than 30 varieties of fresh fish on this patio along the Chicago River.
Smith & Wollensky: Enjoy Prime USDA dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood and award-winning wines on the patio at this Chicago Riverside restaurant.
Sheffield’s: Offering one of the few patio/beer gardens that’s open year-round, Sheffield’s also boasts some pretty decent barbecue and a location just three blocks from Wrigley Field.
Market This trendy West Loop restaurant attracts the “in” crowd with its traditional American Classic cuisine, outdoor beer garden and sidewalk café.
Bull & Bear: Experience American contemporary cuisine at a sidewalk table in this River North restaurant located just a stone’s throw from the Merchandise Mart.
Moody’s Pub: This Edgewater restaurant has been serving up amazing bar food since 1959. Moody’s unique patio has trees for shade and intimate nooks for socializing. Try the steak sandwich with blue cheese crumbles.
Piccolo Sogno: “Little Dream” is the meaning of this River West rustic Italian restaurant. The cozy patio here is magnificent, especially when paired with the restaurant’s locally-sourced, seasonal menu.
Moonshine: This down-to-earth Wicker Park hotspot is known for bringing some of the nation’s best-known DJs to provide a funky groove while patrons nosh on delicious burgers, pizza, sandwiches and short ribs.
About the Author: Robert Brooks is a concierge at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza.