5 Kickass… Bar Patios and Beer Gardens

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If you’re a seasoned Chicagoan at all, you know what summertime means. It means spend as much time outside as possible… because you don’t know how long this warm weather is going to last. So why eat and drink inside? Here are our picks for five kickass patios and beer gardens where you can while away those summer days and nights.

Cody’s Public House

1658 W. Barry

Cody’s is a great Chicago dive bar that gets even better in the summer. The bar itself feels like a large house, and when you reach their patio you feel as if you’ve stepped into your neighbor’s backyard — complete with a grill you can use if you’ve come prepared. BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) and grilling tools and you can turn Cody’s into your perfect summer BBQ without the hassle of people using your bathroom.

Feel guilty about leaving the pup at home? Cody’s is entirely dog-friendly inside and out. I may or may not have attended a dog’s 21st birthday party at this welcoming Roscoe Village/West Lakeview bar… but that’s a story for another time. They’ve also got a built in bags set and multiple dart boards (real dartboards, not crappy plastic ones). The large wood patio has plenty of space and is usually decorated with lanterns.


1983 N. Clybourn

Stepping out onto Zella’s summer patio is a welcome escape from the busy cluster of Clybourn retail. The well-kept patio is centered around a large tree surrounded by flowers, and vines cover the fences. Sleek wood benches line the outsides of the patio as well as some inner islands, so there is always a place to sit. They have decent food and a couple TV’s outside, as well. The patio at Zella is always crowded on summer weekends, but they’ve got heat lamps if the night is a bit chilly. Beware: I don’t think I’ve ever been to Zella on the weekend in the summer when there hasn’t been a party reserved somewhere in the bar.

Vines on Clark | Learn more

3554 N. Clark, Wrigleyville

We couldn’t make a list of patios and beer gardens without including one in Wrigleyville. While Murphy’s and Bernie’s came close, Vines won out with their huge patio and multiple bags sets. The stone patio is lined with iron tables and chairs, while drunk Cubs fans, yuppies, and suburbanites mingle and much on pub grub. You can hear the Cubs game from the patio and sip beer out of a can or plastic cup until your heart’s content. What’s not to love?

Big Star | Learn more

1531 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park

I could spend hours on Big Star’s expansive patio in one of their bright yellow chairs with just chips, salsa, and a good margarita. They’ve got a fantastic selection of whiskeys and tequilas that will keep you switching drinks all evening. They’ve also got an extensive beer list, heavy on craft bottled beers. The patio’s as casual as the bar inside, so expect hipsters swigging inexpensive Mexican beer. Don’t leave Big Star without grabbing some grub — the queso fundido is amazing and you can’t beat the pork belly tacos. All tacos are affordable, so grab a couple and you will undoubtably leave satisfied.

Straight out of the South, Big Star promises a good time and good drinks. So, enjoy that country music on vinyl, your (super strong) margarita, and the Wicker Park people watching.

Red Canary | Learn more

695 N. Milwaukee

Billing itself as Chicago’s first “gastro-lounge,” you can expect all that goes along with the title. A swanky bar & restaurant with cushy booths and vaulted ceilings, this contemporary River West spot is a great place to lounge for hours. The garden patio is a hidden oasis with 2,000 square feet of space for dining and cocktails. Vines cover the brick walls and trees shade wicker couches and tables — definitely a destination for a warm summer evening. The drink list includes a decent craft beer selection, a comprehensive wine list, and several creative cocktails.

Photo Credit

Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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