May 25, 2023 - Food and Drink

9 great rooftop bars in Chicago

Bar Avec. Photo: Alexa Mencia/Axios

There is nothing quite like sipping a cocktail high atop Chicago's skyline. Rooftop bars were once a rarity in town, but now the bars occupy roofs and decks from downtown to the furthest reaches of our neighborhoods.

  • Here are nine you should try, based on our own experiences and on reader recommendations.

1. Bar Avec

Details: The vibe is "Mediterranean meets the Midwest" at this wine-focused restaurant with small and large plates.

  • And the views are spectacular.

Perks: All bottles of wine on the expansive menu are half-price on Tuesdays. They also have several items from the original Avec menu in the West Loop.

Go when: We recommend weekday happy hour.

Address: 141 W. Erie St.

2. Rooftop at Nobu Hotel

Photo of a rooftop bar
Photo courtesy of Nobu Hotel Chicago/Kinship

Details: The skyline sparkles from this upscale spot at the restaurant group's hotel in Fulton Market. Walk-ins encouraged.

Go when: You want a special date night experience or a celebratory drink.

Address: 155 N. Peoria St.

3. LH Rooftop

Photo of a rooftop bar
Photo courtesy of London House

Details: The cocktails are strong, the vibe is great, and the view down Wacker Drive is iconic. You really can't go wrong with this rooftop bar, which sits atop the London House hotel.

Go when: In June, when they do "Luminescence" and light up the bar with all sorts of color.

Address: 85 E. Wacker Dr.

4. Cabra

Photo of a rooftop bar
Cabra. Photo courtesy of Axios Chicago reader Emily Sparber

Details: Spend golden hours sipping on drinks at this vibrant Fulton Market rooftop.

  • The Peruvian-inspired plates are bright and meant to be shared. We suggest the solterito salad with a ceviche dish and the Takes Two to Mango cocktail to wash it down.

Go when: You can get a reservation.

Address: 200 N. Green St.

5. The Up Room

Photo of a rooftop bar
Photo courtesy of the Robey Hotel

Details: Venture out of River North and take in the views on the 13th floor of the Robey Hotel in Wicker Park.

  • It's known for signature cocktails like the Lemon Grotto Smash, and you can taste delicious drinks while watching the traffic flow down Milwaukee Avenue.
  • And if it's too crowded, they have another outside bar called the Cabana Club on the 6th floor.

Go when: Late. It's open until 1am on weekends.

Address: 2018 W. North Ave.

6. Tanta

Photo of a rooftop bar
Photo courtesy of Tanta

Details: Our Axios Chicago reader Susan B. recommends Tanta for its "amazing pisco sours and outstanding bartenders."

  • Another Peruvian-inspired rooftop, but this one gives you terrific views of the skyscrapers in River North.

Go when: We recommend weekend brunch.

Address: 118 W. Grand Ave.

7. Avli on the Park

Photo of a rooftop bar
Photo courtesy of Avli on the Park

Details: Cindy's Rooftop has always been the go-to rooftop to take in Millennium Park views, but don't sleep on the newcomer Avli on the Park. Avli serves the new Lakeshore East neighborhood.

  • Reader Richard L. recommends Avli because it "overlooks the park, has great bartenders and the best Greek food in the city!"

Go when: Go for dinner. Opa!

Address: 180 N. Field Blvd.

8. The J. Parker

Photo courtesy of the Hotel Lincoln

Details: Located atop the Hotel Lincoln, this Lincoln Park mainstay offers gorgeous views of both downtown and the North Side.

Go when: First come, first served.

Address: 1816 N. Clark St.

9. Pearl's Southern Comfort

Photo of a rooftop bar
Photo courtesy of Pearl's

Details: Let's give some love to some of the bars outside the Loop like Gene's Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square or Pearl's Southern Comfort in Edgewater.

  • Recommended by reader Mary G., Pearl's is a New Orleans-inspired restaurant and bar that offers a quaint rooftop experience that has become a must-try for folks living close by.

Go when: Go for lunch or dinner, but they close by 10:30pm on weekends.

Address: 5352 N. Broadway Street.


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