Chicago has always been known for its creative touch with alcohol (especially during Prohibition), so it's no surprise the city has a flourishing culinary cocktail scene.
Drinks made from locally sourced ingredients and paired with the food menu are all the rage at places like M Lounge, The Violet Hour and Barrelhouse Flat, where mixologists stir up specialty drinks that will have your mouth watering for more.
The Drawing Room, recently voted "Cocktail Lounge of the Year" by Nightclub & Bar Magazine, will truly demonstrate how culinary cocktails are a work of art in Chicago. And you need not worry if you can't get a seat at the bar. The Drawing Room has custom-built bar carts to create your drink order at your table.
Also making headlines is the Aviary, the latest innovation from world-famous chef, Grant Achatz of Alinea and Next. One estimate has the Aviary serving 23 different flavors of ice, including mint, for a little extra flavor in every drink. Take advantage of the "Kitchen Table Experience" and enjoy 10 courses of alcohol with small plates in between.
Celebrity-favorite Paris Club has won crowds over with its breezy take on French café fare-from 50 affordable wines to bite-size croque-monsieur to escargot sold by the piece.
And jazzy stalwart Pops for Champagne has been pouring a list of 125 sparkling wines for more than three decades. Here's a tip: Musicians accompany the bubbles Sunday through Tuesday.
You'll find that some of the best hot spots include our very own Chicago hotels.
The Pump Room at PUBLIC Chicago is back with classic martinis once enjoyed by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart. Its revival also brings innovation with an impressive cocktail list from some of Chicago's most notable mixologists.
The Lounge at the JW Marriott shakes up the Chicago Board of Trade cocktail with Bombay Sapphire Gin, white grape juice and cucumber while the ROOF atop theWit Hotel and Vertigo Sky Lounge atop the dana hotel take cocktail hour to new heights. Or check out the commanding view of the Chicago River and skyline from below at Rebar, located in the Mezzanine Level of the Trump International Hotel & Tower.
JBar at the James Hotel and the über mod Crimson Lounge at Sax Chicago offer cool cocktails with DJ-provided soundtracks. Or enjoy the cozy and calm atmosphere of Bernard's at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago (formerly the Elysian Hotel). This 34-seat bar keeps with the hotel's 1920s, Coco Chanel-inspired aesthetic.
Yes, it's a burden of riches in Chicago, and finding something to do on any given night is effortless. As Sinatra sang in his paean to the city, it's "one town that won't let you down."