Rooftop Bar in Chicago: 10 Places to Drink with a View

Published by: Bounce7 October, 2022

Chicago knows how to party, and a night out here will exceed your expectations. So if you’re in the city, whether for work or leisure, be sure to check out its vibrant restaurants, pubs, and clubs as soon as the sun goes down. There are also comedy clubs, iconic venues, epic dance floors, and drag performances that will keep you up all night.

But a place you shouldn’t skip when visiting the city is a rooftop bar in Chicago. From chic cocktail lounges to classy open-air terraces, this vibrant city has plenty of fascinating rooftop bars that allow visitors to sample delicious classic cocktails and wine while taking in breathtaking views.

Go bar hopping in Downtown Chicago, head to Wicker Park, or swing by the rooftop venues in The Loop. Even if you’re only shopping in Chicago, you’ll undoubtedly be tempted to party all night while admiring the city skyline. Before bringing your experience to new heights, drop off your extra baggage at a Chicago luggage service and drink, dance, and dine without worry.

Cindy's Rooftop

What’s it like:

Undeniably one of the best rooftop bars in Chicago, Cindy’s Rooftop is a paradise on top of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. It’s an open-terrace and rooftop restaurant offering an extensive menu for lunch, dinner, and everything in between. It also has a full wine menu and a large selection of beverages, including beer, craft cocktails, spirits, coffee, and tea.

There are so many things to love about this gorgeous rooftop restaurant and bar, from its relaxed ambiance and stunning décor to its breathtaking views. As soon as you walk in, you’ll be captivated by the scenic views of Millennium Park, the magnificent Art Institute of Chicago, Lake Michigan, and beyond.

Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are necessary for indoor dining. While it doesn’t enforce a strict dress code, guests are encouraged to wear smart-casual attire.

Our recommendation:

Come during midday and watch the sunset while sipping one of their local brews or perfectly crafted cocktails. Try Cindy’s House salad or oyster on the half shell for dinner, then get the roasted pork chop. To end your meal, the blueberry pie is always a winner for dessert.

Location:

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 60603

IO Godfrey Rooftop Lounge

What’s it like:

Located on the fourth floor of The Godfrey Hotel Chicago in the heart of the buzzing River North neighborhood is the iconic IO Godfrey Rooftop Lounge. It’s a spacious Chicago rooftop bar and lounge that allows visitors to bask in the sun and enjoy uninterrupted views of the spectacular southern Chicago skyline.

Its unique features include impressive water elements, fire pits, a video wall, and a retractable roof that protects guests against unpleasant weather. Start your evening at the indoor bar and end the night by sipping your favorite wine on the outdoor terrace. It also has an excellent creative cocktail menu, including kitchen cocktails, mocktails, beer, wine & champagne, and more.

Our recommendation:

While spending a day or night at IO Rooftop Lounge any time during the week is exciting, a weekend brunch or night party is always special. You get to enjoy delicious cocktails while chilling in front of the city skyline with some great company.

Location:

127 W Huron St Chicago, IL 60654

LH Rooftop

What’s it like:

LH Rooftop is an elegant, multi-level rooftop bar nestled on top of the LondonHouse Chicago luxury hotel, set in a 1920s high-rise building. It overlooks the Chicago River and offers panoramic city views for a one-of-a-kind guest experience. It’s a great spot to break from the hustle and bustle of city life below while keeping in touch with the urban lifestyle.

You can pick from any outdoor experience at one of the best Chicago rooftop bars. The incredible tri-level setting begins at the indoor lounge on the 21st floor. Get on the lift, and you’ll reach the main terrace on floor 22 with lots of seating, including bar tools and comfy lounge furniture. The 23rd floor is a smaller rooftop space suitable for intimate dining and romantic date in a classy setting.

Our recommendation:

While you can explore the rooftop bar without being a hotel guest, it’s still a good idea to check into the Chicago hotel. You can relax and not worry about getting back to your place after a fun evening. This way, you don’t have to sacrifice your perfect night.

Location:

85 E Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

Z Bar Chicago

What’s it like:

Z Bar is a rooftop lounge that offers guests a taste of luxury atop The Peninsula Chicago. It features a beautiful open-air terrace and an upscale indoor lounge with a fireplace and modern furniture, creating an approachable atmosphere. This rooftop bar above the famous Michigan Avenue allows you to soak in marvelous city views while sharing great culinary delights with friends, family, and colleagues.

A globally inspired menu awaits you at Z Bar Chicago. Besides the classic bar snacks, you can share delicious plates like daikon Frites or tuna tartare with yuzu and mango. Even the drinks are a fusion of cultures, like the Bangkok Jam with tequila, lime, lemongrass, and Thai Chili.

Our recommendation:

The prices of food and drinks at Z Bar are on the high side, but the extraordinary rooftop experience is worth it. So don’t hesitate to treat yourself to top-class drinks like scotch and champagne or a glass of Louis de Grenelle. The shareable and small plates are also very affordable.

Location:

108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611

Kennedy Rooftop

What’s it like:

Kennedy Rooftop is one of the must-visit rooftop bars in Chicago that gives off a chic urban vibe. It is located in the hip Wicker Park neighborhood, perched atop the award-winning Hyatt Place Chicago. It’s a celebration of the city and its people, providing locals and visitors the chance to enjoy their favorite inventive cocktails while taking in the beauty of the Chicago skyline.

