Why raise the roof when you can drink on it?
Chicago’s temperatures are only outdoor-drinking-friendly for a few glorious months and we take full advantage of every moment. Patios are plentiful, but when was the last time you elevated your drinking and dining game with an incredible rooftop view? Talk the elevator to the top to hang out at these bars and kick back with a cocktail.
Photo Via Facebook/vurooftopbar
133 E. Cermak Rd. - South Loop
VU Skyward is brought to you by the same group behind ROOF At theWit, so you already know it’s going to be good before stepping foot on their 13,000 square foot rooftop. Both the food and beverage programs are locally driven, making sure this spot is as Chicago as can be!
Photo: Anthony Tahlier
200 N. Green St. - West Loop
Chicago celebri-chef Stephanie Izard's latest project, Cabra on the top floor of The Hoxton hotel, is a Peruvian-inspired cervicheria that offers amazing views of the neighborhood...and a pool.
Photo via Conrad Chicago
101 E. Erie St. - River North
Where else can you snack on boozy shaved ice and sushi high above the Magnificent Mile? Nowhere but Noyane! Conrad hotel's rooftop bar offers a perfect summertime blend of craft cocktails, sake and Peruvian-Japanese cuisine.
311 N. Morgan St. - West Loop
Wondering where all the cool kids in West Loop have gone? Look up. Waydown cocktail bar atop the Ace Hotel is known for attracting good people and good vibes with its nightly DJ programming and other entertainment.
Photo via Virgin Hotels Chicago
203 N. Wabash Ave. - The Loop
Virgin Hotels’ Cerise rooftop bar strikes gold with its winning combo: quirky interior, beautiful downtown views, top-notch music programming and drinks that aren’t stupid expensive. It’s one of your best options if you’re looking to go the hotel bar route.
Photo via IMR Chicago
2018 W. North Ave. - Wicker Park
The Robey’s Cabana Club ups the rooftop game in Wicker Park. Find a lounge chair, let the cool breeze hit you, drink a Paloma and listen to the Blue Line whiz past below. Elevate your evening even further (literally) by visiting the swanky UP Room bar on the hotel's 13th floor.
501 N. Ogden Ave. - River West
Drinking one of Twisted Spoke’s six house-recipe Bloody Marys atop its second-story rooftop garden is one of our favorite summertime hangover cures. Don’t take our word for it though. Try it for yourself!
1970 W. Montrose Ave. - Ravenswood
You’ll find a bevy of beer geeks hanging out on Fountainhead’s rooftop during summer months. Find your next favorite local brewer. Try the food too because it’s great. In other words, make a whole night of your time at this North Side gem.
Photo via Heron Agency
201 N. State St. - The Loop
Standing at the corner of State and Lake? Can’t find the source of the crazy party you keep overhearing? Look up. ROOF On theWit rages hard. You’ll regularly catch the best local and touring DJs keeping the dancefloor moving at this rooftop hotel club.
Photo: Eric Kleinberg
1816 N. Clark St. - Lincoln Park
Regularly recognized as one of the best views in the city, The J. Parker (on top of Hotel Lincoln) is what your Instagram feed has been missing.
1 W. Grand Ave. - River North
Rock Bottom is a classic happy hour spot for Chicagoans with downtown offices. Its rooftop gets extra rowdy in the warm months.
Photo courtesy of Drumbar
201 E. Delaware Pl. - Streeterville
Everything about Drumbar (part of the Raffaello Hotel) is lavish—its cozy leather couches, the outdoor garden, the intricate cocktails, the vast whiskey selection. If you can’t find something that you love about this rooftop bar, we suggest looking a little harder.
Photo via IMR Chicago
1924 W. Chicago Ave. - West Town
Homestead on the Rood is a farm-to-table-loving foodie’s paradise. The West Town rooftop restaurant focused on New American fare and many of the ingredients are plucked right from the surrounding garden.
Photo via Facebook/Estate
1177 N. Elston Ave. - Noble Square
Wave to the pontoons as they drift by while chilling on this upriver bar’s rooftop.
Photo via ZED451
739 N. Clark St.
If you thought ZED451’s upscale Brazilian steakhouse-style dining experience was the only reason to visit, you’ve obviously never seen the entire place. Its sunny, couch-filled rooftop is the perfect place for happy hour or Sunday mimosas.
2015 S. State St. - South Loop
There’s nothing better than a rock show and rooftop hangs. That’s exactly what Reggies in South Loop has to offer seven nights a week.
Photo via Facebook/Bottom Lounge
1375 W. Lake St. - West Loop
If you love an off-the-beaten-path hangout and good views of Willis Tower (forever “Sears” in our hearts”), Bottom Lounge’s rooftop should prove a pleasant surprise. Stop by for pre-show drinks the next time you have tickets to the bar’s venue portion. Just make sure the patio is open first.
