Food & Drink

Shake things up: Unleashing Chicago’s 13 Best Cocktail Bars!

Chicago is a city that prides itself on its diverse nightlife. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down the best cocktail bars.

From upscale lounges to dive bars with a twist, Chicago has it all.

When it comes to cocktails, Chicago is known for its creativity and innovation. Mixologists are constantly experimenting with new ingredients and techniques, resulting in a drink scene that is ever-evolving.

Whether you prefer classic cocktails or something more adventurous, there is a bar in Chicago that will meet your needs.

The ambiance of a cocktail bar is just as important as the drinks themselves. Many of the bars in Chicago have unique and interesting decor, adding to the overall experience.

From cozy speakeasies to trendy rooftop bars, the atmosphere is just as much a part of the experience as the drinks themselves.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the best cocktail bars that Chicago has to offer. We'll highlight the standout drinks and the ambiance of each bar, giving you a taste of what to expect.

Whether you're a local looking for a new spot to try or a tourist visiting the city, this guide will help you navigate the bustling cocktail scene in Chicago.

1. The Violet Hour

The Violet Hour
1520 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Google Maps)

The Violet Hour is a swanky cocktail bar that exudes a unique speakeasy vibe. This sophisticated and stylish bar is known for its creative cocktails and small bites.

The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, and the menu is user-friendly. The atmosphere is dimly lit, and the high-backed chairs give an illusion of privacy.

The service is excellent, and the staff is informative and patient when answering questions. The Violet Hour is a great place to hang out and try different cocktails, but make sure to make reservations to avoid waiting for 1-2 hours.

It's definitely worth the visit for anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable cocktail experience.

2. Scofflaw

3201 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Google Maps)

Scofflaw is a cozy cocktail bar with a focus on gin-based drinks. The mixologists are skilled and the cocktails are exceptional.

The food menu is also worth trying, with flavorful options like the eggplant terrine and sweet and spicy beef.

The atmosphere is relaxed and rustic, with cozy nooks to sit in. The outdoor patio is perfect for warm nights.

Service is friendly and knowledgeable. Make sure to make a reservation, as this place is popular among locals.

3. Gilt Bar

Gilt Bar
230 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

Gilt Bar is a sophisticated cocktail bar that serves up delicious drinks and tasty American fare with an Italian twist.

The dark and cozy atmosphere is perfect for a night out on the town with friends or a romantic date. The bartenders know their stuff and make some of the best cocktails in the city.

The truffle mozzarella sticks and the Branzini are highly recommended. The service is exceptional, and the vintage library decor of the lounge below adds to the overall ambiance.

Gilt Bar is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for a classy night out in the city.

4. Arbella

112 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

Arbella is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with a cozy atmosphere and great drinks. The mixologists are professional and serve up unique cocktails that are worth trying.

The small bites are delicious and perfect for sharing. The music is upbeat and adds to the ambiance. The happy hour menu is a great value for the quality of drinks and food.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. The decor is funky and adds to the overall vibe of the place.

It can get crowded on weekends, so reservations are recommended. If you're looking for a fun night out with friends or a date, Arbella is a great choice.

5. Matchbox Bar

Matchbox Bar
770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (Google Maps)

Matchbox Bar is a small and cozy cocktail bar that offers a great selection of hand-crafted drinks. The bartenders are knowledgeable and skilled, creating unique and delicious cocktails with fresh ingredients.

The atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back, making it a great spot for a date or a night out with friends.

The outdoor seating area is a nice touch, especially during the summer months. The prices are reasonable and the service is friendly.

If you're looking for a quality cocktail bar, Matchbox Bar is definitely worth checking out.

6. The Franklin Room

The Franklin Room
675 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

The Franklin Room is a must-visit for cocktail enthusiasts. With a wide selection of spirits, including one of the best whiskey collections in the area, guests can enjoy unique and delicious drinks crafted by knowledgeable bartenders.

The modern interior and intimate ambiance create a warm and inviting atmosphere that is perfect for a night out with friends or a date.

