Pride specials! Negroni Week! Fourth of July barbecue! Bastille Day! There’s a lot going on this season, and Chicago bars and restaurants are celebrating in style. Here are some of the best dining and drinking events and specials coming up this summer.
Photo courtesy of TAO Chicago
Giant Rainbow Fortune Cookies for Pride at TAO Chicago
Nothing says LGBTQ+ Pride quite like a giant, rainbow-colored fortune cookie, am I right? The wildest Pride special of the month, it’s available through the end of June at TAO, where the colorful confections come filled with white and dark mousse and quirky fortunes. They’re also served with tropical fruits and accented with both rainbow frosting and edible glitter, naturally.
Details: Through June 30Negroni Week at Bar Roma
Seeing as Negronis are my favorite classic cocktail, Negroni Week is truly a magical time of year for me, and Bar Roma is really raising the bar by offering three different variations, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. So really, it would actually be rude not to drink these. There’s a Blonde Negroni, a Boulevardier (like your classic Negroni, but with whiskey in place of gin), and a Sbagliato, a fizzy refresher that subs sparkling wine for gin. And guess what? They conveniently pair really well with Bar Roma’s pastas and meatballs!
Details: Through June 30
Photo by Nick Murway/Courtesy of Young American
Happy Hour at Young American
There’s a new happy hour in town, and it’s got sherry rickeys in tow. Young American, one of the hottest newish bars in Chicago, has rolled out a weekday happy hour, 4–6 p.m., with impressively affordable prices considering its prime Logan Square location. Look for $5 rickeys, $5 spirit-free cocktails, and $5 snacks.
Details: Weekdays, 4–6 p.m.The Dog Days of Summer at Cafe Brauer
As a dog owner who is constantly feeling compelled to dine and drink alfresco in the summer months, I’m always on the lookout for an idyllic patio that’s dog friendly. Rising to the occasion is Cafe Brauer, which is hosting Dog Days of Summer events this season, wherein the dog-friendly patio gets decked out with a puppy pool and treats are provided. Dogs also get their own little gift bag to take home, courtesy of Bentley’s Pets.
Details: June 30 and August 11, 9–11 a.m.Drink Stars & Stripes Cocktails at Castaways
When it comes to drinking for the Fourth of July, what could be more patriotic than a Miami Vice? How about a Miami Vice topped with blue curaçao to achieve the perfect blend of red, white, and blue? At Castaways, it’s called the Stars & Stripes, and it’s the most American thing you can imbibe. The cocktail is on special, July 1–7, ideally consumed on July 4 during the beachside bar’s holiday party with the DJ Firm.
Details: July 1–7
Photo courtesy of Saint Lou’s Assembly
Bristol, Beers & Barbecue
Watermelon salad, baby-back ribs, and pulled pork sandwiches are all on the menu at the Bristol, July 1–7, ensuring that these summery all-American essentials get the culinary treatment they deserve. It’s part of the restaurant’s special barbecue-themed menu (available alongside the regular menu), with proceeds supporting Kitchen Possible, which provides cooking and food education for kids in Chicago’s underserved communities.
Details: July 1–7One on One Happy Hour at Parlay at Joy District
The cheaper the drinks, the happier the happy hour, so by that logic the new recurring happy hour promo happening at Joy District’s Parlay Lounge is the happiest of them all. On the first of every month through summer, the bar is offering $1 beer and glasses of rosé, red sangria, and select wines, 6–7 p.m. It’s a surefire way to put you in a summery mood on the cheap.
Details: July 1 and August 1, 6–7 p.m.Go Red, White, and Lou at Saint Lou’s Assembly
Honestly, when I celebrate for the Fourth of July, all I really need is beer, hot dogs, and perhaps a pool to dip my toes in. For all of those reasons—and more!—Saint Lou’s Assembly is a top choice for July 4 festivities. The West Loop restaurant is throwing its Red, White, and Lou party on its dreamy back patio, complete with kiddie pools, grilled hot dogs, beer, and cocktail specials.
Details: July 5–7Friday Brunch at MAD Social
Let’s face it: Summer Fridays are made for playing hooky. MAD Social is here to tempt with its new Friday brunch hours, running through summer, with all your favorites: bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, short ribs Benedict, pancakes with salted caramel butter, chicken and waffles, and more. But if you must get some work done, the restaurant has wifi so you can still be responsible.
Details: Fridays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Margeaux Brasserie
Bastille Day Courtyard Celebration at Margeaux Brasserie
After you’re done drinking beer and eating hot dogs for the Fourth of July, don’t forget that France’s own Independence Day is just around the corner. And Margeaux Brasserie is celebrating in style with snacks, pastries, oysters, and a whole afternoon of festivities in the chic courtyard of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. Come hungry and peruse tasting stations stocked with boudin blanc baguettes, bouillabaisse brochettes, ham and Gruyère croissants, and more. To drink, there will be French cocktails, a mobile wine bike (!), beer from Moody Tongue, and champagne sabering “Olympics.” Family-friendly entertainment comes by way of balloon artists, face painters, and a cotton candy machine.
Details: July 14, 3–6 p.m.; $25Milk Bar Pop-Up at Big Star
Confession: I am completely obsessed with Milk Bar and am very eager/hopeful for it to open a bakery in Chicago. I just can’t get enough of its cookies and cereal milk soft serve! So imagine the excitement when Milk Bar announced it would be popping up for two days at Big Star, setting up shop in front of the Wicker Park hot spot in a vintage ice cream truck with fan-favorite items like compost cookies, Milk Bar pie, soft serve, and other items. It’s all part of Milk Bar’s All You Can Treat Tour, roving around the country this summer. I’ll be there.
Details: July 20 and 21