Illinois Bars & Nightlife
Bars & Nightlife city
180 N Morgan St., West Loop
It’s always a good sign when you need sunscreen for lunch. Federales is such a place. It has a retractable roof above a massive patio, serves the perfect spicy-but-not-too-spicy margaritas, and the homemade tortilla chips and guacamole are the kind that could sustain you until tomorrow. It’s the kind of place you want to bring a group of friends—or hell, strangers—and stay for an entire afternoon under the sun. Those lively afternoons turn into even livelier evenings once the tequila starts flowing (there are over forty varieties) and the tacos (adobo shrimp, pulled chipotle chicken) are some of the best in the West Loop.
116 N. Green St., West Loop
R&M Champagne takes its name from a specific variety of bubbly, Grower Champagne, the grapes for which come from a single vineyard, as opposed to dozens. This intimate drinking salon in the West Loop has taken on the ambitious task of building a drink menu focused entirely on exploring this specific corner of the champagne world. Along with a solid dinner offering and a boozy weekend brunch, they’ve put together a romantic outdoor patio ideal for tucking into one of their excellent cheeseboards.
Sable Kitchen & Bar
505 N. State St., River North
Located in Hotel Palomar, Sable is the destination for a few drinks or a full meal. They serve gastropub dishes with an American twist, and a long list of wood-fired flatbreads. Their 14-page cocktail menu is garnering plenty of attention, too, for its mix of old-fashioned drinks (a long list of options for a good old Martini) and new twists (Ice & Fire, for example, is a tequila-based drink with Sriracha, cucumber, agave, and fresh lime).
1015 N. Rush St., Gold Coast
Nestled a stone's throw from Nico Osteria at the Thompson Hotel, this upscale lounge leans heavily on low-proof drinks (juleps, spritzes, and the like), meaning you can indulge without getting too sloppy. One of Nico’s most prominent design features, other than the luscious stretch banquette and pops of jewel tones, is a plant wall which, in addition to lending a dreamy indoor-outdoor quality to the space, absorbs noise.
The Garden at Celeste
111 W. Hubbard, River North
Celeste is divided into several different floors, and while they all share the same elegant aesthetic, the rooftop garden is far and away our favorite. The intimate space is decorated with white Victorian couches and chairs, and the brick walls are softened with vines and planters. While the punchbowl is considered one of the city's best, we usually spring for one of two frozen drinks (an Electric Pisco Colada and a Nuclear Caipirinha) that you can only get on the roof.
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