It’s patio season in Chicago!
Summer’s here and that means it’s time for some top-notch al-fresco dining! Chicago doesn’t play around when it comes to patio season. Come rain or shine, if a patio is open somewhere in the Windy City, guaranteed Chicagoans are out there clinking drinks.
There are so many amazing options in our city, from kicking back on a riverside oasis in the center to taking in views of the Chicago skyline from a multi-tiered patio on the outskirts. We’ve rounded up our favorite patios all over the city to give you the ultimate patio list so have a scroll through and check our map at the bottom to see which patio or beer garden is closest to you!
1. Beatnik & Beatnik on the River – The Loop & West Town
There are few restaurant patios in Chicago as stylish as what’s offered at Beatnik. Inspired by writers and artists of the 1950s and 60s Beat Generation, Beatnik’s two equally elegant locations are consequently defined by dazzling international decor with bright tiles, hundreds of plants, and a lively bohemian vibe.
You can kick back on their riverside location known as Beatnik on the River where colorful cushions, fringe-lined umbrellas, and leafy decorations offer an oasis with breathtaking riverfront views.
Alternatively, the West Town location boasts an open-air courtyard with a fully retractable roof that is usually swamped in natural light. This exotic escape is also defined by its opulent old-world design. Prismatic patterned tiles and an abundance of botanical ornamentation give it a unique feel that you won’t find anywhere else in Chicago while an eclectic menu offers drinks and dishes from around the globe.
Location: 180 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago / 1604 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
2. Recess – West Loop
You simply can’t round up the city’s best patios and not mention Recess. Nestled within 30 mural-covered shipping containers on a West Loop corner, Recess is home to a cozy amalgamation of bars, food stands, and cabana houses within a 14,500 -square-foot space that holds the title of the largest patio in Chicago.
The multi-level outdoor escape is pretty much a grown-up playground with plenty of seating options all over the sprawling patio. The stacked shipping containers give it an awesome reclaimed industrial vibe while the fusion of plant life and vibrant murals offer a unique and trendy summer hideout.
They have a variety of fun garden games like giant Jenga and Connect 4 as well as a wide-ranging menu complete with elevated gastropub options and crafted cocktails from Alec Pignotti’s beverage program.
Location: 838 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60642
3. The Patio at Café Brauer – Lincoln Park
If you’re looking for a calm patio away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s core, Lincoln Park Zoo provides a cozy and convenient patio beside the historic Café Brauer, a 1908 Prairie School-style landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of Chicago’s most scenic al fresco restaurants and bars, The Patio at Café Brauer is located just south of the main Lincoln Park Zoo grounds and just a short walk to the picturesque “Honeycomb” People’s Gas Pavilion. Not only does this patio offer waterside views overlooking the pond at the Nature Boardwalk with the glittering Chicago skyline in the backdrop, but you will also find yourself surrounded by the beautifully restored native ecosystem.
An excellent place for a summer waterside drink and dog-friendly to boot, The Patio at Café Brauer, has live music from 5 pm to 7 pm on Wednesdays & Thursdays to complete an extraordinary array of reasons to hit up their patio.
Location: 2021 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614
4. Pilsen Yards – Pilsen
Pilsen Yard’s bright, big, and pragmatic patio has quickly garnered a wealth of loyal customers having only opened at the start of last year.
The Pilsen Yards website describes itself as “a bar-centric and music-driven hangout in the heart of Pilsen with an open-air vibe and one of the best patios in the city”. You certainly can’t argue with the latter.
Radiant-heated cement floor, overhead heaters, and fire pits make it a fantastic patio all year round but it’s the clear roof, exposed wooden beams, low glowing lights, and lines of leafy plants that make it such a brilliant summer hideout. Add to that the top-notch Latin street food courtesy of Armando Gonzalez and a sensational bar program by renowned mixologist Lance Bowman and you’ve got yourself a recipe for the perfect patio experience.
Location: 1163 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
5. Trivoli Tavern – West Loop
Trivoli’s cobblestone patio has a charm to it you won’t find in many other corners of the city. Looking more at home in a European village than in our Midwestern metropolis, it offers something completely different from the rest of the patios in Chicago.
