From soaring urban rooftops to cozy backyard patios, here’s a handful of concierges’ favorite places for summer bar crawls.
Laura Trylong, a corporate concierge with AXA Assistance USA, recommends spending an afternoon and evening imbibing downtown. She suggests starting with a glass of Champagne at Raised, the Renaissance Chicago’s new third floor indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge before heading down to the Chicago Riverwalk and enjoying a frosty libation at waterside venues like Island Party Hut and City Winery. Afterward, she would cross the bridge at Clark Street and head down to river level to catch a baseball game and local brew on one of the big screens at Bridge House Tavern’s riverside patio before rounding out the evening with a nightcap on Smith & Wollensky’s flower-lined deck.
You know what pairs well with rooftops? Specialty meats. Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen, whose fantastic rooftop beer garden is essentially summer on a roof, is an ideal spot to relax and soak up some sun while enjoying a few sausages and pints. The view overlooks the main drag and an adorable block of shops, so it is a prime location for people watching as well.
Just a bit south of Gene’s you’ll find Fountainhead and one of the best neighborhood rooftops around. Although it can get crowded, rooftop seating here never feels cramped. Fountainhead has a stellar craft beer and whiskey selection, both of which are perfect for sipping the afternoon away.
Chicagoans and visitors alike can’t get enough of Parson’s Chicken & Fish, whose sprawling patio is best compared to a backyard BBQ. Laid back and casual, grab a spot at one of the communal picnic tables and do yourself a favor by ordering one of their negroni slushies. Paired with some buttermilk fried chicken and crunchy cool sides? You’ve got a can’t-beat summer experience.
Just down Armitage Avenue from Parson’s you’ll find Best Intentions, a neo-dive bar with an unexpected tropical hideout of a back patio. Here you’ll find a cabana bar, decorated with family heirlooms, offering select bottled and canned beer, wine, and an elevated cocktail program.
Concierges’ can’t get enough of Chicago’s rooftop lounges—and for good reason. With numerous options now dotting the landscape, they recommend soaking in those Instagram-worthy views at such hot spots as LondonHouse Chicago’s new and only tri-level rooftop venue LH; the Terrace at Trump, nestled in the shadows of iconic edifices like the Wrigley Building and Louis Sullivan’s Jewelers Building; and The J. Parker, offering incredible views of Lincoln Park Zoo and the famous curve of Lake Shore Drive.