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Grey Goose

Chicago’s Best Bars for Holiday Hangouts

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This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

The year is coming to a close. And while that can be a bit sad (seriously, did this year go by so fast or is it just us?), it also means the start of the holiday season and spending time with loved ones and friends. And whether you’re a local, in town visiting, or are making your yearly pilgrimage home, there are plenty of spots to say cheers with family and friends, new and old. Here are some of the best spots about town to mosey on up to the bar with a few people in tow for a great night (or day).

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Maple & Ash

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This chic steakhouse is a nod to old-school dining, with white tablecloths and a fantastic selection of drinks, but it’s taken a modern approach with rich, purple walls, candelabras, and a dark, elegant ambiance — plus the bar is just stunning. Grab a seat there if you can to people watch, and chat over some great apps and drinks. (A must-try? The Heart in a Cage, which has earl-infused Grey Goose (!!!), spiced raspberry, lemon, and egg white.) This would be a great pick for a smaller, more intimate group of friends who want a well-crafted meal to go along with their catch-up and cocktails. And don’t miss out on the seafood tower — it’s a must-have. 

Courtesy of Maple & Ash

Clutch Bar Chicago

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From the owners of Concrete Cowboy comes a new River North concept in Clutch. Grab your friends and come early before the crowds for dinner (you won’t go wrong with the classic Clutch burger and truffle fries), and stay for the dancing and cocktails. Order a pitcher of the Wild Ginger Mule for the table and ring in the holiday season the best way you know how.

Courtesy of Clutch Bar Chicago

Arbella

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You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more diverse cocktail menu in all of River North. Arbella specializes in “global” cocktails, all inspired by regions around the world and their flavors. Your group of friends will want to settle in for an around-the-world spirited tour, starting with a few vodka cocktails. Start out easy with the Pretty in Pinkish cocktail, a ginger and rhubarb-infused vodka cocktail with hibiscus and grapefruit mixer, and work your way up to the Aren’t You a Fineapple, a mix of vodka, bianco port, pineapple, chile syrup, pepper ice, and Red Bull yellow edition.

Courtesy of Mistey Nguyen / MADN Agency

Hubbard Inn

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The mainstay in River North closed in May for a revamp, and now it’s back and better than ever. Celebrate the reopening with all your friends this holiday season: The first floor will feel familiar to those who spent many a night at the old Hubbard Inn, eager to grab a bite and a cocktail, but the second floor, now named Blue Violette, feels more like a private club. The floral decor and swinging chairs by the windows are perfectly designed for the ‘gram, as are the cocktails. Try the Kalpa Vrishka, made with Grey Goose, Chareau liqueur (made with aloe), lime, honeydew, cucumber, and coconut — the perfect drink to forget Chicago winters and dream you’re somewhere warmer.

The Hampton Social

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Come for the Instagram-worthy decor, stay for the awesome drinks and food. The nautical theme is carried throughout the River North restaurant and bar, and it even features a “rosé all day” sign that you’ll surely see in many a social media post. But the drinks and food are also standouts — we say get some photos and drinks to start the night off right. And you don’t have to stick to rosé; there’s also some great cocktails on the list, including the brunchtime Hampton Bloody Mary, made with their house-made Bloody Mary mix and vodka. Pssst… there’s also a newer Streeterville location that’s worth checking out. 

Public House

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Another River North haunt, this gastropub and sports bar has all the things you need for a good time: good food, plenty of space, and a great beer selection (over 100 beers and some booths even have their own tap!). Don’t miss out on the amazing cake shakes, which are milkshakes topped with a slice of cake, and make sure to order a Pear of Kings cocktail, featuring Grey Goose La Poire, Ty Ku Black, St-Germain, lemon, and lemon-lime soda. Hang out with friends at brunch or get some dinner before hitting up the spots in River North — but like most places in the area, it also can get rowdy at night, so you might just want to stay awhile and make a night of it. 

Courtesy of Public House

London House Rooftop Bar

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Located in the LondonHouse Chicago hotel, this sleek establishment has three levels of drinking and dining with indoor (and outdoor, weather permitting) seating and great views. LH on 21 is the indoor lounge on the 21st floor that has an industrial look and feel, with plenty of big tables and seating for all your friends and family. Call ahead for reservations to ensure a great spot, and do yourself a favor and order a Moscow mule made with vodka, Owen’s Ginger Beer, lime, soda, and mint. 

Courtesy of London House

Located in the historic Fulton Market District, Aba is not your ordinary Mediterranean restaurant. Taking the elevator up to the third floor, you’ll open to a huge dining room with two bars (and an outdoor patio). The chic scene is punctuated with great drinks and fantastic plates that are meant to be shared — making it perfect for groups. (Try one of the groupies, a cocktail bowl that serves 6–8. Our favorite? The Study Abroad, which features Grey Goose, St-Germain, raspberry, and ginger topped with prosecco.) Cozy up to the bar before things get a bit crowded here, and know that you’re setting yourself up for success. (Success being a great time.) 

Jeff Marini

ROOF on theWit

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Located at the top of theWit hotel in the Loop on the 27th floor, this beautiful bar has floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass roof that give you uncompromised skyline views. If you go before sundown, you’ll get to see the beautiful interior sparkle that much more — at night, the place gets livelier, often with rotating DJs and live music sets, and they’ll open up the space to create more room to dance. You can go ahead and order bottle service of Grey Goose for a good time, or order from a bevy of cocktails, including the Breaking News with Wolf Spritzer that features Grey Goose, blueberry-infused St-Germain, grapefruit shrub, pamplemousse La Croix, and sparkling wine. Make sure to check out the calendar before heading there (they do host events), make a reservation, or go on the early side to pick the best place to perch. 

