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The 14 Best Bloody Marys In Chicago

By Staff in Food on May 15, 2013 4:00PM

Few things are better than a rich and spicy Bloody Mary to go with a gut-busting brunch. The problem with that is there are just as many places in Chicago making terrible Bloody Marys as there are ones that make transcendent ones. Where to go for the best? We rounded up our favorites. Turns out, people have very strong feelings about their spiced, boozy tomato juice — the Chicagoist staff almost got into a virtual fistfight over it! Does beer belong in a Bloody? What about swapping out the vodka for another spirit? But after our bosses calmed us all down, we managed to come to a consensus.

In addition to the selections that made our list this week, we also asked readers to offer their favorite Bloody Marys in Chicago. This makes the list even longer, but with the summer months around the corner, you'll have plenty of time to work through it before it gets cold again.

The Cleetus Heatus bloody mary.
We've always been a fan of Chef Cleetus Friedman's Bloody Mary, even though some purists might argue that it isn't really a Bloody Mary at all! Rather than vodka, Friedman uses North Shore Distillery aquavit. This gives the "Cleetus Heatus" Bloody Mary an extra layer of savory spice. Combine that with a garnish spear that includes an entire pickle and his homemade spicy tomato mix and our day-drinking needs are pretty much met. — Anthony Todd
Fountainhead is located at 1970 W. Montrose Avenue.

Twisted Spoke
One of our picks for the best rooftop bars in Chicago also makes one of the best Bloody Marys with their "Road Rash Mary," a "sandwich in a glass" containing salami, onions, green olives, peppercini, parmesan, a splash of Guinness to hold it all together and a beer back. Twisted spoke also sells its Bloody Mary mix retail at all three LUSH Wine & Spirits locations. — Chuck Sudo
The Twisted Spoke is located at 501 N. Ogden Avenue

Schubas Tavern
Schubas has been my favorite Bloody in the city for almost 10 years. Nothing fancy about the mix—it's salty and smokey thanks to Worcestershire, and spicy via horseradish, tabasco and cracked black pepper. It's served with wedges of lemon and lime, which brighten the salt/spice and make the thing virtually refreshing. I also love the accompanying spear of olive, salami and a cube of jack cheese — it's basically a brunch appetizer and it's often on special for $5. — Lizz Kannenberg
Schubas Tavern is located at 3159 N. Southport Ave.

The Bloody from Longman & Eagle
Longman & Eagle
No surprise that the celebrated restaurant and bar takes this day-drinking staple seriously. The recipe calls for a healthy portion of McAuslin St. Ambroise oatmeal stout, which unifies the cocktail's tart and spicy ingredients without mellowing their kick. A classic beer back accompanies the drink, carrying on a Midwest tradition worthy of L&E's "neighborhood inn" vibe. — Chris Bentley
Longman & Eagle is located at 2657 N. Kedzie Ave.

Tweet Let's Eat
A brunch standby, Tweet slings some legendary Bloody Marys. They're served in Tiki glasses, along a spectrum of spiciness — wasabi, sriracha, and smoky poblano pepper impart some variety to the levels of hotness. But if you're looking for tastebud overload you can order the "Ecstasy" version, which is a combination of all the others. — Chris Bentley
Tweet Let's Eat is located at 5020 N. Sheridan Road

The Corner Bar
I want a bartender that can make me a rich, tasty Bloody that is consistently delicious. Enter AJ at the Corner Bar in Bucktown. He’s usually manning the bar on Sundays for whatever sporting event is going on (sometimes they’ll even have Popeye’s chicken), and he makes a mean (read: delicious) Bloody Mary. You won’t find any pre-made mix in a jug here. He makes each one from scratch: tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, horseradish, (I’m sure I’m missing lots of important things here), a celery salt rim, and of course, a pickle. I’ve watched him make 'em many times, but I still can’t put it together as well as he does. — Michelle Meywes
The Corner Bar is located at 2224 N. Leavitt Avenue.

Fireside Restaurant and Lounge's 250 ingredient Bloody Mary bar. (Photo via Fireside Restaurant and Lounge's website.)

Fireside Restaurant and Lounge
With over 250 ingredients, the Fireside Restaurant's Bloody Mary bar can be daunting for the novice Bloody Mary builder. But the best ones are kept simple and the sheer volume of options allow one to experiment with a Bloody Mary he can call his own. If you don't want to deal with the Bloody Mary bar, Fireside makes an amazing one so you won't have to get your hands dirty. (Use your coffee saucer to load up on garnishes; they're a meal in themselves.) — Chuck Sudo
Fireside Restaurant and Lounge is located at 5739 N. Ravenswood Avenue.

The Bloody Mary at Nana. (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)
Nana Organic
The Bridgeport hotspot that focuses on making as much of their food organic has an amazing Bloody Mary, made from their own mix of tomato juice and spices, served with a skewer of house made pickles, citrus, cheeses and vegetables that is a meal in itself.
Nana Organic is located at 3267 S. Halsted Street.

The key to this very spicy Bloody Mary is the mix from Tomato Mountain Farms in Brooklyn, Wisconsin. The mix is simple and contains fresh grown tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, celery leaf, kosher salt and black pepper, all of it organic. Hunker down over one of these during the Pilsen restaurant's Sunday brunch. — Chuck Sudo
Nightwood is located at 2119 S. Halsted Street.

Reader Favorites
"Definitely best are at Glenn's Diner on Montrose. Three words - skewer of shrimp. Great tasting and the extra bonus of seafood doesn't hurt!" — Dennis Burlingham
Glenn's Diner

"The best Bloody in Chicago is definitely the Smoke Daddy Bloody that is served there, Frasca, ck kitchen, and Dunlays. It's delicious with just the right amount of spice, has an awesome celery salt rim, a skewer of yummy snacks, a mini beer, AND a fantastic piece of bacon! It's a masterpiece, plain and simple." — Carin DeFerdinando
Smoke Daddy is located at 1804 W. Division Street.

"After spending a day on a hunt for the best Bloody Mary in Wicker Park, we ended up trying at least 10 different version of this concoction. Jerry’s Bloody Mary was rated the highest based on taste and presentation. Their BM has a smoky and rich flavor, the mix is made and packaged locally and I like the idea of using white whiskey instead of vodka. Tabasco hangover the next day was worth the find, strongly recommend it." — Anastasia Cohen
Jerry's Sandwiches is located at 1938 W. Division Street.

"The Meat & Potato Bloody at Bangers & Lace is a meat-lover's aus jus-soaked dream. VEAL DEMI-GLACE. That's right, VEAL DEMI-GLACE" — Scott Speh
Bangers & Lace is located at 1670 W. Division Street.

"Lula's Gin Mary. It doesn't have too many garnishes, just a selection of really perfect ones. Anyone else sick of getting a cube of cold, wet cheese? Cheese is best at room temp and a Bloody Mary isn't." — Laura Lynch
Lula Café is located at 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.

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