The Violet Hour
1520 N.Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
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
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.
955 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
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
505 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
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.
1744 W. Balmoral Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
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.
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