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Diners' Choice: Lively restaurants in Chicago / Illinois

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OpenTable
Updated June 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that have the most vibrant bar scenes in Chicago / Illinois? 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!

A photo of Okay Cannabis- Wheeling restaurant
5.0
5 (28)
$30 and under
American
Wheeling
About the restaurant
A cannabis dispensary store, bakery, café, consumption lounge, and full bar – all in one storefront. Okay Cannabis Experience is now open in Wheeling, IL! Okay is a cannabis-lifestyle dispensary for experienced & cannabis- curious people seeking to reset their state of mind, friendships, and social equity. In these challenging times, we believe that you’re okay, and I’m okay, and together—we’re all okay. Okay is already receiving rave reviews for incredible customer service, fantastic pricing & daily specials, a top-notch loyalty rewards program, and an incredible dispensary vibe unlike any other
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 5 days ago
Our friend got sick from partaking too much and the lady who was working there that night was so nice to us. No one was judgemental and they genuinely wanted to make sure our buddy was okay. We most definitely will be recommending people here and coming back.
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
Lg790
Dined on May 25, 2024
This was a wonderful experience and I’ve already booked my next tasting. Small and intimate. The sommelier was so knowledgeable.
A photo of The Berkshire Room restaurant
4.9
4.9 (36)
$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
LisaB
Dined 2 days ago
Went early on a Tuesday and the ambience was quiet and private, which is what my group wanted. Cocktails were excellent and the charcuterie and cheese were a nice accompaniment. Service was excellent.
A photo of The Alderman restaurant
4.9
4.9 (189)
$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 Dinervip
Dined on Jun 7, 2024
In my top three bars in Chicago. Outstanding cocktails and vibe. Best seats are at the bar.
A photo of McNally's Pub restaurant
4.9
4.9 (18)
$31 to $50
Irish
St. Charles
About the restaurant
Imagine a place where everyone is welcomed and makes you feel right at home! Look no further than McNally’s Traditional Irish Pub. A pillar in the community, McNally’s has served St. Charles for 25 years! Looking for authentic Irish ambiance? Our management team was born & raised in Ireland. That’s just part of the reason we’re “Like Ireland…only closer!”

Known for Fish n’ Chips, Corned Beef & Cabbage and Bangers & Mash, McNally's is also the perfect place in town to get a pint of Guinness and amazing Irish Whiskeys. If you are looking for true authentic food and a traditional atmosphere, McNally’s is a must stop.
Top review
MikeKvip
Dined on May 18, 2024
Went for lunch on a beautiful day and sat outside- so cute on patio. Food was delicious and we will be back!
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 Bub City restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1479)
$31 to $50
Barbecue
River North (Chicago)
About the restaurant
Bub City is the destination for barbecue, whiskey and live country music and is open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late night dining. The Southern spot offers house-smoked BBQ, more than 125 different whiskeys from well-known and independent distilleries throughout the country and live country music.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
Food was reasonable priced with a great location. Definitely will recommend and revisit!
A photo of Vol. 39 restaurant
4.8
4.8 (68)
$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
GinnaRvip
Dined on Jun 4, 2024
First visit here and I loved the vibe! Our server was terrific and the food & wine were exactly what we were looking for. Can't wait to go back.
A photo of Hey Nonny restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1036)
$30 and under
American
Arlington Heights
About the restaurant
Located in downtown Arlington Heights, Hey Nonny offers an intimate live music experience where great music, outstanding food, and excellent drinks.

Hey Nonny is comprised of two parts: a music listening room where great musicians engage with the audience, and a New American Bistro. We also have a Chef's Table experience available Tuesday-Thursday between 7-8 p.m. Please book a reservation to reserve a spot, we will also have some walk-in tables available on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Top review
WilliamH
Dined 5 days ago
It was my first visit to this splendid & well known music venue & my first time in Arlington Heights for an early, late spring dinner solo & a show. Seated at a. Outdoor two top, the hostess & server dealt well with the single diner, and a non drinking one as well. Well versed with the menu, I went for the seared scallops with bacon grits & a pea purée. The scallops were well cooked, & the grits & pea purée were both terrific, sadly only warm. I was as far from the kitchen on a busy Saturday night: it happens & it was delicious anyway, from start to finish. I don’t understand the use of this particular plate for this dish, but that’s why I’m a psychologist not a restauranteur. Liz Longley, the performer was phenomenal. Worthy of the venue. Acoustics are solid.
A photo of Nancy's Pizza - West Loop restaurant
4.8
4.8 (44)
$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 Jun 9, 2024
We’re from Sacramento and we would totally return to this place. Service was 10/10 and food was exceptionally delicious.
Explore Diners' Choice best of Chicago / Illinois
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