The food menu is also exceptional, with thoughtfully prepared dishes and excellent wine pairings.

Whether you're looking for a place to unwind after work or a spot to celebrate a special occasion, The Franklin Room is sure to impress.

7. Moneygun

660 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661 (Google Maps)

Moneygun is a hip and understated cocktail bar that serves traditional and creative cocktails.

The bar has a cool vibe and plays great music. The expert staff is knowledgeable about the drinks they serve and provide excellent service.

Moneygun offers small plates that are refined and delicious. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it a great spot for a night out.

Moneygun is a must-visit for anyone looking for a quality Chicago bar experience.

8. Kumiko

630 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661 (Google Maps)

Kumiko is a Japanese bar that offers an unforgettable experience. The staff is welcoming and attentive, making sure that every guest is comfortable.

The cocktails are expertly crafted and some of the best in town. The whiskey cocktails and tisane teas are highly recommended.

The food is exceptional, with Japanese specialties that are hard to find elsewhere. The ambience is hip and trendy, with beautiful decor that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Kumiko is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for a unique and memorable drinking and dining experience.

9. Sparrow

12 W Elm St, Chicago, IL 60610 (Google Maps)

Sparrow is a swanky cocktail bar with a retro-chic vibe. It's the perfect spot for a nightcap or a date.

The bartenders are knowledgeable and create well-balanced drinks with an extensive rum list. The ambiance is dark and relaxing, with a Cuban flair that transports you to the 1920s.

The wait staff is friendly and accommodating, making for an enjoyable experience.

With a focus on sugarcane cocktails and a great selection of wines and craft beers, Sparrow is a must-visit spot for cocktail lovers.

10. Best Bar

Best Bar
2233 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 (Google Maps)

Best Bar is a hidden gem that has recently opened its doors to cocktail enthusiasts. With an extensive selection of liquor, this bar is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique drinking experience.

The cocktails are expertly crafted and pack a punch, leaving guests feeling satisfied and impressed.

The staff is warm, friendly, and attentive, making sure every guest has a great time. The ambiance is top-notch, with great music and comfortable seating.

The attention to detail in both the drinks and decor make this bar stand out from the rest. Best Bar is definitely worth checking out for anyone looking for a great night out.

11. Vol. 39

Vol. 39
39 S La Salle St #200, Chicago, IL 60603 (Google Maps)

Vol. 39 is a high-end cocktail bar with a cozy and sophisticated atmosphere. The bar offers a large selection of well-made cocktails, and the staff is prompt and helpful.

The bar is frequented by tourists due to its proximity to nearby hotels, but it's still a great little gem in the Loop.

The prices are on the higher side, which is to be expected at a higher end place. The bar features a beautiful, modern, and masculine decor with law books and sofas.

It's a perfect place to visit for a relaxing and chill evening with friends or colleagues.

12. Drawing Room

Drawing Room
12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Google Maps)

Drawing Room is a swanky cocktail bar with a 19th-century feel. The decor is stylish, with leather chairs and dark cherry and oak wood furnishings.

It's a great place to relax and socialize with friends after an event downtown. The cocktails are excellent, and the bar bites are delicious. The servers are friendly and attentive, adding to the overall cozy atmosphere.

The bar offers plenty of seating options, including lounge chairs, tables for working or playing cards, and even a fireplace seating area. The ambiance is quiet and intimate, making it an ideal spot for a date or a night out with friends.

Whether you're looking for a quick breakfast, a snack, or a drink in the evening, Drawing Room is the perfect place to dine, work, and relax.

13. Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday
3143 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647 (Google Maps)

Billy Sunday is a must-visit cocktail bar for those who love creative drinks and a cozy atmosphere.

With a knowledgeable and passionate staff, visitors can enjoy a range of vintage cocktails and craft creations, as well as a great selection of amari and whiskies.

The bar also offers gourmet gastropub fare for those looking for a snack to accompany their drinks.

With its chic antique decor and friendly service, Billy Sunday is a standout among Logan Square's many cocktail bars.