The 5 Best Hotel Bars in Chicago

Kristine Hansen | February 06, 2018

What constitutes a good hotel bar? It's not all about the drinks. People-watching, comfy seating, a view and a vibe that makes you glad it's five o'clock all contribute to the definition of a watering hole that's worth seeking out. From the elegant, grand Drake Hotel to newer boutique hotels such as Freehand and ACME Hotel Company, these intimate spots are considered the best places in Chicago to get a drink. Whether your vice is a Napa Cab, rare whiskeys, crazy-creative cocktails or local craft beers, you won't leave Chicago thirsty.

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Kimpton Gray Hotel

Why it made the list

Vino lovers, take note: Vol. 39 in the newest Kimpton hotel in Chicago was basically created just for you. For one, there are seven bubbles by the glass, almost all Champagne and some from big-name producers like Dom Perignon. California, Italian and French wines comprise most of the red and white wines--plenty by the glass. Snug in the Loop, there's a ton of Art Deco flair, in this bar just off the lobby. You might even be tempted to wear your "Mad Men"-style outfits.

Prominently centered in the financial district, this handsom Read More


Freehand Chicago

Why it made the list

Emulating a '70s-era living room with boho-chic furnishings, Tiki-inspired decor and dim lighting, Freehand Chicago's Broken Shaker cocktail bar is a nice addition to the River North area. An offshoot of the Freehand hostel in Miami--where the bar was named "best American hotel bar" by Tales of the Cocktail in 2015--the drink names are quirky, such as "Grandma's Old Fashioned" (baked apple and cinnamon flavors) and "Return of the Mac" (roasted butternut squash with rum, citrus and egg whites).

This funky, eclectic hotel in River North is steps from all Read More


Chicago Athletic Association

Why it made the list

Flaunting views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan's ribbon of blue beyond, Cindy's is your rare year-round rooftop bar where the vibe isn't too closely tied to summer (because that's only one of the four seasons, after all!). Natural light pours in through the vaulted glass atrium. Service begins at 10 a.m. on weekends for brunch (hello, Bloody Mary!) while lunch and dinner are served weekdays. Botanicals, aromatics and elixirs woven into cocktails make this a destination.

Harkening to the city's Golden Age of architecture, this his Read More


The Drake Hotel

Why it made the list

Open since 1933, and with a decor that honors that era, Coq d'Or's claim to fame are its whiskies which are so exquisite the hotel launched a Whiskey Business Club to unite fans via four annual gatherings. Classic cocktails range from the signature Coq d'Or Aperitif to the "Old" Old-Fashioned. Just two of the beer choices skew local (Half Acre and Goose Island) but the line-up of imports and out-of-town beers is strong. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, live jazz fills the space.

Is that Mody in the lobby? The Drake is a cultural hub and u Read More


ACME Hotel Company

Why it made the list

The Berkshire Room (from Chicago's Fifty/50 Restaurant Group) is a hit with locals, not just hotel guests, and doesn't feel like a hotel bar at all (that's a good thing). Above the bar, the bar's name is spelled out in neon letters. "Antique bourbons" dating back to the 1940s are worth traveling to Chicago for and cocktails play around with seasonal ingredients, like Beet Box and the coffee-infused Weston.

Retro rock 'n roll, Technorati, and industrial chic mingle a Read More

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