Best Mixologist Bars In Chicago

July 2, 2015 7:00 AM

(Photo Credit: Edin Laurin/

Tired of rum and cokes, or gin and tonics? You may find versions of those classic cocktails at these bars, but you’ll find a whole lot more—with more depth, flavor, and interesting combinations of ingredients —in these bars helmed by some of the best mixologists not only in the city, but the country too. Here the cocktails aren’t just something to drink; they’re something to be savored.
(Photo Credit: Edin Laurin/

(Photo Credit: Edin Laurin/

The Violet Hour
1520 N.Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1500

A discussion of the best cocktails in Chicago is never complete without mention of the Wicker Park bar that started the creative cocktail movement in The Windy City. Whether you’re a gin gal or a whisky man, Violet Hour offers some of the most creative combinations in the city, and all are sure to surprise your palate, and give you that buzz you’re looking for. These are cocktails at their finest, and as such, it’s an elegant experience… and they don’t take reservations. So be sure to arrive early—and stay late. The bar’s open until 3 a.m. on Saturdays, and 2 a.m. the rest of the week.

3201 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-9700

This restaurant and bar in Logan Square has received awards and attention for its food, but is also known and regaled for its gin-infused drinks, designed by mixologist and co-owner Danny Shapiro. All cocktails are seasonally inspired, and all are priced at an affordable $8 a pop. They also pair well with the small plates carefully crafted by Chef Mickey Neely. And that goes for dinner service as well as brunch.

(Photo Credit: The Aviary)

(Photo Credit: The Aviary)

The Aviary
955 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-0868

Owned and operated by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, you know you’re in for a treat when you step into this bar. The Fulton Market bar does offer small bites of delicious food, but at its heart, it’s all about the well-crafted cocktail here. In fact, The Aviary prides itself on treating the cocktails as Achatz treats food; they use locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Want an even more exclusive experience? Get an invitation—or book a private party—in the basement speakeasy.

Related: Most Creative Cocktails In Chicago

Sable Kitchen & Bar
Hotel Palomar
505 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 755-9704

Led by bartender John Stanton, the cocktails here are exceptional. That’s in part due to the fact they they make their syrups, tinctures, bitters, and infusions in house. But it’s also due in part to the ingredients used—many are locally sourced—to craft these classic cocktails with a modern twist, from the green pepper cocktail to the gin and tonic. With its downtown location, it’s definitely a go-to spot after work. Can’t decide among the many unique options? Just talk to your server about what you’re looking for, and they’ll happily guide you in the right direction.

Joie de Vine
1744 W. Balmoral Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 989-6846

The name of this Andersonville bar may imply it’s a wine bar, and it is, but it’s also an astonishingly good place for a mixed drink. One might even say they don’t have any house or well drinks, because everything here is top notch, and totally unexpected. That’s because they don’t have a cocktail menu per se. Rather, describe the kind of flavors you like in your drink, and the masters behind the bar will concoct your own personal, and perfect, cocktail.

Related: Best Frozen Cocktails In Chicago

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at

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