If you have ever lived in Chicago for more than a few months, one thing you know you need to do before you move out of town is to enjoy a day (or night) in one of Chicago's best rooftops. This is because Chicago, as we locals like to say, has two seasons: Winter and Construction. Laughs aside, our summer is woefully short. We may have three months of good weather and that's it. And until recently, Chicago wasn't known for rooftop bars. In fact it's only been in the last few years that there's been a thankful proliferation of rooftop venues. And now (smiles) there are many good ones to choose from. But since we can't choose them all, we'll pick our favorite rooftop bars in the heart of Chicago nightlife, River North. Sit back, relax, and see (and read) where your next outing will be in the coming summer months!
Apogee Lounge, 2 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654
Apogee Lounge features craft cocktails, good music, and amazing panoramic views of Chicago. It is located at the top of Dana Hotel in the heart of River North. This is our favorite cocktail bar in Chicago for the following reasons; great view, ambience, music, creative cocktails, good service and overall decor. Again the view is incredible and there's an outdoor seating area with heat (during cooler months). The vibe is everything! The decor is upscale, trendy, and intimate with breathtaking views from their swanky outdoor patio.
I|O Godfrey Rooftop Lounge, 127 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654
The I|O Godfrey Rooftop Lounge is a 15,000 square foot venue on the fourth floor of the Godfrey Hotel. But don't let the huge size fool you. The design is perfectly done to give you a great view of the city to the south of River North and downtown Chicago. It has a retractable roof, a video wall, a fire pit, and a well-dressed crowd ready to dance to the wee night hours. This is the place where you want to wear your sexy summer outfit, drink a crisp proseco and thank God it's summer time in Chicago.
Celeste, 111 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654
Celeste is located in the raucous street of Hubbard Street in River North. But if you're looking for a "Garden of Eden" among these bars on Hubbard, then Celeste is the place to be. Stylish and charming, the decor reminds you of a proper English garden, where during the day a cup of tea may seem more appropriate. At night, however, it's full of swanky, well-dressed crowd, slightly older than its louder neighbors. Sit on their comfy chairs and enjoy the summer though you're not really there for the view. You have to climb up three floors to get to Celeste but take your time because the first three floors are more lounges for you to explore and sip a glass of wine in between.
Joy District, 112 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654
If you like a party atmosphere, hip hop to a young crowd, and enjoy the nice breeze, then Joy District is the spot for you. Located across from Celeste and at the epicenter of River North nightlife, Joy District will be the club experience you seek. Becuse of its location, do expect long lines at night time. Best best is to go there early during the day to avoid the lines if you want to partake more of the rooftop experience than the clubbing experience.
Upstairs at The Gwen, 521 N Rush St, 5th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Located next to the Magnificent Mile, Upstairs at The Gwen is a shopping break you won't mind taking. The Upstairs at The Gwen is in a fancy hotel and has a swanky bar that probably looks like it belongs in Manhattan. Enjoy a nice drink and people watch because you never know who's going to show up. You'll feel like you're one of the tourists but it's ok, who's judging?