Day drinking is great - mainly because there’s a good chance you’ll be in bed by 9pm, and therefore not as hungover the next day. You need a spot that’s comfortable enough to hang out in for a while, and also, ideally, one that serves food - because according to our team of experts, eating something while drinking will reduce your chances of feeling terrible tomorrow by about 1000%. And, at the very least, it’s been scientifically proven that drinking makes everything taste really good.
Here are 25 places that are great for day drinking, either indoors or outdoors.
The original location of Big Star in Wicker Park is a well-known day drinking spot, and now there’s one in Wrigleyville, too. The menu is the same (except here you can get “hot chips,” a.k.a. nachos), with solid tacos and great drinks. But thanks to its two floors and huge patio, the Wrigleyville location is twice the size of the original. Come here with a big group, get the hot chips, and hang outside. Just check the Cubs schedule before heading over - Big Star is right across from the stadium, and it’s really busy on game day.
This West Loop spot has three full bars and a rooftop deck, and is lively enough to make day drinking feel like Saturday-night drinking. On top of that, La Josie also serves great Mexican food, like enchiladas and tacos on housemade tortillas. The servers and bartenders are also really friendly, and the extensive cocktail menu offers a variety of margaritas. In fact, it’s perfectly valid to just stay here and make it your Saturday night spot, too.
The Moonlighter in Logan Square is a fantastic day drinking spot, primarily because of its massive front patio. Add in pitchers of cocktails and an extensive bar food menu, and coming here is an easy choice to make. This holds true even during the winter - when it’s 5 degrees and you have to stay inside, this place has a bunch of TVs and a cozy fireplace to sit around.
When we think of rooftop bars, we generally think of places located in high-rises downtown. Great views, but usually expensive, and full of tourists and bachelorette parties. For something more low-key, go to Pearl’s in Edgewater. The Southern menu here has po’boys and jambalaya, plus some very good barbecue. Hang out at the rooftop bar and drink Hurricanes until you’re ready to go home.
Dutch & Doc’s is a more upscale option for day drinking in Wrigleyville. It’s an all-day brasserie from the same people who own the steakhouse Swift & Sons, and it serves the same high-quality steaks as its sister restaurant. The menu also has sandwiches like a grilled cheese with dates and bacon, and bar snacks like fried giardiniera. Think of it as a fancy sports bar that also has a nice view of the stadium.
When you’re at The Delta, you want to be sitting on the back patio. It’s far enough away from North Ave that you won’t hear the traffic, and surrounded by enough trees to make you forget that you’re a few buildings away from the Blue Line. The cocktail menu here is long (with some drinks coming in shareable “vases”), and the food specialty is tamales simmered in a chile broth instead of steamed. This spot is perfect for small groups looking to be low-key - or for people who like drinking out of vases, but don’t want the hassle of getting rid of the flowers first.
On the inside, Park & Field is decorated like a vintage gymnasium, and has enough TVs to make it qualify as a sports bar. But its greatness comes from its objectively awesome outdoor section. To call it a patio would be like calling the St. Patrick’s Day parade a get-together. It’s massive, with bocce courts, big chairs, fire pits, and a repurposed trailer used as a bar. You can stay all day (and we know because we’ve done it).
Parson’s has one of the best set-ups in the entire city. The patio, which is fenced off from the street, is huge, with lots of umbrella-covered picnic tables. You can play ping pong there, and they’ll even let you bring your dog. Add in fried chicken and negroni slushies, and you have a place to day drink all summer long.
Maria’s Packaged Goods has been a favorite neighborhood bar in Bridgeport for a long time. And in 2016, the owners opened Kimski, a Korean-Polish restaurant with a little patio out back, right next door. Sound like a lot going on? It is. But trust us when we say that this is the perfect place to hang out all day. Order the poutine with kimchi gravy, and eat it at Maria’s if you’re inexplicably tired of hanging out on the patio.
Saint Lou’s serves upscale cafeteria-style food (like meatloaf and sides). But there’s nothing institutional about the back patio. It’s an awesome space with picnic tables, round tables under umbrellas, a bocce ball court, and a back bar so you never have to go all the way inside. It’s ideal for something casual with a bunch of friends.
Gene’s is an old-school Polish deli in Lincoln Square that serves traditional sausages and other specialty Polish items. The food is good, but the best part about Gene’s is the rooftop beer garden that opens in the summer. Grab some grilled sausages and cold drinks and hang out on the picnic benches for a relaxing afternoon.
