Time Out Market Chicago
Photo by Jack Li

Group-friendly restaurants

Looking for a group-friendly restaurant in Chicago? There are plenty to choose from, with choices ranging from a giant new food hall in the West Loop to dim sum in Chinatown. And if you visit during Chicago Restaurant Week, held Jan. 24 – Feb. 9, your group will have the chance to sample specially priced prix fixe menus from nearly 400 restaurants throughout the city and nearby suburbs. Check out our suggestions for great group dining in Chicago.

Time Out Market Chicago
Photo by Jack Li

You’re sure to find something to please everyone’s taste at the massive new Time Out Market Chicago in the West Loop’s hot Fulton Market. The three-story food hall seats 600 and features 18 vendors, some of which are helmed by Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning chefs. There are also multiple bars serving craft cocktails from acclaimed local bartenders, event and demonstration spaces, and a rooftop deck. Affordable eats include gourmet hot dogs from Duck Inn Dogs, fried chicken at Split-Rail, and handmade pasta by Tortello.

Chicago is home to two Lucky Strike Social locations. The two-story Lucky Strike Social at Wrigleyville features eight bowling lanes, more than 100 electronic games, billiards, ping-pong, and awesome views of Wrigley Field. Lucky Strike Social at Streeterville offers even more gaming, including its new Steel Tip Lounge that features state-of-the-art dart boards with automatic scoring in five suites. Both locations offer private party rooms, gastropub fare (including wings and sliders), and craft cocktails.

Lips Drag Show
Photo courtesy of Kyle Flubacker

Lips Chicago is the first Midwest outpost of the dazzling drag show-and-dinner venue. The candy-colored South Loop location features a big, sparkling stage and roomy aisles for the glamorous drag queens to sashay down. The menu includes bites with sassy names like Batty Davis elote corn fritters and Vivian Dejour lobster ravioli. And don’t miss the Sunday Dragalicious Gospel Brunch, which includes unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys. Plan a fabulous drag dinner or diva cocktail party for your group.

The over-the-top Barton G. The Restaurant in River North promises guests a unique experiential dining experience. The larger-than-life dishes have a dramatic Cirque du Soleil quality to them (witness the whole roasted duck served in a giant birdcage featuring a video of dancing ducks). Desserts include a Marie Antoinette head topped with a towering cotton candy pompadour and surrounded by yummy cupcakes. The two-level eatery features a second floor reserved for private parties of 12 or more.

Head to Offshore Rooftop & Bar at Navy Pier, deemed the largest rooftop bar in the world by Guinness World Records. The glass-enclosed 36,000-square-foot, all-seasons venue offers stunning views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. The chic space includes a bar and restaurant (serving everything from oyster shooters to smoked pork spare ribs), terraces with cozy fire pits, and an entertainment and gaming area. Multiple large gathering spaces, both indoors and out, are perfect for groups of 12 and up.

In Chinatown, try the acclaimed MingHin Cuisine, named a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant four years in a row. A great option for groups is the Hong Kong-style dim sum, which allows for tastes of a number of authentic dishes. From delicate shrimp dumplings and pot stickers to beef brisket with rice noodles, your group will love the array of choices. Book one of the VIP rooms, decorated with Chinese artwork and furniture, for a private dining experience for groups of six or more.

Take a culinary trip to Spain at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, a longtime Lincoln Park staple known for its extensive menu of tapas. The menu is made to share, encouraging the sampling of various tapas and pintxos (including chorizo-wrapped Medjool dates and grilled squid) and its popular Valencian paella. Pair your meal with fruity sangria, including classic red and white peach versions. Parties of 10 or more can be accommodated in the restaurant’s six charming private and semi-private spaces, named for different cities in Spain.

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