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14 Spots to Grab a Summer Cocktail in Chicago

The most refreshing sips at 14 local, Black-owned bars and restaurants.

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

Summer in Chicago is like no other season — after all, it’s the reward after surviving the city’s winters. And though this summer is unlike any other in recent history, it doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate the season with a cocktail in hand.

Whether you’re craving something light like a mule, something strong like a rum punch, or an icy treat (BACARDÍ-spiked Sno-Ball, anyone?), these standout bars and restaurants from all over the city will have you saying cheers in no time. From a blues club to Jamaican hot spots to neighborhood pubs, here are some places to try a new cocktail in the Windy City. And for those who are looking to spend their money more mindfully right now, this guide to Chicago’s best summer cocktail spots features all local, Black-owned businesses.

A number of Chicago restaurants have resumed dine-in service at 25 percent capacity. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit chicago.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Virtue Restaurant

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Located in Hyde Park, this Southern American restaurant by owner and chef Erick Williams is warm and inviting. Though it’s best known for its dining, Virtue’s patio is also open for cocktails, and you’ll want to linger with a cocktail like the Caribbean Dream — BACARDÍ Superior Rum, coconut, pineapple, thyme, and star anise. You can also order cocktails for delivery, like a red rum punch meant for two. Pair it with the half chicken or an order of the short ribs for an unforgettable meal at home.

Lottie's Pub

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This Bucktown neighborhood bar is the perfect place to hang out with friends, grab a drink, and have an order of tater tots and a burger. Featured on Chicago Fire as “Molly’s,” this place will definitely make you feel like a regular soon enough, and their to-go bottle service is super affordable and something to check out—with a bottle (like BACARDÍ) and mixer that’ll have you hosting your own happy hour. 

Frontier

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Known for its whole animal feasts, this place was a James Beard semi-finalist — so you know the food is good — and a great patio bar to boot. (Pro tip: Try the Fish House Punch, made with D’USSÉ Cognac, BACARDÍ Añejo Cuatro, lemon, and apricot.) With its Wild West lodge feel, it’s perfect for dinner to late-night hangouts, or after-work drinks with friends that turn into dinnertime revelry. 

Courtesy of Frontier

Ja' Grill Hyde Park

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This Jamaican spot serves things spicy and upbeat. With their signature Ja’ Rum Punch featuring BACARDÍ Superior, you’ll be feeling the island spirit one way or another. They also have an extensive rum list organized by region, with a slew of cocktails that you can enjoy on the patio.

Courtesy of Ja’ Grill

Mr. Brown's Lounge

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Authentic Jamaican food, and plenty of it, can be found here at this West Town restaurant including family meals with a protein, sides, cabbage, and (of course) plantains. As for the drinks? They got ‘em. Try the Island Rum Punch, a mix of Jamaican and BACARDÍ Superior rum, orange liqueur, ginger, and lime. Don’t miss out on the patio for summer living, or order up cocktails and Jamaican jerk wings for delivery or takeout.

Courtesy of Mr. Brown’s Lounge

Persona

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This lounge in the Loop has great happy hour specials that last from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a late-night groove. This intimate lounge will make you feel like you’re a part of the party — but for now, the party is all outdoor seating, with $6 cocktails, bites from Taylor’s Tacos, and specials on GREY GOOSE or D’USSÉ bottle service.

Courtesy of Persona

Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

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Enjoy New Orleans-inspired cuisine by James Beard semi-finalist Brian Jupiter (of Frontier), who brings his hometown cooking to the Windy City, and the heart of Wicker Park. The patio is open, where you can enjoy frozen drinks and Sno-Balls (an icy treat spiked with BACARDÍ, if you like, and available via take-out window) along with a full patio menu of po’boys and seafood towers. And seriously, don’t miss out on the Sno-Balls — they’re a summer dream come true.  

Courtesy of Ina Mae

Sage Room Chicago

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Get your Southern fix in the South Loop at the Sage Room. With Southern-style classics and a lounge feel, this revamped space — with new outdoor seating — is a great place to enjoy a drink or two. Order the Sage Punch, made with D’USSÉ Cognac, Triple Sec, and fruit juices for some seriously good feels. 

Raven's Place

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A multi-level lounge that’s perfect for brunch and happy hours (GREY GOOSE and soda, perhaps?), this place features karaoke, arcade games, and more to keep the party going. Make sure you head here with a group of friends—it’s better that way.

Geno's Place

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This restaurant (and catering!) is known for its soul food, and will make you want to order pretty much everything on the menu, including the catfish and short ribs. Make sure to try the peach cobbler, too — even better, wash it down with a D’USSÉ Lemonade. The patio is back open now for social-distanced drinks and dining, too.

Jerk Villa Bar & Grill

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Grab some Jamaican grub and eat to your heart’s content at Jerk Villa. With a lounge-like atmosphere and a full bar, this space is perfect for after work decompression or starting out a weekend with friends. And no jerk dinner would be complete without a rum punch or D’USSÉ Lemonade on the side.

President's Lounge

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Grab a beer or cocktail (can’t go wrong with a GREY GOOSE Cranberry), play some darts, watch some games, and just chill out at this unfussy local spot on 75th. Nights can feature DJs playing house music, making it the perfect place to catch up with friends and turn it into a night — a true hidden gem. 

Phlavz Bar & Grille

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This spot is great for after-work cocktails, and features authentic jerk — try the tacos or the chicken sandwich — and a ton of beverages to choose from, like the house special D’USSÉ Lemonade. The restaurant is now open for window and patio dining, just in time for warm weather.

