Chicago’s Top Cocktail Spots, Old and New

Our eight favorite places to experience the very best of Chicago nightlife.

Anthony Tahlier
OF 9

When it comes to judging American cocktail metropolises, Chicago, one could argue, is a city second to none. With a lengthy list of longstanding speakeasy stalwarts like The Violet Hour, game-changing molecular-style ventures like The Aviary, and an ever-expanding selection of new places to try stretching from River North to Logan Square (and beyond), we’re inclined to agree. The city’s balance of creativity and accessibility have encouraged an atmosphere of risk-taking and experimentation that runs strong throughout its history—just look to its architecture, music, and recent culinary renaissance for proof—and its cadre of imaginative bartenders is in keeping with this rule. Here, we go inside eight of The Windy City’s best cocktail bars, including four of the greatest classics and a handful of the most promising newcomers.