40 Bars for Al Fresco Beers in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL

40 Bars for Al Fresco Beers in Chicago

As patio season unofficially begins again in Chicago (we hope it's here to stay), the chance to have an al fresco beer is again top of mind. So, we found it fitting to resurrect our list of 40 spots in the city to best enjoy a beer and some fresh air. 

Below is The Hop Review's list of these outdoor patios, rooftops, sidewalk cafés and backyards. We list 'em in no particular order and include what you oughta have in hand at each location.

So get to it, a warm week is ahead of you...


Drafts a'plenty at Hopleaf. – Photo: The Hop Review

Drafts a'plenty at Hopleaf. – Photo: The Hop Review

1. HOPLEAF

We'll start out strong, and obvious. Hopleaf is Chicago's craft beer mecca. And it's tiny back patio is the perfect city respite from bustling Clark St. out front – if you can snag a seat. We recommend right after the lunch rush.

You're drinking: Pater 6 from St. Bernardus.

5148 N Clark St – Andersonville

 

Sidewalk beers! – Photo: The Hop Review

Sidewalk beers! – Photo: The Hop Review

2. THE BAR ON BUENA

Don't mind the uneven pavement of The Bar on Buena's sidewalk café. This Buena Park joint boasts one of the city's most underrated beer menus, from the folks behind Fountainhead.  

You're drinking: Weissenheimer Hefeweizen from Destihl.

910 W Buena Ave – Buena Park

 

Order inside, sit outside. Photo: The Hop Review

Order inside, sit outside. Photo: The Hop Review

3. SPOKE & BIRD

This modest café inside a city park building only boasts six taps, but rest assured, they're all damn good. And, the patio is a massive swath of this quiet part of the neighborhood.  

You're drinking: Good Ryes Wear Black from South Loop Brewing Co.

205 E 18th St – South Loop

 

Beers over the L. – Photo: bottom lounge.com

Beers over the L. – Photo: bottom lounge.com

4. BOTTOM LOUNGE

A reputable rock venue? Yes. An underrated rooftop space with sweeping views of the skyline, the L and plenty of room to set up shop? Yes. Grab a cold can and head outside. 

You're drinking: Daisy Cutter from Half Acre

1375 W Lake St – West Loop

 

Endless outdoor at KT – Photo: The Hop Review

Endless outdoor at KT – Photo: The Hop Review

5. KAISER TIGER

Head around the corner to this Randolph St. anchor and grab a pint from this bar cousin to Paddy Long's. An impressive biergarten with communal seating (and bocce!), and a front sidewalk patio.  

You're drinking: American Pale Ale from BrickStone Brewery

1415 W Randolph St – West Loop

 

Chicago's "Up North" – Photo: waterfrontcafechicago.com

Chicago's "Up North" – Photo: waterfrontcafechicago.com

6. WATERFRONT CAFÉ

Tucked behind a park district building, this is Edgewater's lakeside secret. Not an impressive menu by any means, but score one of their few craft beers and take in the views. It'll save you a trip to the Northwoods.  

You're drinking: All Day IPA from Founders

6219 N Sheridan – Edgewater

 

$9 beers with a view – Photo: The Hop Review

$9 beers with a view – Photo: The Hop Review

7. CINDY'S

Easily the city's most beautiful bar space with a beautiful view. If you are willing to wait in line at the CAA, this view can be yours too, for the price of a $9 beer. Trust us, it's worth it.  

You're drinking: Steeped Emperor's Lemon Saison from Moody Tongue

12 S Michigan Ave – Loop

 

We'll take a round. Or 4. – Photo: The Hop Review

We'll take a round. Or 4. – Photo: The Hop Review

8. FOUNTAINHEAD

This private-feeling rooftop on the North Side is one of our go-tos. Everything about it just seems...right. And this gastropub does not disappoint.  

You're drinking: 27 Blocks from Lake Effect Brewing

1970 W Montrose – Ravenswood

 

California meets Chicago – Photo: The Hop Review

California meets Chicago – Photo: The Hop Review

9. PARSON'S CHICKEN & FISH

The Boulevards' favorite gravel beer garden gets its use during these warm days. Don't skip this trendy spot – just skip the food and grab beers under those striped umbrellas.  

You're drinking: Anti-Hero from Revolution

2952 W Armitage – Logan Square

 

Sun 'n suds at DryHop – Photo: The Hop Review

Sun 'n suds at DryHop – Photo: The Hop Review

10. Dryhop brewers

One of only three breweries on our list, DryHop is an al fresco A+. Even if you can't score a spot on the small sidewalk patio, the open-front space always allows for some sun and fresh air.  

You're drinking: Shark Meets Hipster from DryHop Brewers

3155 N Broadway – Lakeview

 

The Long Room's short patio – Photo: The Hop Review

The Long Room's short patio – Photo: The Hop Review

11. THE LONG ROOM

There's a good chance you've been to the Long Room a handful of times and never been on the patio. It's tucked back there though, we promise. Order from the impressive tap list and go take a seat out back.

You're drinking: Overrated IPA from Surly Brewing

1612 W Irving Park – Northcenter

 

Sheffield's does Wrigleyville right – Photo: sheffieldschicago.com

Sheffield's does Wrigleyville right – Photo: sheffieldschicago.com

12. SHEFFIELD'S

A must-visit beer garden for anyone in Chicago. The neighborhood pub's outdoor space fills fast, especially on Cubs game days. And heads up, the better beer is inside.   