If you’ve ever been stuck deciding between eating tacos or going to the club with your friends, Federales is for you. You’ll drink too many margaritas from pitchers and have one (or six) ill-advised tequila shots, but it’ll seem like a smart idea because you can throw shot glasses made of ice at a bell. (It’s a thing here, just go with it.) You’ll probably spend too much money, but sometimes that’s the price of a good time.
Parlor Pizza in the West Loop is another spot that feels like a constant party, but more of the house-party variety. And its two outdoor patios are some of the best in the city. Round up your friends, order a bunch of pizzas (they aren’t mind blowing, but they’re satisfying), and spend the afternoon eating pizza and drinking beer. Like nature intended.
Resi’s is a classic German tavern in North Center that’s been around since 1973. That means you should be drinking Weiss beers here. Be sure to grab a bratwurst to go with them.
Fremont is pretty much begging you to day drink. There’s a retractable roof, and also a brunch buffet that includes brisket, omelette and waffle bars, a seafood tower, and a donut wall for good measure. If it’s not already clear, this whole place channels Vegas. Add in a champagne package and you’re here to party.
This place has a great beer selection, and one of our favorite burgers in Chicago. If you don’t want beer and/or burgers, you’ll also find tasty bao, tacos, and a long cocktail menu. Little Bad Wolf gets crowded, but during the summer they open their sidewalk patio, too, and the important thing to remember is that once you have a seat, no one can take it away from you.
Walking into Happy Village in Ukrainian Village feels a little bit like going to visit somebody’s house. There’s a ping pong space inside, and a backyard that your six-year-old self would have loved (and your adult self currently will, too). It’s more like day drinking at a relative’s house than a bar, only here you can leave whenever you want.
You can pretty much live on the patio at Big Star in Wicker Park. And considering how crowded it always is, we’re not convinced this isn’t happening. But it’s understandable - the space is large and comfortable, and you can even have your dog with you. While the tacos here aren’t the best in the city, they’re perfectly fine, and the cocktails are great. Come here early to get a table, and if you decide to stay, don’t forget to forward your mail.
Chief O’Neill’s in Avondale feels like a classic Chicago bar (full of wood, and dark enough inside to protect you from the light of day) - but there’s also a really nice garden area with outdoor seating. And during the weekend, they have a brunch buffet. Because loading up on bacon and sausage before drinking all day is classic Chicago, too.
Jack and Ginger’s is a divey sports bar in Bucktown that has a not-so-divey patio. It’s large, with wrought iron tables and enough string lights to almost seem romantic. So even if you hate sports, you won’t mind watching something with a drink in your hand in the outdoor space here. On the weekend they also serve brunch, with options like breakfast tacos and a breakfast pizza.
If you need us to remind you that Sheffield’s in Wrigleyville is a great place for day drinking, you either just moved to Chicago or you actively avoid social settings. You won’t even have to plan a day drinking session here - it’s the kind of thing that just happens. This is because Sheffield’s has everything that makes Chicago great when it’s nice out - wine and craft beer, solid food (in this case, BBQ), and an excellent outdoor area. What we’re saying is that if you don’t know about this place already, you should.
Kaiser Tiger has one of the largest patios in the city, and the words “sausage, bacon & beer” are painted on the side of the building in huge lettering. If that doesn’t sound like a day drinking call to action, then we don’t know what does. Come here with a group and share “the bomb” - five pounds of beef and sausage wrapped in bacon. Then, like those kids from Stand by Me, plan on needing some time away from each other - it’s the kind of thing that changes you.
Pizza, beer, couches, and cool neon signs are why people want to spend the day at Homeslice. Will it be crowded on a nice day? Yes. Will you regret going early to claim some space? Not at all.
Happy Camper in Old Town is Homeslice’s sibling. They’re owned by the same people, and both focus on pizza and beer. But go to Happy Camper when the plan is to drink indoors. The interior has tire swings, an airstream trailer, and plenty of room for groups. And neon signs, because nothing says “I’m drunk at 1pm” like a blurry picture under one of those.
Unless you’re a Hoosier fan, avoid Kirkwood if there’s an Indiana basketball game on a Saturday afternoon. But any other time works well, particularly during football season, because nobody is watching Indiana play anyway. The indoor-outdoor combo at Kirkwood is ideal for day drinking, and their tasty chicken wings and cheeseburger minis with Merkt’s cheddar don’t hurt, either.