Best Rooftop Bars in Chicago

Summertime in Chicago, if you’re not already in the know, is something else. Blue skies, lots of sun, and the presence of Lake Michigan, with its beautiful waterfront, make the city nearly impossible to beat this time of year. In addition to its lovely summertime weather, Chicago is also famous for its cutting-edge restaurants, copious craft breweries, and scenic skyline. Put it all together and one thing jumps to mind immediately: rooftop bars! You’re going to want to be out and about here during summertime visit as much as possible, and that includes even when you’re enjoying a bite to eat or sipping an adult beverage. Fortunately, Chicago is renowned as a great town for rooftop bars. To help you pick out a destination or two for yourself, here are some local favorites.

Cindys at the Chicago Athletic Association


For the quintessential downtown Chicago rooftop experience, Cindy’s is tough to top. Located within the historic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Cindy’s overlooks Millennium Park and offers spectacular views of the city’s skyline, lakefront, Michigan Avenue, and even the Art Institute of Chicago. Drinks are cocktail-centric, and the food is basically contemporary American cuisine. If you’ve got your heart set on Cindy’s, making a reservation in advance of your trip is never a bad idea.


Are you ready for this factoid? Comprising a whopping 36,000 square feet of bar space, Offshore is considered the largest rooftop bar anywhere in the world. Located at the edge of Chicago’s bustling Navy Pier, Offshore provides splendid views of Lake Michigan and, of course, the Chicago skyline. And that’s probably the biggest selling point of Offshore: given its position on a pier jutting out into the lake, you’re literally not going to come across a rooftop bar with a better view of this beautiful city from its lakefront side.

Château Carbide

Chicago is such a great city for architecture, what with its plethora of iconic skyscrapers, innovative designs, and striking structures featuring a host of memorable flourishes, that if you ask ten different Chicagoans for their favorite building you’re likely to get ten different answers. Me, I’ve always been a Carbon and Carbide Building fan—its green-and-gold, terra-cotta exterior is nothing short of resplendent. Which is why you should check out Château Carbide, the 24th-floor rooftop space located at the Carbon and Carbide Building in the Michigan Avenue block between the Chicago Architecture Center and the American Writers Museum. The focus here is squarely on botanical-inspired cocktails, and you must be at least 21 years old to enter.

The J. Parker

If you’re going to be in or around Lincoln Park—treating yourself to the neighborhood’s prodigious shopping options or luxuriating in the large park’s abundant green spaces—and you find yourself in the mood for a rooftop outing, head straight to The J. Parker and you won’t be disappointed. Situated at the top of Clark Street’s boutique Hotel Lincoln, J. Parker has live music some weeknights and is suitable for year-round visits: it features a retractable-glass roof that serves as a safety net for when the weather won’t cooperate. Be advised: The J. Parker can get pretty busy during peak times, and they don’t take reservations, so plan accordingly if you don’t want to wait.

LH Rooftop

Located across the 21st and 22nd floors of the luxurious London House hotel, LH Rooftop is a great pick for those rooftop bar enthusiasts seeking top-rate views of the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue, and core city landmarks. LH Rooftop has multiple spaces to choose from, meaning if you actually want to sit indoors with a drink but be able to look out over your shoulder at Chicago’s skyline, this might be the place for you. Like many of the establishments on this list, LH Rooftop can get really crowded—if you want to avoid the worst of the madness, mid-day lunch or early afternoon drinks might work better for you.

Lonesome Rose

As significant a transformation as Chicago’s vibrant Logan Square neighborhood has undergone in recent years, the hip area is not known for rooftop bars. Lonesome Rose, though, is doing its part to change that, as this popular Mexican restaurant’s charming rooftop spot is a fun place to sip a Michelada, margarita, or reasonably priced pint. It’s a small rooftop space, however, so arrive early or be prepared to be patient—or, if you tire of waiting, just walk a couple blocks up California Avenue, turn left on Milwaukee Avenue, and grab yourself a stool at Revolution Brewing’s cozy Brewpub. You can’t lose either way.

The Up Room

Wicker Park is one of Chicago’s great neighborhoods: it’s packed with terrific bars, excellent restaurants, live music venues, and a variety of fun specialty shops (come to think of it, that sounds a lot like Chicago in miniature). There aren’t many high-rise buildings in the area, though, with the exception of The Robey hotel on North Avenue. This makes its 13th-floor lounge, the Up Room, quite the Wicker Park rarity—and thus well worth a stop. If you go, you’ll be blown away by the skyline views from the west. This unique space is quite small and intimate, but even so, don’t be deterred: try and snag a premium table within the historic Art Deco building’s spire.


Located within the Emily Hotel in Chicago’s booming West Loop neighborhood, Selva is a rooftop terrace cocktail bar whose specialty consists of high-end drinks made with everybody’s favorite: mezcal. Fine, maybe it’s not your favorite, but then again, maybe you don’t know what you’re missing. Anyway, Selva’s Mexican-forward menu makes for a tasty and delicious accompaniment to the views on display from its seventh-story perch.

Rooftop at Nobu Hotel

If you really want to experience a rooftop bar setting in the West Loop but agaves aren’t your thing, try the Rooftop at Nobu Hotel. Just around the corner from Selva—and quite near some of the city’s current favorite restaurants (think The Aviary by Grant Achatz and Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat)—the Rooftop at Nobu is a sleek, modern space with fantastic views and a Japanese-centric menu of drinks, appetizers, and more.

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