9 New & Improved Patios For Summer Sippin'

Already drinking alfresco? We don't blame you — especially with all the awesome outdoor hangouts this city has to offer. But before you hit same ol’ watering holes, refresh your cocktail game at these nine brand-new (or refreshed!) hot spots. Whether you want to kick it with class at the Ritz-Carlton's dec lounge or fall in love all over again with Roof at theWit, you'll be making the most of the not-so-endless days of summer in no time.
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Vertigo Sky Lounge
A new layout, permanent outdoor bar, and chic furnishings make this 5-year-old watering hole feel brand-spanking new this season. But the real draw this summer will be its new "bartender's booth," a spin on the chef's table concept you see in some of Chicago's top restaurants. The coveted nook seats up to six and includes specialty food and drink that's not on the regular menu, as well as personalized butler-style service.

But before you waltz in hoping to score a night of VIP debauchery, priority access goes to top clientele, while nights with multiple requests will be chosen via a reservation lottery system. But don't worry — there will be mixologist appearances, personal chef tastings, and craft-cocktail demonstrations and classes to keep things interesting for everyone.

Vertigo Sky Lounge, 2 West Erie Street (at State); 312-202-6060.

Photo: Courtesy of Vertigo Sky Lounge
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The dec at the Ritz-Carlton
What used to be a place known only for its fancy brunches and power lunches now has a hot, new nightlife destination. Located on the 12th floor of the swanky Ritz-Carlton, the dec boasts comfortable lounge seating, wild light installations, and stellar views of the cityscape.

The beverage program includes a host of kegged and custom-made cocktails, wines, champers, and, brews to choose from. And if all that sippin' makes you a little hungry, a patio menu features a variety of fun snacks, such as homemade Ritz crackers, burger beignets, and the dec evening fish fry. But don't indulge too much in the savory side of things. You're going to want to save room for the roving ice-cream cart filled with yummy housemade push-pops and sundaes. Just like when you were a kid — only better.

Dec at the Ritz-Carlton,160 East Pearson Street (between Michigan Avenue and Mies Vander Rohe Way); 312-266-1000.

Photo: Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton
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Del Frisco's
If you're looking to escape the bustling Rush Street dining scene, we can't think of a better place to enjoy a meal than on Del Frisco's intimate patio. This is the first season to enjoy this outdoor respite since the steak house opened its doors back in December of last year.

Looking over the famed Oak Street shopping district and iconic Esquire theater sign (hello, photo opp!), you're not going to get another view quite like it in the city. Sun worshiper? This patio gets stellar sunlight between 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. — but there are also umbrellas available for those who prefer to be made in the shade.

Del Frisco's, 58 East Oak Street (between Michigan Avenue and Rush Street); 312-888-2499.

Photo: Courtesy of Del Frisco's
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ROOF at theWit Hotel
Day or night, ROOF is a hot place to be — especially on Sunday's when the hotel throws a weekly party complete with dancers, live musicians, and some of the best DJs in the word. As if that wasn't visually appealing enough, this season there's the new addition of theWall — a permanent 3-D projection screen that will simply enhance everything you've already loved about the scene.

ROOF at theWit Hotel, 201 North State Street (between Lake Street and Haddock Place); 312-467-0200.

Photo: Courtesy of theWit Hotel
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Gather
Rain or shine, you can enjoy this adorable patio in the back of new Lincoln Square restaurant, Gather. We love how it feels as though you're enjoying a yard party versus a frat party, complete with bistro-style fare like steamed mussels, steak tartare, and baby beet salad. The real steal is the Sunday night dinner served family style for $26 per person. It's a perfect way to end the weekend — providing you don't have too many of the signature Whiskey Smash cocktails.

Gather, 4539 North Lincoln Avenue (between Sunnyside and Wilson avenues); 773-506-9300.

Photo: Courtesy of Gather
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Caffè Oliva
If you want to maximize your beach time sans bikini, this new sand-side spot is for you. Located at the Ohio Street beach, the new Caffè Oliva (named for its location in olive park) is a sweet little spot for apps, salads, sandwiches, cool cocktails, and (of course) killer views.

You can also book one of six cabanas (which seat up to 10) if you're looking to have a beach party minus all the work. And not that we want to talk about the end of summer before it's even begun, but stay tuned for the Air and Water Show viewing party details.

Caffè Oliva, 550 East Grand Avenue (at Michigan Avenue); 773-828-9841.

Photo: Courtesy of Caffè Oliva
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Howells & Hood
If you want a seat at one of the most prime people-watching spots in the city, you can't beat Howells & Hood's new Michigan Avenue patio. Boasting one of the largest craft beer menus in Chicago, a Sunday blues brunch, and an eclectic menu to suit all tastes, there are more reasons to visit than just the views alone.

Howells & Hood, 435 North Michigan Avenue (between Hubbard and Illinois streets); 312-262-5310.

Photo: Courtesy of Howells & Hood
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The Glunz Tavern
This intimate sidewalk patio at the recently opened Glunz Tavern in the Old Town neighborhood is perfect for grabbing a glass (or a bottle) of wine and a cheese plate on a summer's night — or afternoon. More substantial mains are also offered, but be sure to save room for a slice of apfelstrudel (served with ice cream, of course) and a glass of dessert vino.

The Glunz Tavern, 1202 North Wells Street (between Division and Scott streets); 312-642-3001.

Photo: Courtesy of The Glunz Tavern
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Little Goat
This may look like a large patio, but anyone who has tried to get into Little Goat knows how fast this space will fill up. At least now you'll have a better shot at getting breakfast (all day!), lunch, dinner, or drinks.

Little Goat, 820 West Randolph Street (between Green and Halsted streets); 312-888-3455.

Photo: Courtesy of Little Goat
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