The overhanging string lights give the open-air space even more character while the nationally acclaimed Texas-style BBQ joint Green Street Smoked Meats provides some plush patio snacking potential.
Location: 114 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
6. Parlor Pizza Bar – Wicker Park & West Loop
Parlor Pizza actually has three locations including its River North spot but it’s in West Loop and Wicker Park where you’ll find two expansive and dog-friendly patios.
Both of these serve Neapolitan-inspired wood-fired pizzas baked in authentic Italian ovens as well TACOlatos for dessert if you don’t fancy diving into the notorious Parlor Pizza Dessert Dealer counter.
You’ll also find a unique and original J.C. Rivera “Bear Champ” mural at each patio providing the perfect place to snap some summer memories whilst you’re there.
Locations: 1824 W. Division St, Chicago, IL, 60622 / 108 N. Green St. Chicago, Illinois 60607
7. Pizzeria Portofino – River North
Talking of incredible pizza, Pizzeria Portofino’s riverfront terrace is another one of the coolest places you can eat a pizza in the Windy City.
The plush all-season terrace looks out onto the Chicago River offering breathtaking views of the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s Riverwalk.
With hand-stretched pizzas, artisanal pasta, grilled seafood, and coastal wines combined with a breezy European decor, the sun-drenched casual restaurant will instantly transport you to the paradise of the Italian Riviera.
With retractable sidewalls and a paneled roof, it’s a fantastic spot rain or shine.
Location: 317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
8. The Dandy Crown – River West
River West’s cocktail-focused hideout, The Dandy Crown, is another fairly young but impressively popular Chicago open-air patio. Opened at the end of 2019 by partners Julia Shell and Jamie Hale, the two-story neighborhood bar & restaurant is in fact home to two patios. On a second floor designed for overflow and private parties, guests will find a quaint rooftop patio deck, but it is the adjacent year-round courtyard patio that makes it on this list.
Complete with firepits and heaters for the more hostile months, the patio is equipped for all types of shenanigans. During summer the sun peaks through the patio’s several trees and shines on the scattering of tables and shares below while floral paintings add a chic yet laid-back feel to the courtyard’s exposed brick walls.
Location: 694 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
9. Diver at the Park – Wrigleyville
A stone’s throw from Wrigley Field Diver at the Park offers Cubs fans an idyllic beach-like escape with tropical décor and a menu of tacos, quesadillas, and margaritas. For those wanting to experience the charm of Mexico’s historic port city, Tulum, in one of Chicago’s liveliest neighborhoods, there is simply no place better.
Stepping out into a huge 200-person dog-friendly patio within the boutique baseball-themed Wheelhouse Hotel, you’ll be greeted with rustic limestone walls, bamboo furniture, and an abundance of leafy décor. Woven hanging chairs, hanging planters, macramé decorations, and olive trees channel that tranquil beachy vibe whilst a central tree sculpture and murals from JC Rivera give the ethereal bar a unique and trendy identity.
Location: 3475 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
10. Las Fuentes – Lincoln Park
Another Mexican-themed escape can be found in Lincoln Park at the colorful Las Fuentes restaurant. Known for its reliable Mexican food and margaritas, the restaurant’s secret weapon is an enchanting outdoor oasis.
Vibrant murals and luscious greenery surround a cascading fountain transporting you from the artificial fabric of Chicago to a blissful patio of Mexico. It’s another exotic hangout that attracts anything from dates to family dinners.
Location: 2558 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
11. Big Star – Wicker Park
While some of the aforementioned patios date back only a few years, longtime Chicagoans will be more than familiar with Wicker Park’s Big Star. The reliable taqueria has since opened a newer spot in Wrigleyville and will soon be opening a third restaurant in West Town dedicated to seafood but it will always be the Wicker Park patio that holds a place in our hearts.
Brimming with personality, it’s another great spot to enjoy authentic Mexican street food and fantastic margaritas from a comfortable and laid-back patio.
Location: 1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
12. Beatrix Fulton Market – West Loop
Beatrix is another Chicago staple with multiple locations. Since opening in 2013 they now have a small collection of well-located coffeehouses and restaurants in River North, Streeterville, Fulton Market, and Oak Brook. It’s the Fulton Market patio that we’re interested in, however. The perfect spot for a laid-back catch-up, the patio is simple, comfortable, and well situated.