Frances Cocktail Lounge

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Frances Cocktail Lounge is a South Side institution — it’s been around for 53 years, and still going strong. It’s a local favorite for both its commitment to the community, and its laid-back atmosphere. Happy hours are popular here, with daily specials, and a D’USSÉ Lemonade is the perfect way to unwind.

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

Virtue Restaurant

Located in Hyde Park, this Southern American restaurant by owner and chef Erick Williams is warm and inviting. Though it’s best known for its dining, Virtue’s patio is also open for cocktails, and you’ll want to linger with a cocktail like the Caribbean Dream — BACARDÍ Superior Rum, coconut, pineapple, thyme, and star anise. You can also order cocktails for delivery, like a red rum punch meant for two. Pair it with the half chicken or an order of the short ribs for an unforgettable meal at home.

Lottie's Pub

This Bucktown neighborhood bar is the perfect place to hang out with friends, grab a drink, and have an order of tater tots and a burger. Featured on Chicago Fire as “Molly’s,” this place will definitely make you feel like a regular soon enough, and their to-go bottle service is super affordable and something to check out—with a bottle (like BACARDÍ) and mixer that’ll have you hosting your own happy hour. 

Frontier

Courtesy of Frontier

Known for its whole animal feasts, this place was a James Beard semi-finalist — so you know the food is good — and a great patio bar to boot. (Pro tip: Try the Fish House Punch, made with D’USSÉ Cognac, BACARDÍ Añejo Cuatro, lemon, and apricot.) With its Wild West lodge feel, it’s perfect for dinner to late-night hangouts, or after-work drinks with friends that turn into dinnertime revelry. 

Courtesy of Frontier

Ja' Grill Hyde Park

Courtesy of Ja’ Grill

This Jamaican spot serves things spicy and upbeat. With their signature Ja’ Rum Punch featuring BACARDÍ Superior, you’ll be feeling the island spirit one way or another. They also have an extensive rum list organized by region, with a slew of cocktails that you can enjoy on the patio.

Courtesy of Ja’ Grill

Mr. Brown's Lounge

Courtesy of Mr. Brown’s Lounge

Authentic Jamaican food, and plenty of it, can be found here at this West Town restaurant including family meals with a protein, sides, cabbage, and (of course) plantains. As for the drinks? They got ‘em. Try the Island Rum Punch, a mix of Jamaican and BACARDÍ Superior rum, orange liqueur, ginger, and lime. Don’t miss out on the patio for summer living, or order up cocktails and Jamaican jerk wings for delivery or takeout.

Courtesy of Mr. Brown’s Lounge

Persona

Courtesy of Persona

This lounge in the Loop has great happy hour specials that last from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a late-night groove. This intimate lounge will make you feel like you’re a part of the party — but for now, the party is all outdoor seating, with $6 cocktails, bites from Taylor’s Tacos, and specials on GREY GOOSE or D’USSÉ bottle service.

Courtesy of Persona

Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

Courtesy of Ina Mae

Enjoy New Orleans-inspired cuisine by James Beard semi-finalist Brian Jupiter (of Frontier), who brings his hometown cooking to the Windy City, and the heart of Wicker Park. The patio is open, where you can enjoy frozen drinks and Sno-Balls (an icy treat spiked with BACARDÍ, if you like, and available via take-out window) along with a full patio menu of po’boys and seafood towers. And seriously, don’t miss out on the Sno-Balls — they’re a summer dream come true.  

Courtesy of Ina Mae

Sage Room Chicago

Get your Southern fix in the South Loop at the Sage Room. With Southern-style classics and a lounge feel, this revamped space — with new outdoor seating — is a great place to enjoy a drink or two. Order the Sage Punch, made with D’USSÉ Cognac, Triple Sec, and fruit juices for some seriously good feels. 

Raven's Place

A multi-level lounge that’s perfect for brunch and happy hours (GREY GOOSE and soda, perhaps?), this place features karaoke, arcade games, and more to keep the party going. Make sure you head here with a group of friends—it’s better that way.

Geno's Place

This restaurant (and catering!) is known for its soul food, and will make you want to order pretty much everything on the menu, including the catfish and short ribs. Make sure to try the peach cobbler, too — even better, wash it down with a D’USSÉ Lemonade. The patio is back open now for social-distanced drinks and dining, too.

Jerk Villa Bar & Grill

Grab some Jamaican grub and eat to your heart’s content at Jerk Villa. With a lounge-like atmosphere and a full bar, this space is perfect for after work decompression or starting out a weekend with friends. And no jerk dinner would be complete without a rum punch or D’USSÉ Lemonade on the side.

President's Lounge

Grab a beer or cocktail (can’t go wrong with a GREY GOOSE Cranberry), play some darts, watch some games, and just chill out at this unfussy local spot on 75th. Nights can feature DJs playing house music, making it the perfect place to catch up with friends and turn it into a night — a true hidden gem. 

Phlavz Bar & Grille

This spot is great for after-work cocktails, and features authentic jerk — try the tacos or the chicken sandwich — and a ton of beverages to choose from, like the house special D’USSÉ Lemonade. The restaurant is now open for window and patio dining, just in time for warm weather.

Frances Cocktail Lounge

Frances Cocktail Lounge is a South Side institution — it’s been around for 53 years, and still going strong. It’s a local favorite for both its commitment to the community, and its laid-back atmosphere. Happy hours are popular here, with daily specials, and a D’USSÉ Lemonade is the perfect way to unwind.

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