Chicago’s city skyline is an iconic, beautiful reminder of the city’s engineering marvels – the towering steel skyscrapers that dominate the downtown area. For the ultimate view of the city’s lights twinkling below, head to one of the city’s many rooftop bars and lounges for the perfect vantage point. From casual post-work spots to swanky see-and-be-seen scenes, there’s a rooftop bar for every style.
C-View at Affinia Hotel
Falling into the swanky date-night category, C-View has a South Beach vibe and a partially obstructed view of the Magnificent Mile and the city below. The C-View has an indoor/outdoor space and offers reasonably-priced bar snacks and cocktails in setting that’s relaxed, but still feels special, making it a great place for a pre-or post-dinner cocktail or snack.
Roof at The Wit
Roof, at the Wit Hotel (where restaurant State & Lake, on the corner of, you guessed it, State and Lake streets, continues the theme of obvious names) is one of the newest additions to the rooftop bar scene. Offering over 7,000 square feet of space, Roof can hold a total of 300 people (150 inside and 150 outside), most of whom are young and trendy and there to check out the singles scene. The Fire pits and rooftop telescopes complete the sexy vibe, along with over 20 varieties of small plates and a menu of clever cocktails.
Nomi Garden at the Park Hyatt
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For a romantic rooftop dining experience, check out the seasonal Nomi Garden terrace. The 2000 square foot, 7th floor terrace overlooks Michigan Avenue and offers a spectacular view of the John Hancock Building across Michigan Avenue. The menu of small plates includes a wide selection of globally-influenced, creative and delicious items.
ZED541 is the place to go for an over-the-top party scene. With a Brazilian steakhouse theme , the outdoor dining area offers low-slung wooden benches, faux grassy areas, and a stunning view of the city.
Rock Bottom Brewery’s elevated beer garden is the workingman’s rooftop bar. It’s just three stories up, so the view might not be as amazing as at some of the other spots, but it’s still high enough to put you above the fray and let you feel the wind in your hair. It’s most popular on weekdays, for the post-work happy hour crowd, and offers filling but basic pub fare, cheap drinks and a casual vibe.
Bucktown’s The Southern offers casual, deep South fare in the restaurant, and a trendy scene on the rooftop bar. Just above the neighborhood fray, scenesters and hipsters can hang on the roof – relaxing in South Beach style cabanas – big beds with breezy curtains – as they nosh on dishes like fried chicken and hush-puppies, drinking cold Mint Juleps and Old Fashions.
Offering the best outdoor dining in Greektown, the patio on the roof of Pegasus provides a unique vantage point of the city. Because of Greektown’s location to the southwest of the Loop, you’ll see the city from another angle, as you dine on a limited menu featuring specialties like saganaki, gyros, and mousaka.