There's nothing better than taking in the iconic Chicago skyline. If views of the city are sky-high on your list of things to do this summer, we recommend these downtown Chicago hotel spots for rooftop bites and bevs! Can't make it during the summer months? You're in luck! Some of these venues are open all year, so rooftop season on The Magnificent Mile never has to end.
Atop the Godfrey Hotel and known as the largest usable indoor/outdoor rooftop in the city (at a whopping 15,000 square feet), the I|O Godfrey is all about contemporary American food. The sophisticated but approachable south-facing space is showered in sunlight all day long, and the shareable plates make this an ideal venue for groups.
I|O offers a wide variety of dishes, including savory Kobe Beef Sliders, Lamb Lollichops, and specialty sushi. Better yet, each cocktail is more unique than the last.
A large draw to the I|O Rooftop is the year-round programming, including events like the Kentucky Derby Party which was awarded Promo, Party or Event of the Year in 2015 by the Nightclub & Bar Awards. The retractable roof allows for events during the winter that Director of Food and Beverage Grant Gedemer says “people just don’t want to leave”.
- Rainbow Sangria: Don’t miss a sip because the flavor changes by the minute
- The Godfrey Roll: Don’t be fooled, the habanero sneaks up on you
- Kobe Beef Sliders: Four of these equals one regular sized burger, right?
127 W. Huron Street
Talk about combining the old with the new! The roof of the LondonHouse Chicago unites the historic beauty of yesterday with the hip and luxurious lifestyle of tomorrow. In one step, you can move from the historic landmark building onto the tri-level rooftop experience with 360-degree views of Downtown Chicago.
LH on 21 serves re-imagined American classics (many made with only sustainable seafood) in an indoor venue, open year round. LH on 22 is home to sweeping views of The Magnificent Mile as well as classic cocktails like the LH Old Fashioned.
The crowning jewel of the LondonHouse rooftop is the Cupola. Surrounded by stone pillars high above the city, this iconic (and insanely Instagrammable) private area hosts events from Winemakers Dinners and Sundaes in the Cupola to proposals and even weddings.
- Roaring 20’s Cocktail: Takes you back to the time of flappers and speakeasys
- Truffle Fries: The definition of sophisticated fast food
- A Journey of the Ocean: Overflowing with everything from octopus to oysters
85 E. Wacker Drive
Noyane means “hidden rooftop,” though its secluded location at the top of the Conrad Hotel showcases downtown views alongside an elevated dining experience. Chef Richard Sandoval brings his New Orleans background to this Japanese contemporary menu with dishes like California Roll Nachos and Matcha Beignet. Cocktails include refreshing twists on the classics and are always topped with a garnish fit for any foodie's photo.
This unique venue is open, weather-permitting, and boasts southward views down Michigan Avenue. Whether you’re interested in a relaxing lunch or a funky fusion dinner, Noyane delivers from appetizers to dessert.
- California Roll Nachos: Crispy wonton chips, fresh crab and all the fixings
- Tempura Shrimp: Poppable shrimp bites with a kick to the taste buds
- Spiked Snowballs: Also known as an Adult Snow Cone (Passion Fruit Gin is a fan favorite)
101 E. Erie Street
ROOF on theWit
The roof on theWit Hotel is the place to be for Chicago nightlife. The vibe on ROOF on theWit changes by the hour, though its 180-degree view of the River North and State Street are a constant delight.
By day, ROOF ontheWit is home to amazing views and dishes for the refined palette, like their famed paella and seared tuna toast. As the sun sets and the lights go up, the venue turns to what General Manager, Bleri Bregu calls a “sophisticated playground” in the evening. Cocktails and live music from the DJ’s fill the room for an environment that Bregu describes as “always alive”.
If you’re planning on visiting ROOF on theWit, reservations are encouraged. This one-of-a-kind venue fills up fast all year round, as the retractable roof shields customers through those cold Chicago winters.
- Airline Controversy Cocktail: If you have a sweet tooth, it tastes as deliciously pink as it looks
- Liquid Lunch Cocktail: A cool and refreshing basil-licious cocktail
- Seafood Paella: With the perfect crust and Saffron fresh from Afghanistan, Chef Nathan Sears truly delivers in this colorful and flavorful dish
201 N. State Street, 26th Floor
Upstairs at the Gwen
Girl Power is the name of the game at the Gwen Hotel. The unique décor is inspired by American sculptor Gwen Lux. Artful food and beverage, attentive service, and curated programming all come together at Upstairs at the Gwen. Director of Operations Milos Davidovic sums up the vibe of this impressive space as “global, metropolitan city-inspired, with some Chicago swag.” While looking up will grant you views of the Rush Street skyline, looking down at a mural painted on the floor by artist Jas Petersen is just as breathtaking.
A visit to Upstairs at the Gwen engages all the senses, from the views and live music to—most importantly—the tastes. The kitchen’s attention to detail is just as evident in the bold and balanced flavors of the menu as it is in the specialty cocktails. The unexpected Rabbit Confit Toast is one example of meats that are entirely curated in-house, while the Smoked Cauliflower is an equally as delicious choice.
