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5 Hot Chicago Rooftop Bars

Memorial Day marks the “official” start to summer, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. The Windy City boasts some stellar outdoor rooftop bars where you can embrace the season—and take in enviable city views. Here are six you won't want to miss. Cheers!

1. Cerise, Virgin Hotel

Location: On the roof of the new Virgin Hotel (formerly the Dearborn Bank) at 203 N Wabash.

What’s happening nearby? The Randolph/Wabash and Madison/Wabash “L” stations, originally opened in 1896, are being phased out for a new train station at Washington/Wabash. The City awarded F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen a $74.8M contract for construction and the station is set to open in 2016.

Why it sizzles: Had one too many cocktails and need to stay over? You’re at the right place. Guests at the Virgin Hotel can use an app with an assistant, Lucy, to order pillows, change the temperature, request late-night food and play movies because “she’ll make it happen without you having to talk to anyone.”

2. GRK Greek Kitchen

Location: With fast-casual spots all over the city, GRK Greek Kitchen outlet at 400 S Wells in the South Loop has a second-floor rooftop bar.

What’s in the nabe? Down the street at 800 S Wells St, CMK and Lend Lease are developing 13 acres into offices, multifamily and retail. The project will cost $1.5B.

Why it sizzles: The new spot is a revamped version of the old Cal’s Liquors and, in a nod to the former bar, guests can purchase booze to go and enjoy with their Mediterranean fare.

3. 52Eighty

Location: Steps from the Magnificent Mile at 166 E Superior St, on the roof of the “casual chic” MileNorth Hotel.

What’s in the nabe? Hotels and shopping abound on Michigan Avenue. Fillmore Hospitality recently took over this hotel’s management. MileNorth’s 450 SF hotel rooms are among the largest in the city.

Why it sizzles: Get your cards read with your martini as the space hosts psychic readings from 6-8pm.

4. The dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar

Location: 160 E Pearson St atop the Four Seasons Hotel.

What’s in the nabe? Uniglo is opening its 60k SF flagship store at 830 N Michigan Ave. This will be its second-largest store after its New York City outlet and marks Uniglo’s Midwest debut.

Why it sizzles: The dec is 12 stories up and boasts “The Lens.” Inspired by Millennium Park’s “Cloud Gate” sculpture (aka “The Bean”), it reflects all the beautiful people sipping and schmoozing and is perfect for taking selfies.

5. Tanta

Location: 118 W Grand Ave in River North. 

What’s happening nearby? River North is exploding: NEXT at NoCA at 347 W Chestnut St will bring 310 apartments and 6k SF of ground-floor retail, and WeWork signed a lease for the old Google space spanning 105k SF at 20 W Kinzie.

Why it sizzles: The Peruvian restaurant has not one, but two, bars and is known for its exemplary pisco cocktails. If drinks are not your thing, the food menu by chef Gaston Acurio is outstanding.

6. IO Rooftop Lounge

Location: The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, 127 W Huron St

What’s happening nearby? Located in the heart of River North’s bustling nightlife district, IO is blocks from Eight O Five, a 35-story, 295-apartment tower set to open June 15.

Why it sizzles: Two bars and a retractable roof allow guests to enjoy beautiful views year-round.