For anybody meeting friends wanting a place that does a mix of things but guarantees a good spot for a vegan, Beatrix offers incredible breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with exceptional coffee and an extensive variety of vegan options.
Location: 834 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
13. District Brew Yards – West Loop
District Brew Yards is the nation’s first collective production brewery, pour-your-own beer hall, and shop combination all under the roof of a former warehouse. But it’s not about what’s under the roof that has us excited, it’s what’s outside.
District Brew Yards’ patio is a guaranteed good time, with heaters, fire pits, prismatic murals, and ample space to accommodate numerous revelers making it an ideal spring and summer escape.
Location: 417 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
14. Pilot Project Brewing – Logan Square
Pilot Project Brewing is another place beer fanatics will find their own little paradise. Modeled after the music industry, Pilot serves as a launchpad for start-up breweries, offering assistance with fine-tuning recipes, production, business development, marketing, distribution, and more.
They are Chicago’s brewery incubator dedicated to the art of brewing and a community inspired by the craft. Inside you’ll find 24 different taps to make your perfect flight of beer while outside you’ll find a multitude of spacious picnic tables and umbrellas that make up their fantastic beer garden.
Location: 2140 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
15. Hopleaf – Andersonville
While there are ample umbrellas providing shade in Pilot Project Brewing’s beer garden, on Hopleaf’s back patio in Andersonville sprawling trees will provide you with adequate cover and a sense of garden calm. The Belgian bar has a wonderfully serene patio with ivy flowing up the walls and branches sprouting overhead in every which way.
It’s another Chicago staple that has been providing Chicagoans with both a mecca for craft beer fans and a relaxed convivial neighborhood patio since 1992.
Priding itself on being an adults-only venue open for 365 days a year you can always rely on H0pleaf for a great place to kick back with a carefully selected, ever-changing menu of beers from 68 taps and many more bottled options as well as fine wines, spirits, cider, and cocktails.
Location: 5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
16. The Warbler – Lincoln Square
Lincoln Square’s The Warbler, is another trendy and vibrant spot that fuses sprawling foliage and artsy murals to give us a solid patio option with 125 seats and an outdoor bar.
According to The Warbler website, it is named after the Midwestern-migrating bird known for congregating in large groups to chatter and socialize which is a pertinent reference to the “sun-filled gathering place for both locals and visitors” that the Warbler is.
This veggie-heavy joint serves all manner of seasonal American fare from Korean-style boneless chicken wings to butternut squash falafel with braised kale courtesy of Chef Ken Carter’s skill with elevated comfort food.
Location: 4535 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
17. Frontier – Noble Square
Located on the outskirts of West Town, just off Milwaukee Avenue, Frontier is a little journey away from the beating heart of Chicago but once you’ve kicked back with a cold beer and taken in your surroundings, we guarantee you you’ll be coming back for more.
A stylish beer garden kitted out with a huge fireplace gives the outdoor space a comfortable lodge-style vibe with logs of wood tucked in every nook and cranny and exposed beams hanging overhead.
There are some brilliant meat and seafood options you can enjoy on Frontier’s indoor-outdoor terrace, all of which we’d struggle to do justice in a few words. Wagyu beef ribs, alligator parmigiana, and trays of char-grilled oysters are some such standout options but it is the unique “Whole Animal Experience” where you and your party are served a whole animal of your choosing which is the menu’s most interesting concept.
Location: 1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
18. Homestead on the Roof – West Town
A little further away from the center still and you’ll find Homestead on the Roof. Despite its name, it isn’t anything like the luxurious riverfront rooftops that Chicago is known for. Rather it’s a humble 85-seat raised patio that hugs a 1,000-square-foot garden and it’s this feature that makes it one of our favorite hideouts. There you can observe the huge garden that produces herbs and flora used in chef Bryan Collante’s rotating seasonal menu.
Homestead on the Roof is one of those hidden gems you could easily go years living in Chicago and never know about. You have to go through Roots Handmade Pizza in West Town to reach Homestead on the Roof located above.
