photo: courtesy of Bridget Cicenia
For three, maybe four months if we're lucky, Chicagoans can take advantage of our beautiful lakefront city by partaking in festivals, countless BBQs and a slew of other seasonal perks that turn us into summertime revelers, who find joy in sipping a cold beer on a hot day. So as the season nears its end, we must enjoy every last second of the sun before it's time to trade in our margaritas for Irish Coffees. From summery cocktails to a beautiful rooftop deck, these drinking excursions will help you send the warm weather off with a bang and a buzz.
Slurp up a sno-cone at Red Kiva
Served in a martini glass, Red Kiva's signature adult sno-cones come in dangerously easy-to-drink, perfectly sweet flavors, like the Hawaiian (Malibu rum, pineapple juice and syrup). One taste will transport you back to childhood, when you'd churn out the icy treat with your very own Snoopy Sno-Cone machine. Don't forget that these versions come with a hefty dose of booze, though, so you might need to order a thin-crust prosciutto pizza to boost your tolerance. You'd be wise to come on a Sunday evening, when Trio De La Pena performs live jazzy house and hip-hop tunes, and snag a seat on the patio with its obstructed view of the Sears Tower.
Dance under the starts at Underground Existence Party
Chicago SummerDance cancelled the Wednesday night DJ series this year, but electronic fans looking to get their groove on are in luck: Underground Existence continues to throw free outdoor parties every Friday at Armitage and Milwaukee. DJs vary from week to week; past headliners included techno/electro artists Gabriel Palomo and Popcan. With few warm nights left, get out your dancing shoes and head to this party before they wrap things up on the 28th. The catch? There's no alcohol allowed, so slam a few rounds at the Green Eye beforehand.
Ride your bike to the beer garden at Hackney's on Harms
Kudos to all the bikers who can ride through winter, but for those of us who retire our bikes when the first snowflake falls, the time is now to take it for a quality ride, complete with mid-trail boozing. Starting at Devon and Milwaukee, hop on the old Schwinn and cruise the North Branch Trail for nine miles to Hackney's. Though its sister locations (including one in the South Loop) have respectable patios, this Hackney's boasts one of the best outdoor dining environs in the Chicagoland area. Towering silver poplars line the stately restaurant's backyard. Order a pint of Stiegl, a legendary burger served on rye and a thick-as-a-brick fried onion loaf. If you feel energized after eating, the trail extends another seven miles to the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Enjoy the rooftop deck at Chaise Lounge
The beachy, mostly white interior at Chaise Lounge will feel like a refreshing dose of Miami heat come the first frosty November night. But while the weather's warm, enjoy a cocktail on its rooftop patio, overlooking the bustle of North Avenue. Filled with bleached wood booths and white accents, the roof deck sets a sunny, relaxing scene. Tell your server to keep the yummy, house-marinated olives coming—it may take a while to decide which cocktail to try. For the freakishly hot September days, go for a frozen drink like the Peach Strawberry, made with Ciroc vodka, white peaches, strawberries and yogurt, blended until it becomes a thick mix of smoothie perfection.
Sip a fresh organic cocktail at Butterfly Social Club
Sure, you've hung up your bikini for the year, but that doesn't mean it's time to do damage to your bod'. The entire drink list here—including the alcoholic offerings—are some of the healthiest cocktails you can find, especially those made with freshly squeezed, organic orange juice. Order a mimosa, or try the Illuminating Juice, made with O.J. and 33 Amazon herbs and roots, and you're well on your way to building up your immune system before the harsh winter hits. And if the cocktails fail at transporting you mentally to a warm place, Butterfly's interior, made out of sustainable cobb and sporting a Mayan-inspired design, will make you feel like you're sipping in an exotic, tropical locale.