Courtesy of ROOF on theWit
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Maple & Ash

Courtesy of Maple & Ash

This chic steakhouse is a nod to old-school dining, with white tablecloths and a fantastic selection of drinks, but it’s taken a modern approach with rich, purple walls, candelabras, and a dark, elegant ambiance — plus the bar is just stunning. Grab a seat there if you can to people watch, and chat over some great apps and drinks. (A must-try? The Heart in a Cage, which has earl-infused Grey Goose (!!!), spiced raspberry, lemon, and egg white.) This would be a great pick for a smaller, more intimate group of friends who want a well-crafted meal to go along with their catch-up and cocktails. And don’t miss out on the seafood tower — it’s a must-have. 

Courtesy of Maple & Ash

Clutch Bar Chicago

Courtesy of Clutch Bar Chicago

From the owners of Concrete Cowboy comes a new River North concept in Clutch. Grab your friends and come early before the crowds for dinner (you won’t go wrong with the classic Clutch burger and truffle fries), and stay for the dancing and cocktails. Order a pitcher of the Wild Ginger Mule for the table and ring in the holiday season the best way you know how.

Courtesy of Clutch Bar Chicago

Arbella

Courtesy of Mistey Nguyen / MADN Agency

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more diverse cocktail menu in all of River North. Arbella specializes in “global” cocktails, all inspired by regions around the world and their flavors. Your group of friends will want to settle in for an around-the-world spirited tour, starting with a few vodka cocktails. Start out easy with the Pretty in Pinkish cocktail, a ginger and rhubarb-infused vodka cocktail with hibiscus and grapefruit mixer, and work your way up to the Aren’t You a Fineapple, a mix of vodka, bianco port, pineapple, chile syrup, pepper ice, and Red Bull yellow edition.

Courtesy of Mistey Nguyen / MADN Agency

Hubbard Inn

The mainstay in River North closed in May for a revamp, and now it’s back and better than ever. Celebrate the reopening with all your friends this holiday season: The first floor will feel familiar to those who spent many a night at the old Hubbard Inn, eager to grab a bite and a cocktail, but the second floor, now named Blue Violette, feels more like a private club. The floral decor and swinging chairs by the windows are perfectly designed for the ‘gram, as are the cocktails. Try the Kalpa Vrishka, made with Grey Goose, Chareau liqueur (made with aloe), lime, honeydew, cucumber, and coconut — the perfect drink to forget Chicago winters and dream you’re somewhere warmer.

The Hampton Social

Come for the Instagram-worthy decor, stay for the awesome drinks and food. The nautical theme is carried throughout the River North restaurant and bar, and it even features a “rosé all day” sign that you’ll surely see in many a social media post. But the drinks and food are also standouts — we say get some photos and drinks to start the night off right. And you don’t have to stick to rosé; there’s also some great cocktails on the list, including the brunchtime Hampton Bloody Mary, made with their house-made Bloody Mary mix and vodka. Pssst… there’s also a newer Streeterville location that’s worth checking out. 

Public House

Courtesy of Public House

Another River North haunt, this gastropub and sports bar has all the things you need for a good time: good food, plenty of space, and a great beer selection (over 100 beers and some booths even have their own tap!). Don’t miss out on the amazing cake shakes, which are milkshakes topped with a slice of cake, and make sure to order a Pear of Kings cocktail, featuring Grey Goose La Poire, Ty Ku Black, St-Germain, lemon, and lemon-lime soda. Hang out with friends at brunch or get some dinner before hitting up the spots in River North — but like most places in the area, it also can get rowdy at night, so you might just want to stay awhile and make a night of it. 

Courtesy of Public House

London House Rooftop Bar

Courtesy of London House

Located in the LondonHouse Chicago hotel, this sleek establishment has three levels of drinking and dining with indoor (and outdoor, weather permitting) seating and great views. LH on 21 is the indoor lounge on the 21st floor that has an industrial look and feel, with plenty of big tables and seating for all your friends and family. Call ahead for reservations to ensure a great spot, and do yourself a favor and order a Moscow mule made with vodka, Owen’s Ginger Beer, lime, soda, and mint. 

Courtesy of London House

Aba

Jeff Marini

Located in the historic Fulton Market District, Aba is not your ordinary Mediterranean restaurant. Taking the elevator up to the third floor, you’ll open to a huge dining room with two bars (and an outdoor patio). The chic scene is punctuated with great drinks and fantastic plates that are meant to be shared — making it perfect for groups. (Try one of the groupies, a cocktail bowl that serves 6–8. Our favorite? The Study Abroad, which features Grey Goose, St-Germain, raspberry, and ginger topped with prosecco.) Cozy up to the bar before things get a bit crowded here, and know that you’re setting yourself up for success. (Success being a great time.) 

Jeff Marini

ROOF on theWit

Courtesy of ROOF on theWit

Located at the top of theWit hotel in the Loop on the 27th floor, this beautiful bar has floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass roof that give you uncompromised skyline views. If you go before sundown, you’ll get to see the beautiful interior sparkle that much more — at night, the place gets livelier, often with rotating DJs and live music sets, and they’ll open up the space to create more room to dance. You can go ahead and order bottle service of Grey Goose for a good time, or order from a bevy of cocktails, including the Breaking News with Wolf Spritzer that features Grey Goose, blueberry-infused St-Germain, grapefruit shrub, pamplemousse La Croix, and sparkling wine. Make sure to check out the calendar before heading there (they do host events), make a reservation, or go on the early side to pick the best place to perch. 

Courtesy of ROOF on theWit

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