5 Kickass… Rooftop Bars

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Call me crazy, but rooftop drinking feels different than being on a regular patio. You’ve got a different view of the skyline, and the sun feels that much stronger. So if you’re looking to elevate your level of socializing this summer, here are our picks for best rooftop bars.

Roof at the Wit

201 N. State
(312) 239-950

The name pretty much says it all. Roof at the Wit has a great atmosphere and is wonderful for an after-work cocktail and some snacks. And you’ll want something to eat as soon as you smell the pizza oven located at the entrance of the bar. If you want to check it out on a warm summer night, be sure to get there early or be prepared to wait in line outside.


384 W. Erie.
(312) 640-1156

Just off the main River North strip of bars and restaurants, Citizen has a large second story rooftop with a full outdoor bar. High-top tables line the wood patio complete with speakers playing summer hits or large flatscreens showing summer sports games. Drinks are slightly cheaper than the regular River North up-charge, and they have drink deals most days of the week. Staff is friendly and will make sure your drinks are never empty. This is a great place to book for your summer office party. Can’t get a seat on the rooftop? Try their equally large side patio.

Twisted Spoke

501 N. Ogden
(312) 666-1500

If a more casual atmosphere is your kind of roof, check out Twisted Spoke in River West. A more casual biker atmosphere that is. Picnic tables line the roof of this spot denoted by a skeleton riding a motorcycle rotating like a figurehead at the front of a ship. Twisted Spoke has a great beer list and good food, so we suggest you settle in for an afternoon of beer tasting. The mix of patrons ranges from bikers to yuppies to hipsters all enjoying the eclectic atmosphere. They’ve got great nightly specials and a killer bloody mary, so anytime is a good time to head to Twisted Spoke.

Market | Learn more

1113 W. Randolph, West Loop

This hip and trendy sports bar/restaurant on Randolph has innovative drinks and good food to match. This multi-level restaurant has a different feel depending on what floor you’re on; stay on the ground floor to watch sports as you eat or sit on the outdoor patio for nice al fresco dining. The rooftop is a place to be seen with bottle service and amazing city views. Visit the outdoor bar and cozy up in one of the large wood boothes. This place definitely turns into a drinking scene after the dinner crowd, speciality cocktails are worth the price with their fresh ingredients, and they pack a punch. Check out their nightly specials and take advantage of them, it’s worth it.

Studio Paris | Learn more

59 W. Hubbard St.

The chic atmosphere not only evokes the sophistication of it’s namesake, but also calls to mind the sleek clubs of Miami Beach. Large black-and-white booths line the walls, and white curtains are draped over the front windows. Since this is an outdoor patio, they didn’t forget the greenery — in fact, one entire wall is covered in grass. The space consists of two rooms: one indoor, one outdoor, covered by a greenhouse-like retractable roof. No more getting kicked off the “patio” at 11pm… the roof is simply closed and the show goes on. Rainy or cold out? The lounge is still open! That also means that on that freak 70 degree day in January, that roof gets swung wide open, and we know where you’ll be…

Cocktails and a shortened menu consisting of select small plates are available in the early hours. But come 9:00 the space becomes one of the hottest lounges in the city, catering to the elite crowd of Chicago — read: those willing to drop mad cash for a good time. Bottles start at $250, and on weekends expect a 3-4 bottle minimum. No one will try to tell you that a night out at Studio Paris is cheap. But if you want to see — and be seen — this new rooftop club is where it’s at.

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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