When it comes to bars in Chicago, the Gold Coast neighborhood is full of go-to spots favored by locals and tourists alike.
Bars, boutiques, restaurants, and nightlife make this neighborhood ideal if you’re looking for something fun and different. From swanky lounges to dart-friendly dive bars, Chicago Gold Coast bars have something for everyone. And if you can’t find something on this list, you can always check out our best rooftop bar guide!
So if you don’t already live in the area, you’ll want to make plans to visit these local “watering holes”:
Booth One (formerly Pump Room) – 1301 N. State Parkway (Ambassador East Hotel, formerly the Public Chicago Hotel)
This Gold Coast gem continues to dazzle guests with its 1930s glamour. Locals and visitors come together here to sip craft cocktails and enjoy a library transformed by live music nightly.
Insider tip: Make this your first stop since the bar closes at midnight every Friday and Saturday!
3rd Coast & Wine Bar – 260 N. Dearborn Parkway
Around since the 1920s, this café/bar has it all – amazing food, wine, beer, and handcrafted cocktails.
While enjoying the menu items, guests can mingle and marvel at the ever-changing artwork featured on the walls.
Insider tip: Go for dinner and stay for drinks while you immerse yourself in the atmosphere and discuss the art.
Three Dots and a Dash – 435 N. Clark St.
This Chicago staple needs no introduction. After all, what’s not to love about a tiki bar in the heart of Chicago?
Serving signature cocktails in take-home survivor mugs, merrymakers can sip cleverly named drinks like “Don’t Touch My Bikini,” “Pinky Gonzales,” and my personal favorite, “Dr. Funkhouser.” They also have a rum list that contains more than 250 selections, including rare bottles.
Insider tip: Reserve this for special occasions such as birthdays or bachelor(ette) parties. Get in character, and imagine you’re being whisked away to a tropical location!
Benchmark – 1510 N. Wells St.
Journey slightly outside the Gold Coast to our neighbors in Old Town for this Four Corners Tavern Group sports bar.
This is a perfect spot for meeting up with friends, listening to good music, watching some TV, and maybe even participate in a Harry Potter trivia night. Great drinks and a relaxed atmosphere pair perfectly with contemporary decor and a modern menu.
Insider tip: Friday and Saturday nights are usually pretty lively, so arrive early to snatch a table and avoid the line!
Zebra Lounge – 1220 N. State Parkway
For a completely different experience try a piano bar with a twist… or stripe. (Fun fact: Of all the bars in Chicago, Zebra holds the third oldest liquor license in the city!)
With live piano seven nights a week, this lounge boasts local and national talent. Staff describe the atmosphere as simple elegance – a trait they’ve held since 1929. Yes they’ve got drinks, but a truly unique reality is what turns visitors into regulars.
Insider tip: Arrive early and snag a leather booth, while you indulge yourself in a few cocktails and let the music sooth your soul.
The J. Parker – 1816 N. Clark St. (Lincoln Hotel)
As far as bars in Chicago go, this amazing rooftop overlooking Chicago’s skyline and water landscape make this one of the top (pun intended!). Not only are the cocktails tasty, but the small plates make for perfect pre-dinner eats.
They also have a seasonal cocktail menu, making it a fun place to go even in the winter. We suggest warming up with a drink from their “hot” menu. The “Rockin’ Chair” rum drink is a favorite, with hints of cinnamon and Apple Jack.
Insider tip: This is the perfect spot to start your evening. To take advantage of the incredible view, try to grab a spot in the lounge along the back window.
DrumBAR – 201 E. Delaware Place (Raffaello Hotel)
DrumBAR is another rooftop lounge that continues to be a Chicago Gold Coast favorite.
DrumBAR caters to those looking for an intimate indoor setting, as well as those looking to soak up the outdoor scenic Chicago views. Mixing everything from house cocktails to traditional libations, patrons can order anything from a single drink to bottle service.
Insider tip: This is a great spot to go with a large group. Make a reservation and stay all night!
What other bars in Chicago (or Gold Coast bars) do you recommend? Let us know in the comments!
Post written by FFC contributor.