You're drinking: Two Hearted from Bell's

3258 N Sheffield Ave – Lakeview

 

Ditch the W. Loop for AT – Photo: flickr.com

Ditch the W. Loop for AT – Photo: flickr.com

13. THE ABERDEEN TAP

A neighborhood favorite to those in the West Loop-West Town area, Aberdeen Tap sports a great curated beer list – as well as some of the best bar food around. And a sneaky view of the Sears Tower.  

You're drinking: Cane & Ebel from Two Brothers

440 N Aberdeen – West Town

 

Metal, burgers & beer at TW – Photo: yelp.com

Metal, burgers & beer at TW – Photo: yelp.com

14. TWISTED SPOKE

Head to this West Side biker bar for their modest rooftop overlooking Ogden & Grand. When you get your share of sun, head down for some whiskey at the bar.  

You're drinking: Anchor Steam from Anchor Brewing

501 N Ogden Ave – West Town

 

Just like grandma's backyard – Photo: Hop Review

Just like grandma's backyard – Photo: Hop Review

15. RESI'S BIERSTUBE

One of Chicago's best kept secrets, this biergarten is barely advertised and feels like your grandma's backyard. Fittingly, the interior might also look like your grandma's basement. German beers here.  

You're drinking: Hefeweizen from Erdinger Brauerei

2034 W Irving Park – Northcenter

 

No character? No problem. – Photo: The Hop Review

No character? No problem. – Photo: The Hop Review

16. FLANDER'S BELGIAN BEER & FRIES

Sadly, this space is pretty tacky and devoid of any character whatsoever. But, you simply can't beat this view and people watching on the new Riverwalk.  

You're drinking: Blanche de Bruxelles from Lefebvre

55 Chicago Riverwalk – Loop

 

German beers, all day – Photo: genes sausage.com

German beers, all day – Photo: genes sausage.com

17. GENE'S SAUSAGE shop

Sausage and beer. Beer and sausage. And rooftop. This is Lincoln Square's best bet for a warm day. Not so surprisingly, you'll be having German beer, in cans.

You're drinking: Krombacher Pils from Krombacher

4750 N Lincoln – Lincoln Square

 

Swank on the S. Side – Photo: The Hop Review

Swank on the S. Side – Photo: The Hop Review

18. THE PROMONTORY

This sharp South Side spot is not actually that close to Promontory Point as the name might suggest. Still, even without lake views, the patio is calm and relaxing.  

You're drinking: Krank Shaft from Metropolitan Brewing

5311 S Lake Park – Hyde Park

 

Patio done casually – Photo: yelp.com

Patio done casually – Photo: yelp.com

19. MASH

One of a few new additions to Lincoln Square to hop on the craft bandwagon. Although fairly no-frills, this patio is large and sunny with just the right amount of canopy shade. And, there's BBQ.  

You're drinking: P2 from Penrose Brewing Co.

4535 N Lincoln – Lincoln Square

 

Downtown rooftop w/ class. & cocktails. & beers. – Photo: drumbar.com

Downtown rooftop w/ class. & cocktails. & beers. – Photo: drumbar.com

20. DRUMBAR

Atop the Rafaello Hotel, this posh bar is classic Chicago. Although cocktails are their forte, it's worth it even to grab a beer or cider just to see this former penthouse space in the shadows of the Hancock.

You're drinking: Blue Gold from Vandermill Cider

201 E Delaware Pl – Streeterville

 

21. TEN CAT TAVERN

LakeviewYou're drinking: Old Style by Heileman's 

22. BANGERS & LACE

Wicker Park – You're drinking: Ghost of L'ectricity by Around the Bend

23. BREHON PUB

River North – You're drinking: Smithwick's by Guinness 

24. JERRY'S – ANDERSONVILLE

Andersonville – You're drinking: Grapefruit Sculpin by Ballast Point

25. BILLY SUNDAY

Logan Square – You're drinking: Maiden Voyage by Aquanaut Brewing Co.

26. THE ORBIT ROOM

Avondale – You're drinking: Grapefruit Radler by Stiegl

27. REGGIE'S MUSIC JOINT

South Loop – You're drinking: Alpha King by Three Floyds

28. JACK & GINGER'S

Bucktown – You're drinking: Matilda by Goose Island

30. MURPHY'S BLEACHERS

Lakeview – You're drinking: Rua by Ale Syndicate

31. UNCOMMON GROUND

Edgewater – You're drinking: Monk's Libation by UC's Greenstar Brewing

32. HOWELLS & HOOD

Streeterville – You're drinking: Little Sumpin' Sumpin' by Lagunitas

33. SPORTSMAN'S CLUB

Humboldt Park – You're drinking: 16 Bit by Tallgrass

34. HAPPY VILLAGE

Ukrainian Village – You're drinking: Hamm's by Hamm's

35. VILLAGE TAP

Roscoe Village – You're drinking: Tripel Stamp by Begyle Brewing

36. THE MATCHBOX

River West – You're drinking: Schlitz Tall Boy by Schlitz

37. MOODY'S PUB

Edgewater – You're drinking: Sir Dunkel Dark by Berghoff

38. COMPASS BAR

Lincoln Park – You're drinking: Mourning Wood by Local Option

39. HAYMARKET PUB & BREWERY

West Loop – You're drinking: Mathias Imperial IPA by Haymarket

40. ROCK BOTTOM BREWERY

River North – You're drinking: Chicago Gold by Rock Bottom

 

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Editor's note: This piece was originally published August 13, 2015 to mark the final 40 days of summer. But, we still stand by the suggestions here, so happy drinking, Chicago.