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5 alfresco group dining hot spots

Dining outdoors is one of the biggest perks of visiting Chicago in the spring or summer. Restaurants across the city open up their beautiful patios and rooftops to savor Chicago’s warm weather. Whether it’s lunch in Millennium Park or dinner on the lakefront, be sure to book a date for your group to dine alfresco in Chicago. Here are five hot spots to get you started.

Double Clutch Brewing Company

Park Grill at Millennium Park ©Adam Alexander Photography
The Plaza at Park Grill ©Adam Alexander Photography
Plan a group outing with drinks and appetizers at Double Clutch Brewing, located along Michigan Avenue at the scenic gateway to Millennium Park. Hang out on the spacious outdoor patio, one of the largest in the city, and take in the glorious downtown city skyline. Double Clutch is part of Millennium Hall, which also offers the nearby Napolita Pizzeria and Wine Bar. Afterwards, make time to snap a group shot in front of the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture (affectionately called “The Bean” by locals) and view the dazzling Crown Fountain.

River Roast

River Roast Chicago
©River Roast

This popular River North eatery is known for its dramatic river and city views, as well as its contemporary American cuisine created by two top chefs: James Beard Award winner Tony Mantuano and Cedric Hogan. River Roast sits on the Chicago River, serving up meat (including whole pig and leg of lamb), fish, and veggies that are roasted and carved tableside. Soak in the panoramic river view on the huge, breezy patio. And catch some of Chicago’s best blues performers during the weekend Blues Brunch, held from 12 – 3 p.m.

Shore Club

©Shore Club
©Shore Club

The seasonal Shore Club (open May-October) is located right on popular North Avenue Beach. The luxe resort-inspired lakefront dining destination features the casual open-air Patio, which showcases rotating exhibitions by local artists; the upscale Restaurant, with a Mediterranean-inspired menu and floor-to-ceiling windows boasting sweeping Lake Michigan views; and the semi-private Oasis, where beachfront cabanas include tableside service of cocktails and small plates for sharing.

The Lakefront Restaurant at Theater on the Lake

The Lakefront Restaurant at Theater on the Lake
©The Lakefront Restaurant

The Lakefront Restaurant, part of the Theater on the Lake, is Chicago’s only year-round lakefront restaurant. The 125-seat farm-centric restaurant can host private dinners, and features the seasonal 80-seat Skyline Patio with breathtaking Lake Michigan and skyline views. The year-round Theater on the Lake, which has been hosting off-Loop shows for 65 years, includes a 330-seat main theatre. The building dates back to 1920, and was designed by Prairie School architect Dwight H. Perkins, who also designed Lincoln Park Zoo’s Café Brauer and the nearby North Pond restaurant.

Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern

The two-story Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern, named for legendary Chicago Cubs sportscaster Jack Brickhouse, is located in the Wrigleyville neighborhood next to Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field. The lively eatery features four bars and two terraces with views of the historic Wrigley Field baseball stadium. Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern offers both indoor and outdoor private and semi-private spaces for parties as small as 20 people, and can create custom menus with casual fare like hot fried chicken sliders and Greek salad.

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