Al fresco dining , which in Italian means outside, is a favorite spring and summer pasttime in Chicago. Many of the city's restaurants and bars open up their patio spaces, which include rooftops and street-side seating. Here is our list of some of Chicago's top al fresco dining options. More restaurants and bars to be added. If you have an al fresco dining spot you would like considered for this list, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIN 36 is opening a brand-new patio this summer. Located adjacent to the Hotel Sax, BIN 36 will offer outdoor seating for 45 people. Guests will be able to enjoy the restaurant’s wine and cheese flights, along with Chef John Caputo’s all-new spring dinner menu. Bin 36 is located at 339 N. Dearborn. Reservations can be made by calling 312-755-9463.
Chicagoans can dine at The Chicago Firehouse’s outdoor space, which is open for lunch, dinner, and brunch and includes a 100-seat patio directly in back of the old firehouse and restaurant. The Chicago Firehouse’s signature menu items include the Filet Flight, three 3-ounce filet medallions with blue cheese, black pepper-parmesan, and horseradish crusts ($35) with a signature cocktail or wine. The Chicago Firehouse is located at 1401 S. Michigan Avenue. For reservations call 312-786-1401.
Newly opened Estate is "rolling out" its outdoor bar areas this spring to offer Chicagoans riverfront city views. The Terrace, which opened in March 2012, overlooks the river and is outfitted with wrought iron furniture and rope lighting with lantern fixtures. There is also the Gazebo, a split-level outdoor space with the capability of being used in inclement weather during an event. Additionally, the Sky Deck offer a Vegas-style experience with cabanas with TVs and misters, lounge areas, two full bars, palm trees, sun chairs, and 360-degree skyline view of the city, river, and Division Street Bridge. Estate is located at 1177 N. Elston. For reservations call 312-587-4777.
Filini’s patio opened in April 2012 is among the newest additions to downtown Chicago and one of the only al fresco dining options in the Lakeshore East neighborhood. Guests can view the entertainment at Millennium Park from this street-level patio, which seats 25 and is open 7 days aweek from 4 p.m. to midnight. Filini’s full bar menu is available, and food is served until 11 p.m. Filini Bar and Restaurant is located at 221 N. Columbus. For reservations call 312-477-0234. (Also worth reading: Chicago's Outdoor Parks and Gardens
and Chicago Green City Markets
This spring, Hoyt’s, located inside Hotel 71, will open its 60-seat outdoor patio for "upscale American tavern fare with a twist." The patio is located alongside the Chicago River and offers creative cocktails and an extensive beer list. For cooler summer nights, heating towers are provided. Hoyt's Chicago is located at 71 E. Wacker Drive. For reservations call 312-346-9870.
With some of the best people-watching in the city Mercadito in the River North area offers its street-side viewing for 25 in the spring and summer months. Guests can also enjoy DJ music from inside, as well as Mercadito’s shareable menu of tacos, spring ceviche, and guacamoles, and cocktails such as the Dizzy Oaxacan with mezcal, grapefruit, lemon, ginger beer, bitters, and cayenne. Mercadito is located at 108 W. Kinzie Street. For reservations call 312-329-9555.
SUSHISAMBA rio’s rooftop lounge serves the restaurant’s signature blend of Brazilian, Japanese, and Peruvian cuisine.Guests can also enjoy signature cocktails like the Blackberry Caipirinha with Leblon Cachaça, lime sugar, and fresh muddled blackberries. SUSHISAMBA rio is located at 504 N. Welles Street. For reservations call 312-595-2300.