There are so many great outdoor patios in Chicago, not to mention a number of wine-driven restaurants and bars that offer a multitude of options over the standard house red and white. This is your guide to our favorite al fresco wine bars in Chicago. [more]
From sidewalk to riverwalk seating, a cobblestone hideaway to a backyard oasis — Chicago has your perfect perch to sip all spring and summer. Now is the perfect time to celebrate the change of the seasons (and weather!) by ditching winter coats and comfortably enjoying the great outdoors.
Give our Chicago wine bar bucket list a go, or check the calendar for great upcoming events just for wine enthusiasts, such as: Uncorked: Chicago Wine Festival on May 7; Andersonville Wine Walk, May 15; and Lincoln Park Wine Festival, May 21-22.
Bin 36 is an exciting new wine-driven restaurant in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. Their wine program boasts 50 different wines available by the taste, glass, flight, or bottle. But it's not just about the wine — Bin 36 also has an amazing menu of modern American dishes. Take your wine out on their patio — it's gorgeous! And look out for daily specials, of which there are many.
Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar
If you're the type of person who likes a low-key wine bar experience, you'll love Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar. Nestled away in a place where Lakeview meets Roscoe Village, it's not terribly close to downtown Chicago, but is easily accessible via the CTA Brown Line. As long as it's nice out, there are people happily enjoying a glass of wine and pizza on the patio!
LUSH Wine and Spirits
LUSH bills itself primarily as a wine discovery space, but once you've attended a free tasting (Sundays from 2-5pm), stick around and enjoy a full glass of wine with light snacks ("fermented milk products" and "cured pig parts") on their outdoor patio.
Volo Wine Bar
Hungry for more? Just a few blocks away from LUSH is Volo Restaurant Wine Bar, which combines affordable and boutique-style wines with small plates and other signature dishes. Double down on wine tastings? Sounds like the perfect afternoon plan to us!
City Winery Chicago Riverwalk
With a home base in the West Loop aka Restaurant Row, City Winery boasts a sprawling 33,000 square foot haven for wine lovers, complete with an charming patio. But the summer location on the new Riverwalk takes outdoor drinking to another level. City Winery Chicago Riverwalk is THE place to be. Find it on Marina Plaza on the south bank of the downtown Chicago River between Dearborn and State Streets — 11 W. Riverwalk South is the official address. The outdoor Wine Garden will have more standing room in its second year, and is open 11am-9pm daily (weather dependent), with free live music Thursdays to Sundays from 3-6pm.
Enolo Wine Cafe
Why not enjoy a glass of wine in the middle of the day, paired with a pasta or pizza dish? Enolo Wine Cafe is the perfect place to take a European-inspired lunch break in the heart of River North. Prefer your glass of red or white at night? No problem, they do dinner and appetizers, too!
RM Champagne Salon
RM Champagne Salon is perfect for the wine lover who's obsessed with bubbly. It's somewhat tucked away, but once you find it, you'll be treated to French bistro fare and great seafood options. Or you could skip the meal and focus on cheese and dessert if that's more your style! Both the inside dining area and patio offer a great atmosphere for indulgence.
Ampersand Wine Bar
Ampersand Wine Bar is a great wine bar in Chicago that very recently added outdoor seating. It's closed on Mondays, but come in any other day to sample wines from around the world (with flight specials on Wednesdays). Both the Executive Chef and Chef de Cuisine have decorated culinary pasts, including a Cutthroat Kitchen win. Better make plans to extend the drinks to dinner, too!
The best thing about this al fresco wine bar in Chicago? If you find something you like, you can take it home! That's right, Bar Pastoral is not just a wine bar, but also an artisanal market featuring cheeses, charcuterie, and wine of course. So enjoy a glass of your favorite varietal and pick up a gift for a friend in one fell swoop.
Situated conveniently on Michigan Avenue for tourists staying in the area is Eno Wine Room, a member of a casual wine bar chain. This particular location is located in the InterContinental hotel - perfect for meetings with business professionals. The patio is just now opening, so bring your wine glass outside and enjoy the beautiful architecture around you!
D.O.C. Wine Bar
Though D.O.C. Wine Bar's intimate interior makes for a romantic date night spot, it also shares a patio with it's sister restaurant Dunlays on Clark, on Wrightwood. Sunday, Monday, and Friday are the days to go — they offer some great specials for enjoying wine!
Are you ready for great weather and great wine? Which of these al fresco wine bars in Chicago are you most excited to check out? Let us know your thoughts and plans in the comments!
Image credits: City Winery Chicago Riverwalk, Bin 36, LUSH Wine Bar, Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar, Bar Pastoral, D.O.C. Wine Bar