Chicago’s essential new cocktail bars, brewpubs, and barstaurants | Food & Drink Feature | Chicago Reader

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Chicago’s essential new cocktail bars, brewpubs, and barstaurants

The 21 recently opened bars where you should be drinking.


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  • Courtesy GreenRiver
  • Annex at GreenRiver

Annex at GreenRiver | Streeterville

Intimate adjunct to GreenRiver featuring exclusive cocktails from head bartender Julia Momose and a limited but luxe menu from chef Aaron Linette. Read the full review >>

  • Andrew Nawrocki
  • Appellation

Appellation | Andersonville

The cheese-focused wine bar adjunct to the Pastoral outpost in Andersonville. Read the full review >>

Band of Bohemia - JAMIE RAMSAY
  • Jamie Ramsay
  • Band of Bohemia

Band of Bohemia | Ravenswood

A "culinary brewhouse" dedicated to craft beer pairings with "elevated" cuisine (executive chef Matt DuBois is a veteran of El Ideas). There's also a coffee bar open till 2 PM Monday through Saturday. Read the full review >>

Best Intentions - BARRY BRECHEISEN
  • Barry Brecheisen
  • Best Intentions

Best Intentions | Logan Square

The former Marble is now a self-proclaimed "fancy cocktail bar," though the patio remains. Read the full review >>

  • Eric Kleinberg
  • The Betty

The Betty | Fulton Market

A gorgeous, spacious, comfortable space to await your dinner reservation in the Fulton Market district, from the folks behind Bangers & Lace. Read the full review >>

  • for Sushi Dokku
  • Booze Box

Booze Box | West Loop

Izakaya in the basement of Sushi Dokku, serving Japanese drinking snacks along with beer, wine, and saki. Read the full review >>

Breakroom Brewery - ANDREA BAUER
  • Andrea Bauer
  • Breakroom Brewery

Breakroom Brewery | Irving Park

Breakroom's rear windows look in on a custom bar-making woodshop and all the fearsome machinery within, and the massive 40-foot bar built of petrified wood and sapele (a sustainable alternative to mahogany) has its own windows, with a view of the brewing tanks. Read the full review >>

The Broken Shaker - ADRIAN GAUT
  • Adrian Gaut
  • The Broken Shaker

The Broken Shaker | River North

The chichi cocktail spot in the Freehand Hotel feels like hanging out in a midcentury-modern furniture store. Read the full review >>

Corridor Brewery & Provisions - ANTHONY TAHLIER
  • Anthony Tahlier
  • Corridor Brewery & Provisions

Corridor Brewery & Provisions | Lakeview

Brewpub from DryHop Brewers featuring "rustic farmhouse" food—locally sourced sandwiches and hearth-oven-baked pizzas. Read the full review >>

Crown Tap Room - LOGAN JAVAGE
  • Logan Javage
  • Crown Tap Room

Crown Liquors | Avondale

The folks behind Dante's Pizza and the Rocking Horse took over Crown and turned a dumpy liquor-store/dive bar into a less dumpy liquor-store/dive bar with lots of charm—and foosball and that really fun Addams Family pinball machine. Read the full review >>

  • Philip Montoro

Empirical Brewery | Ravenswood

Now equipped with a taproom and offering tours, Empirical approaches beer as serious science. Read the full review >>

Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery - BJ PICHMAN
  • BJ Pichman
  • Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery

Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery | West Town

Brewpub at the botanically focused brewery Forbidden Root. Read the full review >>

The Heavy Feather
  • The Heavy Feather

The Heavy Feather | Logan Square

Modeled after the so-called "fern bars" that rose to faddish popularity in the late 1970s and early '80s, Heavy Feather is decked out in dark wood, booths with tufted cushions, Tiffany-style glass lamps, peacock-feather-patterned wallpaper, and (of course) green plants peeking out of every nook. Read the full review >>

  • Clayton Hauck
  • Lost Lake

Lost Lake | Avondale

With Martinique-patterned wallpaper, pufferfish lamps, and a knowledgeable staff, the Land and Sea Dept. tiki joint directed by Paul McGee and Shelby Allison is a dreamy escape from urban drabness. Read the full review >>

Magnetic Pole Reversal at Mezcaleria Las Flores - JAY SCHROEDER/COURTESY H2 PR
  • Jay Schroeder/Courtesy H2 PR
  • Magnetic Pole Reversal at Mezcaleria Las Flores

Mezcaleria Las Flores | Logan Square

Former Frontera bar manager Jay Schroeder is behind this mezcal- and tequila-focused spot adjacent to Johnny's Grill. Read the full review >>

Paul McGee at the Milk Room - COURTESY THE MILK ROOM
  • Courtesy the Milk Room
  • Paul McGee at the Milk Room

The Milk Room | Loop

Paul McGee-directed "microbar" inside the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Read the full review >>

  • Courtesy Presidio
  • Presidio

Presidio | Bucktown

At this cocktail barstaurant that's supposed to remind you of San Francisco, there are a few nice, arty shots of the Golden Gate Bridge on the walls, and some classic cocktails that were first created in the City by the Bay. Read the full review >>

  • Andrea Bauer
  • Pub Royale

Pub Royale | Ukrainian Village

The impressive, ever-changing selection of two-dozen drafts is only the main draw at Heisler Hospitality's take on the subcontinental British colonial pub. Read the full review >>

  • Courtesy Heisler Hospitality
  • Queen Mary Tavern

Queen Mary Tavern | Wicker Park

Part of the growing Heisler Hospitality regime, the maritime-themed craft-cocktail bar should probably feel a lot kitschier. Read the full review >>

The Spaceman Spiff at the Sixth - CHRIS RIHA
  • Chris Riha
  • The Spaceman Spiff at the Sixth

The Sixth | Lincoln Square

The Sixth's beverage director, Benjamin Schiller, who lives in the area, wanted to create for Lincoln Square a neighborhood cocktail bar, and this place feels like one. Read the full review >>

Tack Room - STEVE SCAP
  • Steve Scap
  • Tack Room

Tack Room | Pilsen

The name's a sly reference to the building's 19th century heritage as a carriage house, but there's no horse tack to be found in this cozy, candlelit addition to Thalia Hall. Read the full review >>


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