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Diners' Choice: Lively restaurants in Chicago

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OpenTable
Updated July 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that have the most vibrant bar scenes in Chicago? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


About the restaurant
Step inside The Cellar Door, a unique experience from The Oakville Grill & Cellar in the Fulton Market District of Chicago that emulates the offerings of featured California vineyards, rotating monthly.

The Cellar Door tasting room offers seating for up to six guests from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and from 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM Saturdays & Sundays. During the tasting, you’ll savor select pours from the vineyard’s current selection. A chef-curated cheese & salumi pairing is available to add on to the experience.

Please note that access to the full dinner menu is not included in this experience, and reservations are required ahead of time to secure a table after or before the experience. Our team will do our best to accommodate any last-minute requests.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 7, 2024
Scott O’Brien was an awesome sommelier host!! We could have an a better experience!!
A photo of Tanoshii - West Loop restaurant
4.9
4.9 (764)
$31 to $50
Japanese
West Loop
About the restaurant
Try our unique omakase where our chefs will work around your restrictions to course out a mix of traditional, and non-traditional, fare. With signature dishes like our fish & chips and bluefin truffle sashimi, dressed nigiri pieces, and our off menu "special rolls", let our chefs take care of you. Otherwise, order from the menu with many small-bite options, nigiri/sashimi, maki, entrees, or order the chef special rolls à la carte. We pride ourselves on our fish quality. We also have vegetarian off menu special rolls and many vegetarian options!

We have a full bar, which features a full selection of Japanese whisky, sake, cocktails, and more.

Also, since this comes up so often, all of the (many, many) plants throughout the restaurant are real!






We have no affiliation with any other Tanoshii and Sushi Mike

Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on Jul 6, 2024
Always amazing! This should be a go-to spot for anyone looking for good sushi!
A photo of The Berkshire Room restaurant
4.9
4.9 (38)
$30 and under
Cocktail Bar
River North (Chicago)
About the restaurant
The Berkshire Room is an upscale lounge specializing in craft cocktails all created by a talented team. The atmosphere is retro classy and definitely worth a visit before or after dinner for cocktails with friends. There is ample seating either in the private side rooms, the booths in the lounge area or at the bar. The clientele that frequent the Berkshire Room rave about the dealers' choice, which allows guests to choose the spirit, flavor profile and glassware. The bartender then customizes a unique and customized cocktail.

Besides the tasty cocktails and the relaxing ambiance, the Berkshire also offers bar snacks and small dishes. The Berkshire room is located within River North's swanky ACME hotel.

Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined on Jun 20, 2024
Great spot for a date. Drinks were awesome - let the bartender whip up something for you.
A photo of Gaijin restaurant
4.9
4.9 (10)
$30 and under
Japanese
West Loop
About the restaurant
Gaijin by Chef Paul Virant is Chicago’s first okonomiyaki restaurant, offering both Hiroshima and Osaka styles of the savory Japanese pancake. A self-described gaijin, or “outsider” in Japanese, Virant playfully embraces this perspective and honors traditional preparations and techniques, as well as his well-known passion for pickling and preserving.

Designed to deliver a lively and interactive culinary experience, the 60-seat space is anchored by a custom 12-foot griddle and chef’s counter and offers individual Hiroshima teppan griddles for table service.

The dessert menu features kakigori, a shaved ice dessert, along with mochi donuts and other Japanese-inspired treats. The bar program showcases highballs and a focused selection of beer – including a Moody Tongue-Gaijin collaboration house lager, sake, Japanese whisky, and wine.

We can’t wait to see you at Gaijin!

Top review
SavorThis
Dined on Jul 12, 2024
We ordered the Octopus Okonomiyaki Passport, Marinated Beef Ribs, Pork Belly Yakisoba, Seasonal Green Beans and Pickled Veggies. Except for the rice, everything else was 4 stars. Minor issue but my daughter said sub-par rice at an Asian place is no no. Cocktail bar made great Toki Highballs, Last Word and a Naked and Famous. Appreciate the friendly and attentive staff. We will be back the next time we are in town.
A photo of The Alderman restaurant
4.9
4.9 (193)
$30 and under
Cocktail Bar
Pilsen
About the restaurant
Winner of the 2022 Jean Banchet Award for Best Bar, THE ALDERMAN is an intimate, 16-seat cocktail bar tucked away, behind closed doors, within Pilsen Yards. The cocktail list rotates some of its original cocktail features, while the twists on American classics are staples of the cocktail list.