It feels so far removed from the usual Windy City outdoor dining experiences entering the quiet rooftop garden overflowing with beautiful flowers that it is such a uniquely wonderful breath of fresh air.
Two massive vertical hanging gardens and a decorative outdoor fireplace even further compliment this charming and drastically decorated secret outdoor hideout.
Location: 1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
19. The Dawson – River West
Often identified as one of Chicago’s largest and most popular patios, you’ll frequently hear of The Dawson’s River West patio while investigating the best patios in Chicago.
Here sprawling ivy and an abundance of botanical life blend with brick, wood, and glass to create a stylish but verdant outdoor retreat.
With dedicated brunch, dinner, and cocktail menus you can feast any time of the week while a Happy Hour from 4 to 6 from Tuesday to Friday and an “Endless Summer” events schedule provides even more temptation to head down to The Dawson.
Location: 730 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
20. The Duck Inn – Bridgeport
Bridgeport’s Duck Inn is yet another staple that has earned itself a respectable position among Chicago’s best patios and outdoor spaces. Somewhat of a hidden gem, it’s not as expansive as Chicago’s other all-star patios but the intimate tree-lined garden is the perfect secluded spot for some open-air relaxation.
From its beloved Backyard Pizza Night Wednesdays to the sublime Sunday Lunches, there is a reason to head down to the Duck Inn’s secluded backyard every day of the week and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the Chicago-style Duck Inn dog, their signature Rotisserie Duck or their extraordinary grilled octopus.
Location: 2701 S Eleanor St, Chicago, IL 60608
21. Broken Barrel Bar – Lincoln Park/Lakeview
Walking out into the Broken Barrel Bar’s 2000-square-foot beer garden you’ll know you’ve found yourself a good spot for all kinds of activities. Their outdoor space is cool, clean, and cheerful. Various types of bar seating, booth seating and picnic tables cater to whatever it is you’re there for. Date? Check. Family outing? Check. Fun with friends? Check.
If you’re wanting to watch sports somewhere that isn’t over sports-centric Broken Barrel Bar has you covered. Equally, if you’re wanting to play games like Giant Jenga the outdoor space is full of fun activities for all ages and there is even a Broken Barrel Graffiti Wall for guests to try out the inner artist in them and leave their mark.
Award-winning inventive cuisine and some mouth-watering house-smoked meats make this also an excellent choice for an open-air lunch, brunch, or dinner.
Location: 2548 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
22. Piccolo Sogno – River West
One of the classiest patios in the city, and the perfect place to take a date, has to be River West’s Piccolo Sogno. This Italian oasis is the perfect backdrop for a totally romantic evening complete with ivy-covered walls, twinkling lights, and delicious Italian food and wine.
From seafood options like mussels, shrimp, clams, and calamari to incredible pizzas with the finest prosciutto di Parma pizza, the options here are masterfully made classics for an extravagant yet effortless experience. The all-Italian wine list also features 400+ wine selections at affordable prices so you can enjoy this Italian escape without breaking the bank.
Location: 464 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642
23. Rose Mary – West Loop
Across the Adriatic sea from Italy lies Croatia and it is here Rose Mary and its wonderful patio in the heart of Fulton Market finds its inspiration. Featuring wooden tables topped with large blue and white striped umbrellas, you’ll find another leafy and ambient outdoor space that will take you from the urban jungle to the calm cadence of the Mediterranean.
The patio isn’t enormous, but if you wait for a spot you won’t regret it. The seasonal menu is full of rustic yet refined dishes that encapsulate what Flamm has coined “Adriatic drinking food.”
Location: 932 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607
24. Volo Wine Bar – Roscoe Village
Another place you’re able to enjoy an exceptional array of wines from the comfort of a lavish patio is at Volo Restaurant Wine Bar in Roscoe Village. This cozy but elegant hole-in-the-wall features streetside tables but also a 50-person hidden garden patio with private cabanas and bistro table seating.
Greenery, hanging lanterns, a fountain, and urban vintage charm make this a great place to slurp oysters and sip away at your chosen wine.
