Chicago's Best Beer Gardens: Old Town Edition

05/23/2011 02:19 pm ET | Updated Jul 23, 2011
  • Ashley Henshaw

We’re slowly but surely making our way through Chicago’s outdoor drinking scene. We’ve already introduced you to the Edgewater eateries offering outdoor dining and booze, and our next stop is Old Town. Check out one of the following fine drinking destinations on your next visit to this near north ‘hood.

O’ Brien’s Restaurant and Bar: The spacious patio at O’Brien’s really does resemble a garden thanks to colorful murals and a charming gazebo bar. Unlike most beer gardens, however, this patio stays open year round thanks to a heated tenting system. Compared to the more formal feel inside the restaurant, this patio offers a casual vibe with wooden chairs and plasma TVs. Thankfully, diners in this area of the restaurant still get access to the full menu, which features plenty of seafood entrees.
1528 N Wells St.; 312-787-3131

Benchmark: This sports bar takes outdoor drinking to new heights with its stunning second-floor beer garden. This is by no mean your ordinary patio – an entire wall and a portion of the roof were specially built to retract so that patrons can enjoy that fine summer breeze in warmer months. With tons of flat screens, this is a prime place to watch just about any sporting event. Plus, Benchmark also offers a menu of affordable pub grub and plenty of craft brews on tap.
1510 N. Wells St.; 312-649-9640

Kamehachi: This casual sushi bar offers a lush Japanese garden where diners can enjoy the flowery sights and smells along with their dinner and drinks. Though the patio is enclosed and heated in the winter, the best time to drink at Kamehachi is during the warmer months, when the greenery is in full bloom. Another major bonus here is the late-night hours, so getting your sushi and cocktail fix after dinner time is no longer an issue.
1400 N. Wells St.; 312-664-3663

Sully’s House: Since Sully’s can get a bit crowded with co-eds on some nights, the rooftop patio makes for an excellent way to escape the crowds. Rather than standard tables and chairs, Sully’s adds a touch of class with plenty of cushioned couches and pillows for relaxing plus a discrete rooftop restroom so patrons won’t have to climb up and down the stairs all night. Be sure to ask about drink specials as there are usually quite a few deals available any given day of the week.
1501 N. Dayton St.; 773-244-1234

Topo Gigio Ristorante: Rather than the sports bar atmosphere found at several other beer gardens in this area, Topo Gigio offers a more romantic approach, with cozy tables and candles making for a lovely date night. If you prefer, you can also belly up to the outdoor bar at this casual eatery. Meanwhile, the menu of classic Italian entrees is a little on the pricier side but definitely worth it for the high quality and authenticity.
1516 N. Wells St.; 312-266-9355