Top Five Cocktail Bars in River North
River North is a utopia of delicious cocktails and clubs, so when you head out on a Saturday night the options can be overwhelming. Below are the top five cocktail bars in River North where you’re sure to enjoy the ambiance, the patrons, and most of all, the cocktails.
Gilt Bar is a great place to relax in their luminous and intimate setting, consume contemporary American dishes while sipping on a tasty cocktail. However, down their stairs and through plush velvet curtains is a hidden oasis of leather bound books, candlelight, and smooth tunes. The Library—Gilt Bar’s lower-level lounge is an escape from modern Chicago into a different time. If the setting of this picturesque speakeasy doesn’t charm you, the expanded menu of 20-plus hand-craft cocktails surely will. So slink downstairs to the Library, post up in one of their red velvet booths, and enjoy.
On the fringe of River North, Pops for Champagne oozes both class and champagne—boasting one of the more impressive champagne lists in Chicago, in fact. Simple and elegant, Pops for Champagne offers tables along their massive windows for patrons to sip champagne and chitchat while watching the city buzz through the evening. Our favorite spot, however, is the oversized island of a bar in the center of the room. Grab a seat, a menu, and take advantage of your bartender’s vast knowledge of vintage champagne and delightful champagne cocktails. If champagne isn’t quite your style, head downstairs to the Watershed, a beer and spirit-centric parlor with a much more casual ambiance.
Located on the fifth floor of The Peninsula Chicago Hotel, The Bar is the perfect place to grab a nightcap after a night out on the town. Named one of the eight best hotel lounges by Chicago Magazine, The Bar isn’t just your average hotel bar. This old cigar lounge features dark wood paneling, lush leather seating, and a cozy fireplace. It the perfect place imbibe sparking bubbly by the glass, rare whiskies and scotch flights, or their renowned selection of martinis. Whether you start your night here or end it, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
Down an unassuming alley and through a poorly lit hallway is the perfect escape from Chicago’s chilling winter. Three Dots and a Dash is a cocktail focused tiki lounge with delightful drinks ranging from classic tiki cocktails like the Mai Tai to more modern takes such as the Bikinis after Dark. Patrons can enjoy tasty cocktails concocted from fresh juices and syrups, which are made in-house daily, and over 150 choices of distinctive rums. Splitting base spirits is certainly part of Three Dots and a Dash’s signature style, you will find a uniqueness in both their drink recipes and their ambiance.
When you’re looking for a truly authentic — and historic — drinking experience, you need to head a little farther west. Hidden away beneath the Green Door Tavern, one of Chicago’s oldest bars, is a super cool bar called The Drifter. Formally operated as a speakeasy during the Prohibition, this place radiates history as many of the bottles, tapestries and signs are all original from almost 100 years ago. Full of unique shows and an enchanting drink menu that changes daily, The Drifter is the perfect oasis for those who want to get lost in the night.
For more information about the Drifter and their cocktails, check out our mixology blog post, featuring an interview with partner, Liz Pearce as she explains the history of the Drifter and a recipe of their signature drinks.