With a plush velvet banquette and a 4-seat counter, it’s the perfect room for a night cap, a date, or a casual evening of one to several astonishingly good cocktails.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 7 days ago
Roger, the mixologist, took us on an adventure. He explained each cocktail. One person didn't like her cocktail and found something else's that she loved. It's dark, so my eyes had to adjust. We had a great time and will be back.
A photo of The Omakase Room at Sushi-san restaurant
4.9
4.9 (55)
$50 and over
Japanese
River North (Chicago)
About the restaurant
The Omakase Room at Sushi-san is a culmination of Master Sushi Chefs Kaze Chan and Shigeru Kitano’s combined experience defining the Chicago sushi scene. While the menu and service are informed by tradition, guests can expect a transcendent experience that breaks down the formality and austerity usually accompanying omakase dining. Each dinner in the warm, modern, and intimate ten-seat space features luxury ingredients from around the world. Sophisticated and carefully curated beverage pairings are available to complement the meal.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 7, 2024
This was a great experience. Very well put together and the quality of the fish was incredible. Will come back
A photo of Nancy's Pizza - West Loop restaurant
4.9
4.9 (49)
$30 and under
Pizza Bar
West Loop
About the restaurant
Nancy's Pizza, the iconic Chicago brand that invented the stuffed pizza, has finally arrived in the heart of Chicago's restaurant district at 1000 West Washington in the West Loop. We have a story to tell, and we're telling it in a swanky spot that pays homage to its 1971 roots. While the menu is dominated by the brand's famous stuffed pizza, Nancy's offers a variety of pizza styles, including thin crust and "rustic" pizza, along with chef-created salads, pastas, sandwiches, appetizers and desserts. Most importantly, every item on the menu is made with only the freshest ingredients, and the comfortable bar features a selection of craft, imported and domestic beer (rotated seasonally) on draft and in bottles, signature cocktails and a nice selection of wine. The restaurant's design evokes the 1970s in tasteful surroundings with winks at retro design including lots of wood veneer, wallpaper that varies from flocked and geometrically patterned to an homage to Andy Warhol in the men's roo
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 9, 2024
We ordered the Caesar salad, the wings (bone in) with buffalo sauce and the original stuffed pizza with pepperoni. Everything was delicious, the wings had a crisp texture on the outside and the homemade buffalo sauce was just perfect!
A photo of Tokyo Last Call restaurant
4.9
4.9 (9)
$30 and under
Japanese
River North (Chicago)
About the restaurant
Three Dots and a Dash introduces Tokyo Last Call, a Japanese-inspired listening pop up sponsored by Suntory and -196. Curated by Beverage Director Kevin Beary and Bar Manager Scott Kitsmiller, this series aims to transport guests to Japan's cocktail scene. Collaborating with renowned Japanese bars like Trench, Katana Kitten, SG Club, and Bar Goto, Three Dots and a Dash promises an immersive experience blending music, drinks, and atmosphere. The menu boasts cocktails utilizing Suntory spirits and rare Japanese whiskeys available for select pours, complemented by guided tastings led by Suntory's US brand ambassador, Davey Jones. Each menu draws inspiration from traditional Japanese techniques and flavors, creating a unique journey through Japan's bustling bar scene.

Bar Goto: April 4-7 (Guest Bartender: Kenta Goto)
Katana Kitchen: April 11-14 (Guest Bartender: Lorenzo Cyril)
Bar Trench: April 18-21 (Guest Bartender: Rogerio Igarashi)
SG Club: April 25-28 (Guest Bartender: Takumi Hoshi)

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Apr 27, 2024
Amazing ambiance, decor, and drinks. Loved how unique everything was! Would definitely recommend and go again
A photo of Theory Chicago restaurant
4.8
4.8 (306)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Near North
About the restaurant
Our goal is to make Theory your home away from home. Theory is a cozy, upscale sports lounge with an emphasis on comfort, good food, and great service. We can accommodate groups from 2 to 350 for dining and corporate events. Our menu features american cuisine with southern and Mexican touches. We hope to see you here soon.
Top review
TheodoreB
Dined on Jul 7, 2024
They got up early and opened the bar and kitchen for our Formula 1 British Grand Prix and that's something special. Thanks to the team, the Mgt. & Ownershiop for hosting the Grand Prix LIVE watch Party.
A photo of Vol. 39 restaurant
4.8
4.8 (69)
$31 to $50
Cocktail Bar
Downtown / Loop
About the restaurant
Tucked away in the The Kimpton Gray Hotel is our library of spirits. Vol. 39 is an upscale bar and cocktail lounge in Chicago’s Loop where friendly faces serve classic drinks like Old Fashioneds and Expresso Martinis. For a speakeasy feel with the comfort of your neighborhood bar, Vol. 39’s collection of wine, whiskey and other craft spirits is the ideal spot for an intimate date night, networking with colleagues, pub crawl or your first drink of the night.
Top review
Scottvip
Dined on Jul 6, 2024
Drinks were great! Extensive menu for cocktails and just about any spirit you can imagine is there as well as an extensive wine menu. Cool vibe on 2nd floor of hotel.
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