Spring is the start of seasons: baseball season, wedding season, and outdoor drinking season. (Guess which one we don’t care about?)
Now's the time to make a commitment to the ever-important spring patio. That way, while your girlfriend is out trying on lilac dresses, the only decision you'll need to make is which beer to order next.
Seven years ago, Big Star changed the way Chicagoans eat tacos by serving them outside with pitchers of margaritas, cans of Tecate, and cheap whiskey. This genius combination gets even better with the completion a massive patio expansion, which will soon convert the parking lot into space for more bright yellow chairs, metal tables, and al pastor goodness.
Now open. 1531 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park (773-235-4039)
For when the standard sidewalk patio just won't do, it’s time to upgrade to a private cabana in Sumi’s Zen garden. Yes, this is a thing that now exists in downtown Chicago and it comes with king crab, Wagyu ribeye, and chicken heart cooked on the robata grill. Sorry, geishas not included.
Opens late April. 702 N. Wells St., River North (312-988-7864)
When ordering drinks outdoors, why not order one with a side of Top Chef? When Fabio Viviani brought his baked lasagna, truffle gnocchi, and Kobe meatballs to Siena Tavern, we knew he would also bring a heavy Italian wine list and amazing fresh pizza. The soon-to-be-opened sidewalk patio is an added perk for urban al fresco dining during lunch or dinner.
Opens early May. 51 W. Kinzie St., River North (312-595-1322)
You’ve got your day-drinking patio, your business casual patio, and your Italian stallion of patios. RM Champagne Salon (pictured) is your patio for sipping champagne and gorging on chocolate truffles. Stop in one night with the girlfriend and after a few hours on the candlelit cobblestone patio, you'll have her eating out of the palm of your hand. Literally.
Opens mid April. 116 N. Green St., West Loop (312-243-1199)