Can’t fit this rooftop into your summer schedule? Don’t worry, the venue is open year-round and even features a curling rink during the winter months. The exclusive and intimate feel of Upstairs at the Gwen is what makes this venue so unique, so reservations are encouraged.
- Rabbit Confit Toast: Playfully textured with a hint of spice
- C’est La Vie Cocktail: Head bartender Mimi basically liquifies summer and serves it in a copper pineapple
- The Prince Cocktail: A soulful and unique dose of the extreme that The Purple One himself would be proud of
521 N. Rush Street
The newest addition to Chicago’s collection of rooftop venues, Z Bar, is atop The Peninsula Hotel. Named for Chicago’s Maria Zec, the first female General Manager of a Peninsula Hotel, the bar features several nods to its home town, even though it is part of an international brand.
Z Bar’s immersive vibe comes from its location six stories up, and allows visitors to feel connected to the city below. Jewel toned furniture adds to the luxurious environment, and the menu prides itself on being familiar but decadent. Snacks like Ants on the Log and Daikon Frites deliver an elevated nostalgia, while cocktails like the Manhattan Royale and the Paloma send customers on a jet-setting flavor adventure around the world. Bartenders add a splash of finesse to each drink, spinning the specially designed glasses smoothly across the table or topping the glass with a photo-friendly garnish.
Z Bar already has plans in the works for unique and exciting programming, and Chicagoans are at the edge of their bar stools to see what happens next. Wanderlust: Cocktail Master Classes will be offered monthly to teach guests to make cocktails representing the regions of the world. Customers can also look forward to Friday Champagne Towers, live DJ’s, and more upcoming events.
- Marrow Poppers: Just thinking about the Calabrian Chili makes my mouth water
- Mozzarella Tasting: Anything you can think of to pair with Mozzarella at your fingertips
- Disco Fever Cocktail: The fact that it comes in a giant disco ball isn’t even the best part
108 E. Superior Street
Devereaux at the Viceroy
Relaxing by the pool is a MUST for a true Chicago summer. The hidden gem of the Gold Coast neighborhood, Deveraux, sits on top of the Viceroy Hotel and offers dishes, drinks, and a dip in the pool.
Inside at Deveraux, customers are transported to the opulence of the 1960s. One step outside takes you poolside in the Hamptons with chic white furniture and luxurious palm trees.
Cocktails like the Salty Dog and Pineapple Frosé are best sipped with two feet in the pool, while the Tempura Buffalo Cauliflower and Fried Chicken Bites are perfect to share. This year-round venue opened recently, but will likely become a staple of the Chicago rooftop scene.
- Tempura Buffalo Cauliflower: The perfect combo of health and heat
- Pineapple Frosé: And I thought frozen rosé couldn’t get any more refreshing
- Drunken Dreamsicle Push Pop: For the adult that never lost their inner child
1112 N. State Street
Over 12 floors above the Magnificent Mile, atop the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, sits Cindy’s, a rooftop restaurant and bar. This open, airy and feminine space is the perfect topper for the dark and masculine hotel below. Named for developer John Pritzker’s mother, Cindy’s is the perfect way to honor the historic value of the building, while bringing a fresh venue to the avenue.
With a large portion of the rooftop covered by a historic train station-inspired glass atrium, Cindy’s is open year round and is one of the top ten most Instagrammed restaurants in the country. It’s easy to see why with just one step out onto the patio, with sweeping views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and Navy Pier.
Famed chefs aim to bring dishes to the menu that live up to the grandeur of the architecture and the view with seasonally inspired ingredients, many of which are grown in a garden above the restaurant. The hotel also features numerous pop-up shops to keep the many visitors guessing what they may see next.
Visit the hotel’s Events Website for more information on pop-ups, programming and ticketed events throughout the year.
- Burrata: Garnished with seasonal accoutrements, so you’ll never have the same dish twice
- Yami’s Spiced Cinnamon Roll: Not your grandmother’s breakfast roll
- Friesling Slushee: For anyone ready to move on from frosé
Prepare yourself to be transported back in time to the days of prohibition and speakeasy’s when you visit drumBAR atop the Raffaello Hotel. What was once a penthouse apartment has been transformed into GQ’s Best Whiskey Bar. The rich and rugged feel of the indoor space is complimented by the light and fun outdoor terrace. This unique “third space” is somewhere between a sports bar and a Starbucks, serving outstanding cocktails and bar bites with a view spanning from the lake to the Hancock.
Along with a classic cocktail menu and a selection of wine and beer, drumBAR gives patrons the opportunity to try and stump bartenders when you order the “Dealer’s Choice” cocktail. Simply name any spirit, flavor, mood or technique and experts behind the bar will whip you up something to match. Feeling “Whiskey and Happy?" Maybe “Gin and Spring” or “Vodka and Creamy?"
Stop by on Saturday’s from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for Summer Sounds Music featuring live DJ’s, or plan your visit for Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Pro Tip: Discover drumBAR’s hidden gem and sign up for Exhale Yoga on the Sundeck!
Dealer’s Choice: Why not let the experts do what they do best?
201 E. Delarare Pl.