Modern, bright, and vibrant, the indoor and outdoor setting at Kennedy Rooftop is unlike others. You have the option to relax indoors or feel the warm summer sunshine on the outdoor terrace in the afternoon.

When it comes to food, this rooftop bar isn’t to disappoint. Its menu includes a few solo dishes and mouthwatering shareable plates, like Prairie land wings and pulled pork sliders. There’s also a fine selection of cocktails, wine, and beer on tap, cans or bottles.

Our recommendation:

You can come any time from 4 PM to late at night except Sunday when it opens early from 11 AM to 5 PM. But if you’re here for Happy Hour, come between 4 PM and 6 PM every Monday through Friday.

Location:

1551 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60622

Cerise Rooftop

What’s it like:

Party, drink, and dance the night away at a Cerise Rooftop Bar. It’s a crown on top of the fantastic Virgin Hotels Chicago, featuring a classy rooftop terrace and a hip indoor lounge. You can pick from comfy lounge sofas and bar tools or chill by the rooftop's edge and soak in the astounding Chicago views.

It’s a cool hang-out place early in the afternoon where you can meet new people, mingle, and talk over some tasty cocktails. As it gets deeper into the night, Cerise transforms into a fun nightclub with a live DJ taking the party atmosphere to new levels.

Our recommendation:

Come early during the week if you want a relaxing cocktail evening. But a weekend night is always the best if you’re looking for a buzzing party on the rooftop. Reserve a table, as it gets pretty busy and packed, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Location:

203 N Wabash Ave 26th floor, Chicago, IL 60601

Rooftop At Nobu Chicago Hotel

What’s it like:

The Rooftop at Nobu Chicago Hotel is one of the latest additions to Chicago’s best rooftop bars and restaurants. It is located on the renowned Restaurant Row in the heart of West Loop, offering staggering views of the city skyline.

We love the lush greenery, spacious rooftop patio, comfortable chairs, and chill-out areas. It’s perfect for a romantic date night, small gatherings, or meetings on the eleventh floor of the Nobu Hotel. It’s also an excellent spot for an upscale happy hour and even a weekday lunch with colleagues.

Our recommendation:

There’s a fine selection of cold and hot plates. But if you don’t know where to start, wagyu sliders and spicy tuna crispy are a must. Guests also love the yellowtail jalapeno that you can order for lunch or dinner.

Location:

155 N Peoria St 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60607

VU Rooftop Bar

What’s it like:

Take the lift and head to the 22nd floor next to the majestic McCormick Place in the South Loop, and you’ll find VU Rooftop. It’s a modern space offering unparalleled views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. The rooftop lounge is modern, spacious, and sophisticated, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Go to the rooftop terrace and relax on the lounge sofas and comfy bar stools set by the firepit tables. But among its cool features are the rooftop igloos that guests can use during the colder season, making it a great setting to impress your date.

VU Rooftop bar takes pride in its locally driven beverage program, featuring unique and handcrafted cocktails, craft beers, wines, and bubbles. The kitchen also serves a lovely selection of dishes using fresh, local ingredients.

Our recommendation:

The menu is upscale but remains accessible. And with plenty of options available, you can always find something that will please your palate. Try their burgers and a generous portion of popcorn shrimp. For veggie eaters, there’s butter lettuce salad and charred broccoli to taste.

Location:

133 E Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

Raised | An Urban Rooftop Bar

What’s it like:

Situated on the third floor of Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel, Raised isn’t the highest Chicago rooftop bar. Still, it provides an elevated dining and cocktail experience to guests. The neighboring high-rise buildings feel like they’re within your reach as you enjoy a cozy afternoon at the urban rooftop bar.

The outdoor terrace features bar seating around the edge, allowing you to watch the streets and people below. The overall ambiance here is very friendly and welcoming, with wooden tables and chairs, lovely flowers and greenery, and unique fixtures.

Our recommendation:

The bar menu consists of dishes inspired by the all-time classic American bar bites and food with some twist. Try the Raised Burger with a special sauce for solo, ceviche chifa for a snack, and the cheese & charcuterie board. There are also beef tenderloin sliders and Chicago lobster roll.

Location:

1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

Boleo

What’s it like:

Reserve a table at Boleo, a rooftop restaurant and cocktail lounge perched above the city. It is located on the 15th floor of the historic downtown Kimpton Gray Hotel in the heart of the Loop. It’s an amazing night-out space for those looking to indulge in South American sounds and flavors with dishes inspired by Peruvian street food and daring cocktails.

Boleo has an upbeat and lively atmosphere. It has a retractable roof to protect its guests from the weather, lovely exotic palms, and flowers that add a touch of nature to the place. Though everything here speaks Spanish, anyone can relate and enjoy its never-ending playlist and inviting ambiance.

Our recommendation:

Be sure to book a table to avoid disappointment, as the rooftop lounge can get pretty busy. It is only open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.

Location:

122 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603

Discover the best rooftop bars

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious outdoor terrace on top of an upscale hotel or a rustic rooftop setting, Chicago has plenty of open-air spaces in the city center and beyond. You can walk around The Loop and take the lift to the top floor of a building or escape to River North or the picturesque Lincoln Park neighborhood for a night.

No matter where you go or what views you want to see, the largest Illinois city offers some of the world’s best rooftop bars with top-level cocktails and high-class cuisines.

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