10 Chicago Rooftops For Enjoying Summer Reverie

Photo: Courtesy of The Kensington.
We don't blame you for dining and drinking alfresco almost seven days a week. After all, we're almost half way through summer. But, if you've already hit up all of the patios we covered last month, then we suggest you refresh your cocktail game at one of these 10 amazing rooftops.
Whether you want to kick it with class at the brand-new 52Eighty or fall in love all over again at the Peninsula's Shanghai Terrace, one thing's for certain: Everything is better up on the roof.
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Photo: Courtesy of 52Eighty.
52Eighty Rooftop Lounge
Located on the 29th floor of the new MileNorth Hotel, 52Eighty is the highest indoor-outdoor lounge in the city. The sharply appointed space, decked out in custom banquets and bar stools, features not only amazing views of downtown, but also the cuisine of chef Jeremy Moore. Order a libation from the collection of Bubbles & Bourbons, and nosh on a small plate like the PB&J foie gras, salmon parfait, and filet tartar with quail egg. Now, that's living!

52Eighty at the Mile North Hotel, 166 East Superior Street (at North St. Clair Street); 312-787-6000.
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Photo: Courtesy of Drumbar.
Perched atop the Raffaello Hotel, Drumbar's 1,500-square-foot, open-air terrace, boasts stunning views of Lake Michigan and the John Hancock Building. What's more, Alex Renshaw's bar program features everything from classic cocktails to curious sippers like the Wizard of Oz, a potent blend of Cynar, Lustau Manzanilla, Illa sherry, lime, Demerara, house ora, bitters, and nutmeg, all of which taste even better on a balmy summer evening.

Drumbar, 201 East Delaware Place (at Mies van der Rohe Way); 312-933-2531.
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Photo: Courtesy of Vertigo Sky Lounge.
Vertigo Sky Lounge
Last summer, this hotspot debuted a new layout, permanent outdoor bar, and chic furnishings, making the now six-year-old watering hole feel brand-spanking new. While this season brings newly revamped food and drink menus focused on fresh herbs and fruit juices, the real draw here is the "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 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, as well as craft-cocktail demonstrations and classes to keep things interesting for everyone.

Vertigo Sky Lounge, 2 West Erie Street (at State); 312-202-6060.
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Photo: Courtesy of the J.Parker.
Finally, it's warm enough to enjoy the stunning views of downtown and Lincoln Park from atop the Hotel Lincoln with a libation like The Souvenir, a refreshing mix of rosehip infused Russian standard vodka, Domaine de Canton, chai syrup, and lemon. Soak up all the boozy goodness with nosh from the small plate menu overseen by chef Paul Virant from Perennial Virant on the first floor of the hotel — we have an affinity for the beet salad and Laughing Bird shrimp toast.

J. Parker, 1816 North Clark Street (at Lincoln Avenue); 312-254-4747.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Kensington.
The Kensington Roof Garden & Lounge
When it comes to a big night out, it's hard to beat River North's opulent Parliament nightclub, where celebs often head to the VIP section, a.k.a. The House of Lords, for a night of bottle service in glam environs. During the warm months, the action continues upstairs at rooftop lounge, The Kensington. Just hop in the glass elevator to reach the spacious, contemporary rooftop, decked out in bold patterns, large swaths of grass, and spacious seating areas. Enjoy amazing views, kegged cocktails, and one of the most sophisticated nightclub scenes in the city.

The Kensington Roof Garden & Lounge, 324 West Chicago Avenue (at North Orleans Street), 312-380-0004.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little Goat Diner.
Little Goat Diner
Anyone who has tried to get into Little Goat knows how fast this space will fill up. At least you'll have a better shot at getting breakfast (all day!), lunch, dinner, or drinks now that the rooftop is open for biz. Just be sure to check the website for updates on its availability.

Little Goat Diner, 820 West Randolph Street (between Green and Halsted streets); 312-888-3455.
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Photographed by Anthony Tahlier.
NoMI Garden
Full disclosure: We've been known to have a sushi-and-Champagne lunch with friends on an occasion as simple as Tuesday afternoon. And, why not? NoMI's garden terrace beckons you to stay for just one more plate — or flute — thanks to the killer views, impeccable service, and no-fail menu.

NoMI Garden at The Park Hyatt Hotel, 800 North Michigan Avenue (at Chicago Avenue); 312-239-4030.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago.
Shanghai Terrace
Fact: When it comes to a luxurious respite that truly feels special in every way, shape, and form, the Peninsula can do no wrong. And, even if you're not ballin' in a $2K-plus suite, you can still enjoy the luxuries of the terrace for the cost of a small plate (stuffed crab claws perhaps?) or a cocktail like the Cucumber Garden Fizz, a refreshing blend of cucumber-infused Hendricks, lemon juice, bitters, and club soda.

Shanghai Terrace, 108 East Superior Street (between Michigan Avenue and Rush Street); 312-337-2888.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tanta.
Since Tanta opened earlier this year, chef Gastón Acurio's Peruvian-inspired cuisine has left foodies slack-jawed and craving more. But, even those more interested in nightlife adventures than culinary ones will want to stop by to visit its 120-seat indoor/outdoor lounge, featuring a cebiche and small-plates menu, outdoor bar, and stellar city views. Special occasion? The singular space is available to rent for private events.

Tanta, 118 West Grand Avenue (at North LaSalle Street); 312-222-9700.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton.
Dec at the Ritz-Carlton
What used to be known only for its fancy brunches and power lunches, the dec has since reinvented itself as a hot nightlife destination. Located on the 12th floor of the swanky Ritz-Carlton, the bar 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, Champagne, 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 jars filled with tuna tartare, bratwurst sliders, and mini ice-cream cookie sandwiches.

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