Content Produced in Partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Already known for its no-frills neighborhood bars and quirky bars, Chicago is experiencing a renaissance of cocktail bars of late. Throughout the city, bartenders are creating inventive cocktails or rescuing old cocktail recipes from the annals of time — and putting a fun, modern spin on them all. Not only do these cocktail bars present delightful concoctions, they are also providing wonderful environments for their guests to enjoy. A few of our favorites include:
Delight Your Senses at Amuse
Located in the well-situated Swissotel Chicago hotel downtown, Amuse is a cozy bar and restaurant with views of the river and north Michigan Avenue. Patrons can enjoy seasonal small plates and signature cocktails by the warmth of the fireplace or the beauty of the overhanging glass sculptures. For a twist on an old favorite, try the Sweet Ginger Pear or if you want to go for a bit spicier, try their Hostile Jalapeno.
Discover a Hidden Speakeasy at The Library
Hidden underneath the restaurant and bar Gilt City is The Library, a speakeasy The Chicago Tribune notes one of the best speakeasy bars in the entire city. Lured by the faint sound of jazz from speakers nearby, guests are escorted down by the host (they don’t take reservations so you may have to wait) into a beautifully decorated room with a wall of books and plush red velvet seating areas. The drink list has many classic cocktails, including a few from Gilt City upstairs. If you want one with a punch, try the rum and prosecco drink called the Airmail.
Enter a Tropical World at Three Dots and a Dash
Chicago may be known for its snow, but you can find a secret tropical paradise throughout the year in Three Dots and a Dash in River North. Named one of the world’s 50 best bars by Drinks International, the entrance to the bar is found down an alleyway lined by — what else? — tiki torches. Its comprehensive menu includes new and historical tiki drinks from the heyday of tiki bars. In addition to a hefty rum list and even a few flaming drink options (because why not?), they also serve up astonishing yummy — and large — punches to share with a table. One of the most popular punches is the Conch Out, a fruity concoction complete with absinthe and garnished with dry ice drifting off a conch shell like a waterfall for serving. Try to get a table reservation since the bar can get super crowded.
Go Bowling and Have Boozy Milkshakes at the Pink Squirrel
This relatively new arrival to Logan Square provides its visitors with a delightfully retro feel. Featuring a funky lounge and duckpin bowling (hourly lane rentals are available), Pink Squirrel serves classic cocktails and transforms 1950s diner favorites into boozy classics. Their non-milkshake cocktails are also great, and its Alaska cocktail makes excellent use of chartreuse.
Sip on Delicious Cocktails at Award-Winning Billy Sunday
Also located in Logan Square, Billy Sunday has received many awards since it first opened in 2013 — and it deserves all the accolades. The menu has a series of classic cocktails, but their seasonal and house specials, like the Advice from a Narwhal, are worth talking about too (and it's not just because they're served in unusual drinking vessels, such as matryoshka dolls, either). Though you can hang out in the bar, their cocktail classes are great for larger groups, too. Available by reservation only, each of the 90-minute classes are led by the head bartender, showcasing the various techniques and steps for the makings of five different cocktails. The best part? You get to try them all.
How to Do It
More than just a great spot for a cocktail, the Swissotel Chicago is centrally located alongside some of the city's best attractions, restaurants and bars. Featuring sleek accommodations and world-class dining experiences, this modern luxury hotel has a style all its own and is sure to take your Chicago vacation to the next level. We'll toast to that.