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5 Alfresco Group Dining Hot Spots

Dine outdoors with your group on a sprawling downtown Chicago patio or a deck with a dazzling water view.

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 welcome 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.

THE PLAZA AT PARK GRILL

Park Grill at Millennium Park ©Adam Alexander Photography

Plan a group lunch or dinner at The Plaza at Park Grill, located along Michigan Avenue at the scenic gateway to Millennium Park, Chicago’s vibrant playground for the arts. Dine on Park Grill’s outdoor patio, which is one of the largest in the city (open May-October), listen to live music and take in the glorious downtown city skyline. Park Grill can provide a special group menu of its contemporary American cuisine for parties of 25 or more. 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

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 Executive Chef John 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 11am-2:30pm.

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/THEATER ON THE LAKE

The Lakefront Restaurant at Theater on the Lake

Acclaimed Chicago chef Cleetus Friedman helms The Lakefront Restaurant, part of the newly revamped Theater on the Lake. 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 theater (productions will begin in summer 2018). 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

©Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern

The two-story Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern, named for legendary Chicago Cubs sportscaster Jack Brickhouse, is located in the Wrigleyville neighborhood at The Park at Wrigley entertainment complex. 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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