August 1, 2013
The Motel Bar
600 W. Chicago Ave. 312-822-2900
This retro bar on the very northwest corner of River North was shaking up classic cocktails before the trend blew up citywide. It's not actually attached to a motel, but lawn chair-style seating on the plaza out front will remind you of a '60s roadside hotel lounge.
Bridge House Tavern on the River
321 N. Clark St. 312-644-0283
Hidden below street level, the riverside patio is the main draw at this bar and restaurant; to enter, look for the elevator on the northeast side of the Clark Street Bridge. Jumbo shrimp cocktail, chilled oysters and cocktails by the carafe are prime picks for sunny days.
Clark Street Ale House
742 N. Clark St. 312-642-9253
The only thing better than the solid beer selection at this wood-trimmed pub is the tranquil fenced-in patio hidden behind the bar.
661 N. Clark St. 312-335-8121
The sidewalk cafe at this Irish pub may only be a few steps away from the tourist traffic of Clark Street, but umbrellas, hanging planters and flower-topped fencing makes it feel like an idyllic escape.
151 W. Erie St. 312-274-1111
The candlelit dining room at this Spanish-inspired restaurant makes for a lively date or girls' night out, but when it comes to outdoor sipping and snacking, Barcito is the place to be. Sidewalk seating wraps around the corner of this hangout, which is separated from Tavernita by a glass wall and channels a traditional Spanish pintxos bar.
The Purple Pig
500 N. Michigan Ave. 312-464-1744
This small but mighty wine and swine bar makes space for more diners on its outdoor patio, which is shaded by oversized umbrellas in the summer and warmed with heat lamps on chilly evenings.
Coco Pazzo Cafe
636 N. St. Clair St. 312-664-2777
Awnings that stretch over the sidewalk tables at this Tuscan-inspired eatery—sibling to the original Coco Pazzo in River North (300 W. Hubbard St.)—shield your vino and bruschetta from a surprise shower.
465 E. Illinois St. 312-981-8400
This sprawling hangout in the River East Art Center features a sports bar in front, a dining room in the middle and an atrium lounge in the back that leads out to riverside seating along Ogden Slip.
D4 Irish Pub & Cafe
345 E. Ohio St. 312-624-8385
During the winter, you can't get much cozier than nursing Irish whiskey in front of the fireplace at this spacious pub. In the summer, drafts of imported brews such as Smithwick's and Harp are best sipped at the umbrella-topped tables on the spacious plaza.
626 N. State St. 312-698-5000
Al fresco dining at this Italian small-plates spot is a two-level affair: In addition to sidewalk seating at street level, there's a flower-lined balcony with tables overlooking State Street below.
600 W. Chicago Ave. 312-822-9600
The riverside cabanas at this modern Asian restaurant have always been popular, but the addition of bar-height communal tables and traditional dining tables this year make full dinners outdoors that much more comfortable.
Howells & Hood
435 N. Michigan Ave. 312-262-5310
This Mag Mile bar has everything you need for a summer pool party, minus the pool: An outdoor bar, couches, TVs, firebox tables and oversized umbrellas equipped with infrared heaters to ward off the chill after sunset.
>>Read more about the patio at Chicago Cut Steakhouse in our guide to River North steakhouse newcomers.
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