Location: 2008 W Roscoe St, Chicago, IL 60618
25. River Roast – River North
This gorgeous riverside enclave is perfect for cozying up while enjoying some soul-warming bites. As the name suggests, River Roast offers a New American take on British classics with its wide variety of meat, fish, and veggies that are roasted and carved tableside.
A perfect post-work patio string lights line the veranda adding to the city’s glow while boats bob blissfully past. If you choose to go for brunch on the weekends, you’ll also be able to catch a live show by some of Chicago’s finest Blues musicians!
Location: 315 N La Salle St, Chicago, IL 60654
26. Athena – Greektown
Athena in Greektown offers another trip down the Adriatic coast to an expansive outdoor patio inspired by the ancient Greek capital. Thanks to a retractable roof the patio is open year-round rain or shine.
If you’re a sucker for kebabs, spanakopita, dolmades, gyros, and all that good stuff we have the Hellenic world to thank for, this is the patio for you.
Location: 212 S Halsted St #1, Chicago, IL 60661
27. Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods – Wicker Park
For those who savor the soul-warmin’ strength of South comfort foods, Wicker Park’s Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods is the place to go. Channeling the free-spirited vitality of New Orleans, the Ina Mae Tavern wrap-around patio has limited space but it’s a hell of a good time.
You could do a lot worse than an afternoon tucking into Chef Brian Jupiter’s creative fare with the sun on your face. From mouth-watering Po Boys to fried chicken and pancakes, the Southern comfort foods don’t come much better. With Sno-Balls, house punches, and a selection of sensation cocktails the beverage menu will also exceed your expectations.
Location: 1415 N Wood St, Chicago, IL 60622
28. Virtue Restaurant – Hyde Park
Another place you’ll find some exquisite Southern American flavors is at Virtue Restaurant. One of Hyde Park’s most popular spots, the cozy sidewalk patio offers the perfect open-air space to enjoy an incredible menu courtesy of chef-owner and James Beard Great Lakes 2022 winner Erick Williams.
Location: 1462 E 53rd St., Chicago, IL 60615
29. The Perch – Wicker Park
Wicker Park’s The Perch is a fantastic place to enjoy bites and brews in the open air. The full-service restaurant and bar also has an onsite brewery that cooks up a superb selection of beers.
The iconic industrial building opens onto a charming exposed brick patio. Statues and string lights give it the feel of an elegant garden in spring and summer while greenhouse-type covering and heaters provide warmth when the nights get chilly.
Location: 1932 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
30. Ranalli’s – Lincoln Park
A stone’s throw from Lincoln Park Zoo lies Ranalli’s and its lively sidewalk patio. If the sun is shining you can bet it’ll be abuzz with people.
Burrata, bruschetta, and some wonderful thin-crust pizzas, if it’s those kinds of Italian classics that tickle your taste buds, Ranalli’s is a great patio choice for you.
Location: 1925 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
31. Truth Italian Restaurant – Bronzeville
This Black woman-owned restaurant, Truth Italian, is one of the most underrated Italian spots in Chicago. Owned by celebrity stylist Peytyn Willborn and helmed by talented chef Larry Pierce, this Bronzeville treasure boasts both an indoor and outdoor bistro, with an elegant art deco design.
You’ll find a breakfast menu available all day from 8 am to 5 pm and a lunch menu available from noon until close at 5 pm.
The spacious patio offers the perfect place to enjoy a sophisticated experience, great food, and reasonable prices in the heart of the historic Bronzeville neighborhood.
Location: 56 E Pershing Rd, Chicago, IL 60653
32. Parson’s Chicken & Fish – Multiple Locations
If you’ve lived through a few patio seasons in Chicago you’re undoubtedly aware of Parson’s Chicken & Fish. Now boasting four locations in Logan Square, Lincoln Park, West Town, and now Andersonville too, their dog-friendly patios in each and every spot are always reliable.
The red-striped umbrellas of Parson’s are, for many, synonymous with summer days spent sipping negroni slushies and tucking into a chicken sandwich or two. Though there are more than enough options for anybody not enticed by those two mainstays.
The original huge patio in Logan Square would be our top choice. Looking onto the greenery of N Humboldt Boulevard, it offers a slightly better summer experience.
Locations: All Chicago locations can be found here.
[Featured image of Diver at the Park in Wrigleyville]