327 S. Plymouth Ct.
Plymouth is one of the few spots on this list offering a rooftop that’s open all year round. The South Loop staple stays warm in the winter thanks to enclosures and heaters. You can’t beat the $4 daily kitchen specials either.
Photo via IMR Chicago
2 W. Erie St. - River North
Apogee Lounge is the perfect place for cocktail drinkers with a sense of adventure and imagination. Located on the 26th floor of the dana hotel and spa, you can spend the day spoiling yourself with spa treatments then have fun sipping a beverage that looks it came from the world of Alice & Wonderland.
104 E. Oak St. - Streeterville
Fig & Olive is a Mediterranean culinary treat in the center of Gold Coast with a beautiful outdoor dining space.
Photo via Facebook/Cindy's Rooftop
12 S. Michigan Ave. - The Loop
Cindy’s, the centerpiece of Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, offers one of the best views of Millennium Park. More of a restaurant than a bar, it’s best to make reservations in advance at this popular rooftop. Head to the hotel’s Gameroom for a round of drinks and Bacci ball after dinner.
Photo via Facebook/ Bernie's
660 N. Orleans St. - River North
The food at Bernie’s gets a lot of praise, but it’s the rooftop that’s the real star of the show during the summer.
Photo via Facebook/LondonHouse
85 E. Wacker Dr. - The Loop
It doesn’t get any more central than LondonHouse’s 22nd-story outdoor terrace overlooking the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue and—basically—the heart of the city.
Photo via Heron Agency
1 W. Upper Wacker Dr. - The Loop
If you’re really looking to impress out-of-town friends, Raised will be perfect proof of why Chicago does it better. Nestled at the bustling corner of State and Wacker, everything here is done to the nines—from the drinks to the decor to the decadent frites.
112 W. Hubbard St. - River North
Joy District’s roof offers a funky, urban feel along River North’s stretch of Hubbard St. The prime location means it’s a solid spot for daytime or after dark drinking.
Photo via Agency 360
1212 S. Michigan Ave. - South Loop
Pizza doesn’t always need to be served on the ground level. Aurelio’s South Loop location is your best destination for a rooftop pie.
Photo via Facebook/Parlor Pizza
108 N. Green St. - West Loop
Both the West Loop and Wicker Park Parlor Pizza locations have excellent outdoor dining (and ping pong!) areas, but only the original West Loop bar and restaurant offers rooftop views. Go for brunch and experience one of the best Bloody Mary bars in the neighborhood.
127 W. Huron St. - River North
Satisfy rooftop cravings in any weather at The Godfrey Hotel's gorgeous indoor/outdoor fourth-floor rooftop bar.
Photo via Whirlyball
1825 W. Webster Ave. - Bucktown
When WhirlyBall upgraded to its new space in Bucktown, it also gained a second-floor outdoor terrace complete with several communal fireplaces. Cool down (or warm up) after a game of WhirlyBall (a combination of bumper cars, lacrosse and basketball for those not in the know) or bowling or LaserTag.
Photo: Anthony Tahlier
1112 N. State St. - Gold Coast
Devereaux, part of the Viceroy Chicago hotel, has found its ranking amongst Chicago's best rooftops. The swanky new space feels more like Hollywood in the '70s than present-day Chicago. Oh, and did we mention there's a pool?
Photo via Facebook/Bounce Sporting Club
324 W. Chicago Ave. - River North
This weekend turn up spot has also snuck its way into our hearts as a happy hour favorite. That has a lot to do with its rooftop patio. The hardwood and lounge-style seating can make this feel like a party in your own backyard.
302 N. Green St. - Fulton Market
A new offering to the Fulton Market District, Aba Restaurant has already received several accolades like Chicago Tribune’s Readers’ Choice award for “Chicago’s Best New Restaurant.” We’re sure their welcoming and lush rooftop might have something to do with that.
Photo via facebook/lonesomeroseforever
2010 N. California Ave. - Logan Square
We’re not certain, but we have a sneaking suspicion that tacos taste better when eaten on a rooftop. Maybe it’s the sun, or maybe it’s the breeze blowing through our hair, but either way, Lonesome Rose’s rooftop is a must if you’re planning a day out in Logan Square.
Photo via Mordecai chicago
3632 N. Clark St. - Wrigleyville
Enjoy a pre- or post-game cocktail at Mordecai's top floor lounge, Hush Money, while gazing out at Gallagher Way’s park and Wrigley Stadium from the enclosed rooftop patio.
Photo via Facebook/bixibeer
2515 N. Milwaukee Ave. - Logan Square
Another new addition in 2018, BiXi Beer has a top floor featuring an outdoor patio as well as an indoor atrium with a retractable roof. So, no matter where you sit, you’ll be feeling those sweet rays of sunshine. Perfect for sipping on one of their house-brewed beers.