Chicago's 10 Hottest Rooftop Scenes

Spring is here; don’t waste another minute eating and drinking indoors
May 11, 2015
by Sarah Freeman

Spring is here, so don’t waste another minute eating and drinking indoors. Here are 10 of the most stunning rooftops in Chicago for alfresco dining and imbibing.


This Venetian-style rooftop, decked out with Louis Sullivan tile and ivy-covered walls, offers a seasonally inspired drink menu, including frozen concoctions and large-format cocktails served in vintage punch bowls.

The View: High walls seclude this rooftop from busy Hubbard Street, making it the ideal urban escape for summer imbibing.
What to Drink: One of the frozen creations is a Nuclear Caipirinha, with overproof Leblon Cachaça, Velvet Falernum, Green Chartreuse and lime.
Insider Tip: Once a month, the rooftop hosts Made in Brazil, an evening dedicated to Brazilian food, drinks and live entertainment.

111 W. Hubbard St.312-828-9000


Twenty-six floors above The Loop, the city’s newest rooftop bar serves craft cocktails and an izakaya-inspired menu. It wraps around three sides of the historic facade of the Old Dearborn Bank Building, which now houses Virgin Hotel.

The View: Straight-on Chicago river and skyline, including Trump Tower.
What to Drink: Tradewinds Punch, which is a potent mix of El Dorado 151 rum, Bombay dry gin, grapefruit, guava, lime, vanilla, saffron and IPA.​
Insider Tip: This is the place for a party, with a DJ spinning in the main bar on most nights.

203 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-940-4400

The Dec

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago's rooftop bar and lounge offers handcrafted cocktails, craft beers, wine and champagne as well as a menu consisting of small plates from duck confit nachos to mahi mahi ceviche.

The View: A concave mirror instillation reflects the sleek lounge that is tucked in between soaring skyscrapers.
What to Eat: One of the essential summer dishes is the bucket of chocolate-covered ice cream bonbons — a close second is the trio of mini ice cream sandwiches.
Insider Tip: Every Thursday, "Get Your Shuck On" with an assortment of freshly shucked East and West Coast oysters, while Sunday is a "Funday" with boozy floats and ice cream desserts.

160 E. Pearson St.; 312-573-5160


This popular rooftop returns for its third season under the guidance of new bar manager Whitney Morrow​, who's serving a seasonal selection of craft cocktails in the elegant marble-covered bar with wood and leather accents.

The View: An up-close-and-personal view of the Hancock Building.
What to Drink: My Little Lotus, made with St. George dry rye gin, Jepson’s Malört, lemon juice, grapefruit, black pepper rose grenadine and cracked black pepper.​
Insider Tip: On the weekends, the scene is more booming nightclub than cozy cocktail lounge.

201 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-933-4805


This seasonal restaurant takes the farm-to-table movement seriously, with a rooftop garden that inspires both the food and drink menus.

The View: No need to look far for a scenic landscape; the centerpiece of the rooftop is a lush garden that continues up the walls on trellises.
What to Eat: Egyptian-spiced mussels are a year-round favorite.
Insider Tip: Even when the weather is bad, don’t dismiss this dining destination; the indoor area serves the same menu in the rustic bar and dining room.

1924 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-645-4949

I|O Urban Roofscape

Chicago’s largest indoor-outdoor lounge and bar space offers year-round, unobstructed south-facing skyline views for 330 guests — 100 indoor and 230 outdoor.

The View: Turns your eyes to the sky with the retractable rooftop that opens up to showcase nearby skyscrapers.
What to Drink: The house mojito starts with rum that's been infused with mint over low heat for three hours to create a vibrant, fresh taste. It's combined with housemade lemon-lime soda made with Tahitian vanilla-bean syrup.
Insider Tip: Stopping in late-night? Better dress to impress. An "upscale casual" dress code keeps the crowds classy.

127 W. Huron St.; 312-649-2000

The J. Parker

We dare you to be in a bad mood with a cocktail in hand here, overlooking lush views of Lincoln Park. House drinks focus on refreshing flavors, perfect for sitting in the chic fireside lounge area.

The View: Pick your vista from Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park or the Chicago skyline; the patio offers unobstructed views of all three.
What to Eat: J. Parker Burger, featuring dry-aged beef, butterkase cheese, "belly fire" mayo, lettuce, charred onion and pickles.
Insider Tip: A recently installed retractable glass enclosure means that this rooftop can transition from an alfresco party to a covered bar in less than five minutes in the event of a sudden downpour.

1816 N. Clark St.; 312-254-4747

Soho House

If you can get in, this is the rooftop for the see-and-be-seen crowd this summer. The sixth floor of the members-only club features a pool, two full bars and a restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizzas as well as breakfast and weekend brunch.

The View: Sitting on the eastern edge of the West Loop, the rooftop looks towards The Loop with views that nearly stretch to the lake.
What to Drink: Grab a lounge chair and a flute filled with the French 99, a bubbly combination of Medley Brothers bourbon, grapefruit, demerara and Prosecco.
Insider Tip: Members are allowed to bring guests, so if you don't want to spring for the several-thousand-dollar membership fee, get friendly with an existing member.

113 N. Green St.; 312-521-8000


This Peruvian escape is complete with two bars, one of which specializes in pisco and another that specializes in raw seafood.

The View: An urban paradise nestled among the brick buildings and stone facades of River North.
What to Eat: Ceviche sliced to order — try the "Classico": fluke, red onions and cilantro served with lime and aji.
Insider Tip: Reservations aren't taken for the rooftop, so it’s a popular alternative when the dining room is crowded, which it usually is.

118 W. Grand Ave.; 312-222-9700

Terrace at Trump

A rooftop for Chicago's rich and famous, located off the 16th-floor Bridges Room, guests with deep pockets find themselves surrounded by the metropolitan oasis with custom-designed lounge, booth and table seating surrounded by urban beauty.

The View: Sit here at sunset when pinks, reds and oranges reflect off the all-glass building paint the Wrigley Building that sits across the river.
What to Drink: This summer the bar breaks out a sugarcane press to make drinks such as the Guava Batida with Cabana Cachaca, guava purée, fresh cane syrup and lemon topped with Prosecco.​
Insider Tip: For the ultimate luxe experience, opt for the 100 Dollar Sundae featuring 20 scoops on a Lazy Susan with a rainbow of toppings from milk chocolate Rocher to strawberry pearls.

401 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-588-8600

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