World-renowned chef Grant Achatz opened The Aviary to do for craft cocktails what his Alinea and Next restaurants did for fine dining. The James Beard Award-winning mixology bar in Fulton Market has a menu that changes seasonally, with glassware and even ice cubes created specifically for each drink. The Office, a 22-seat speakeasy with classic cocktails, is located below The Aviary.
Cindy’s, the rooftop restaurant at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in the Loop, offers spectacular views of Millennium Park, Grant Park and Lake Michigan. The beverage menu includes eight craft cocktails and four spirit-free beverages.
One of the newest additions to West Loop nightlife is Puttery, an adults-only indoor miniature golf lounge with two themed nine-hole courses and food and drink options. The signature cocktail menu includes their variations on the old fashioned and the margarita. For those wishing to abstain from alcohol, Puttery offers three soda-based mocktails.
Named after the 19th century baseball player-turned-Prohibition-advocate, Logan Square’s Billy Sunday has a large cocktail menu consisting of seasonal creations and their own takes on classic cocktails like the old fashioned and Negroni. They also have three mocktails that offer a similarly innovative approach to non-alcoholic drinks.
Three Dots and a Dash
Accessible through a River North alley, Three Dots and a Dash puts a modern spin on a classic tiki bar. Their potent concoctions are served in creative mugs that can be purchased in their shop. The Bamboo Room is a 22-seat, rum-focused bar located within Three Dots and a Dash.
Bendición Dry Bar
Bendición Dry Bar isn’t a bar, but rather Chicago’s first bottle shop devoted exclusively to non-alcoholic cocktails, spirits, beers, wines, CBD drinks and mixers. Located in Humboldt Park, this establishment also has an events space that caters to sober members of marginalized communities
Hyde Park’s Virtue has been wowing customers with its elevated approach to soul food since 2018, earning Erick Williams a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2022. The craft cocktail menu has Southern flavors and contains four alcohol-free options, including the cranberry crush (cranberry, lime, orange, ginger beer).
The spirit-free beverages at West Town’s Beatnik spotlight ingredients like salted Thai young coconut, charred grapefruit and chocolate horchata chai. The regular cocktail menu is equally inventive, using herbs from their garden and kitchen leftovers. Beatnik also features zero-proof wine.
You never know what you’re going to get at The Drifter, a speakeasy located under River North’s famous Green Door Tavern that holds 37 people and has nightly live entertainment. The Drifter rotates its menu of more than 100 cocktails and mocktails, which are on tarot cards, nightly.
Tradition is the focus of the West Loop’s Moneygun, with 40 cocktails ranging from a classic gin and tonic to the complex sidecar. Their MGXL Club encourages patrons to try the “Essential 40.” Those who complete the journey get their name on a plaque. Every month, Moneygun unveils five innovative cocktails, with $1 from every sale going to charity.
Located in Albany Park on the NorthwestSide, BOKEH is known for its serious approach to mocktails. They are to pair with their seasonal food menu, as are their alcoholic counterparts on the menu. They’re so proud of their creations that the bartenders will add spirits to them upon request.
The Violet Hour
Drinks at the James Beard Award- winning Violet Hour are inspired by the pre-Prohibition days. Patrons enter the Wicker Park establishment through a door hidden by a mural. It is here that they discover three rooms, each offering distinct atmospheres. Cocktails change seasonally and the menu is divided into “Shaken” and “Stirred.”
Consider checking out more of CP’s Chicago Cocktail Favorites here!