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20 of Chicago’s Top Cocktail Bars

If you're in Chicago and looking for a place that pours a good drink, you'll find plenty of options. Whether you love a classic Manhattan or you're interested in savoring something new and unique, you're sure to have a good time when you check out these top cocktail bars in Chicago.

The Sixth

The Sixth is a hip and modern cocktail bar with playful drinks that you can't find anywhere else. One popular option is the S'More de Amor, which has Mexican rum, lemon, Mexican chocolate, marshmallow foam, and a graham cracker rim. 

Secret Sound

If you're looking for a tropical escape in the Windy City, check out Secret Sound. This cocktail lounge is tucked away on the second floor of Time Out Market. You only need one sip of the lounge's rum-soaked tiki drinks to see why co-owners Shelby Allison and Paul McGee won Best Cocktail Bar in America from Tales of the Cocktail.

The Aviary

The drinks at The Aviary are one part cocktail and one part science experiment. Popular options include the O'Doyle Rules, which has a fried banana snack on top of a cognac, rum, and curry drink, as well as the Junglebird, which showcases layers of Campari, rum, and pineapple-lime syrup with suspended rum "pearls."

Hush Money

At Hush Money, you'll find craft cocktails and premium spirits in a sophisticated setting. No matter what type of drink you love, you're sure to find it here. Options on the menu include barrel-aged beer, draft beer, sparkling wine, and specialty cocktails. The bar also has one of the largest selections of vintage spirits in the area.

The Violet Hour

The Violet Hour is everything you would expect from a cocktail lounge named after a line of T.S. Eliot poetry. The inside of the candlelit lounge features tall, secluded seats where you can have intimate conversations with your group and enjoy some of the best cocktails in the city.

Scofflaw

If you love gin, don't miss your opportunity to savor the drinks at Scofflaw. While this urban-rustic bar specializes in gin-centric cocktails, you'll also find plenty of other options on its seasonal menu, including drinks made with rum, tequila, sake, and mezcal.

Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday is an award-winning cocktail bar known for its classic drinks and adventurous new creations. One popular drink is the Backhanded Compliment, which has rye whiskey, amaro, cocoa nib, gingerbread, rooibos tea, and fenugreek.

Punch House

Walking into Punch House might feel like walking into your grandparent's basement. Tucked below Dusek's Board & Beer, the decor of this 1970s-themed bar includes wood paneling and a large fish mounted on the wall. As the name suggests, punch is the main drink here, and you can order most by the glass or bowl.

Moneygun

While Moneygun has a come-as-you-are neighborhood bar feel to it, this is where you'll find an impressive selection of all of your favorite classic cocktails. The menu includes everything from a mojito and old fashioned to a pina colada and Cuba libre.

Best Intentions

Best Intentions is located in what was once known as the Marble Bar. While brothers Calvin and Chris Marty kept the dive bar charm of the Marble Bar, Best Intentions now offers a menu of refined cocktails and diverse beers.

Cindy's

When you're looking for a fantastic view to go with your drink, check out Cindy's. This rooftop bar offers sweeping views of the skyline and an award-winning cocktail menu that focuses on fresh and seasonal ingredients.

Kumiko

Kumiko brings the beauty and style of Japanese drinks right to the heart of Chicago. The drink menu ranges from fresh and light to dark and stirred. One popular option is the Queen's Ransom, which is a Japanese take on a tiki drink.

Three Dots and a Dash

If you're looking for an authentic tiki bar experience, Three Dots and a Dash is the place to go. The menu features cocktails made with fresh-pressed juices, house-made syrups, and garnishes that include tropical flowers, citrus wedges, and fresh herbs.

The Whistler

When The Whistler first opened, it was initially supposed to be an art gallery. Then it accidentally became one of the city's best cocktail bars. While the menu is always changing, you know whatever you order will be a colorful refreshment that packs a punch.

Vol. 39

While Vol. 39 is technically a hotel bar, it doesn't feel like one. Located inside the Kimpton Gray, this polished cocktail lounge looks more like a library with its volume of books on the wall and stately leather furniture. It also has a menu that features eight different old fashioned drinks.

The Drifter

The Drifter is an authentic 1920s-era speakeasy located in the basement of the Green Door Tavern. The menu changes every night depending on the tarot cards the bartender picks out, and you never know what type of fascinating entertainers will take to the small stage that night.

Weegee's Lounge

Weegee's Lounge is a low-key spot where you can find a cocktail menu focused on the classics. The quiet atmosphere, shuffleboard tables, and back patio all combine to make this the ideal place to catch up with friends.

Matchbox

Matchbox calls itself the "most intimate bar in Chicago," and at only 460 square feet, it certainly lives up to its name. However, the spacious patio can remove any feelings of claustrophobia, and the excellent selection of classic cocktails and modern drinks make it worth the trip.

Bordel

Located above Black Bull, Bordel is a velvet-laden speakeasy-style bar. The candlelit interior features tasseled chandeliers, red velvet sofas, Persian rugs, and custom wallpaper, and the drink menu ranges from the classic to the exotic.

Drumbar

Drumbar is a stunning speakeasy-style bar located on the 18th-floor of the Raffaello Hotel. It offers an unparalleled selection of whiskeys, bourbons, scotches, and cognacs, including a variety of one-of-a-kind and limited release options.

At Salvi Media, we think these are the best cocktail bars in Chicago. Did we miss one that you love to frequent? Send us a not, and we'll be sure to add it to our list.