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Chicago's 10 Best Spots For Outdoor Drinking

By Staff in Food on May 8, 2013 6:00PM

Two weeks ago, we gave you our favorite spots for drinking high in the sky. Now we're bringing it back down to street level with a list of our favorite bar patios from all over Chicago. Some are on the street, some are enclosed, but all have one thing in common: You can drink and see the sun at the same time.

The Patio at Ada Street. Photo via Facebook.

Ada Street is one of our favorite hideaways. It's on a dark street, you have to wind your way through a dark hallway to get to the dining room and it feels like a secret restaurant that only you know about. Well, there's another layer to the onion - if you get through all that secrecy, they have a beautiful internal patio. It's isolated from the street (no diesel exhaust in your drink) and covered with picnic tables. Grab one of their great cocktails, maybe play a game of ping pong and enjoy your summer evening. — Anthony Todd
Ada Street is at 1664 N Ada Street.

Cork and Kerry's beer garden. (Photo courtesy Cork & Kerry's website.)
Cork & Kerry boasts that their beer garden is the best on the South Side and it's easy to see why. With all the seating and shade available it's a verdant oasis to enjoy during the summer months, whether or not you're a card-carrying member of the South Side Irish. What Cork & Kerry at the Park lacks in ambiance it makes up for in character. Billy Guide's Bridgeport outpost is the closest bar to U.S. Cellular Field and a major upgrade from the former Jimbo's tavern that used to be at this location. The sidewalk seating fills up fast before and after game days and there's plenty of direct sunlight, so bring sunscreen and order your drinks with extra ice as you prepare to attend a White Sox game — Chuck Sudo
Cork & Kerry is at 10614 S. Western Avenue. Cork & Kerry at the Park is at 3259 S. Princeton Avenue.

Ten Cat Tavern, a former vintage clothing store, feels so much like a historic home stockpiled with fandangles that it would have tempted us to become one of its pool sharks long ago had we any sense of aim. If you can tear yourself past the elegant Brunswick tables, the art deco mermaid lamp, Pac Man’s gaping rictus, the juke box crammed with old-school jazz, and the eclectically furnished back parlor, then you have found the patio and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The Tamale Guy regularly ministers to this tranquil walled-in garden area that we like to consider our personal backyard, replete with stray sculptures and haphazardly strung lights straight from the shuttered garage. You're also welcome to bring your own grub to last you through the evening, which will be long and lovely. — Melissa Wiley
Ten Cat is at 3931 N. Ashland Avenue.

The patio at RM Champagne Salon. Photo by Anthony Todd.

RM Champagne Salon has something for all seasons. In the winter, cozy up to their fireplace. In the summer, roam around their expansive patio. They've taken over an entire back alley to create a beautiful outdoor oasis, perfectly isolated from the world. Grab a glass of ice cold champagne, settle into a chair and relax - the day is over. — Anthony Todd
RM Champagne Salon is at 116 N. Green Street.

Happy Village doesn't look like anything special from the outside. Tucked away on a residential street, it appears to be a regular old neighborhood bar. Head inside, grab a cheap drink and keep on going through the back door to a spacious canopied patio. They don't serve food, but you're welcome to have a pizza delivered or just wait for the Tamale Guy to pass through. — Samantha Abernethy
Happy Village is at 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Sheffield's (Photo via Sheffield's Facebook page.)
Sheffield's has three things going for it: One of the best beer selections in Chicago; surprisingly good barbeque; and a wide and spacious outdoor seating area highlighted by two raised booths backed by the fence separating the beer garden from the sidewalk. Plenty of picnic seating abounds, the center of the garden is anchored by a high-boy bar to set your beers and trees provide ample shade during the peak summer months. Sure, you may have to drink among Cubs fans heading to Wrigley Field, but that's a minor inconvenience. — Chuck Sudo
Sheffield's is at 3258 N. Sheffield Avenue.

Three Aces would still be one of the best overall hangouts in Chicago even without its outdoor patio. With plenty of picnic seating and umbrellas providing shade during the hot months, guests gravitate toward the patio before they try to find seating inside. Three Aces has also been known to screen movies on weekends during the summer, projected onto the wall of the building next to it. It's worth a bike ride to Taylor Street to enjoy a lazy July evening cooling off from the heat with a beer or one of Three Aces' cocktails paired with the amazing food produced by Matt Troost's kitchen — Chuck Sudo
Three Aces is at 1321 W. Taylor Street.

Bucktown Pub

The one-block stretch of Cortland between the Kennedy and Paulina is a hidden gem of a micro-neighborhood, complete with two corner bars and cozy date-night spot in the middle of an otherwise residential area. While the burgers at Cortland's Garage may be worth braving the crowd for during football season, the patio at the Bucktown Pub in summer is far and away the crown jewel of the block. The friendly collection of regulars and locals that frequent the place often spill out to the ten or so mismatched tables out back when the weather is nice, and in my experience they're more likely to invite a stranger to sit down than not. A high fence, strings of cafe lights and lots of evidence of a green thumb on staff creates the kind of homey back patio we'd all have right outside our back doors if we could. Luckily for the neighborhood's residents, the Bucktown Pub ensures that we basically do. — Lizz Kannenberg
Bucktown Pub is at 1658 W. Cortland.

Moody's Pub in Edgewater offers a cozy fireplace in the winter and a spacious patio in the summer. Add in their famously delicious burgers, and it's pretty much the perfect spot for any season. Relax in the back patio, fenced off from the world, and dig into the complimentary peanuts. — Samantha Abernethy
Moody's Pub is at 5910 N. Broadway St.