For the last several years in Chicago, everyone's drinking obsession has teetered between craft beers and classic cocktails. And while that's all good, one thing that will never go out of style is wine.
Some of our favorite wine-focused lounges, in fact, have been around town for awhile and continue to garner new fans.They include a few that have perfected the vino-and-vittles-pairing game as well as the city's only wine distillery that doubles as a live-music venue. We also spotlight some of the new kids on the block.
404 Wine Bar
Weekly specials abound at 404 Wine Bar, making it easy to try a new wine—maybe even one that you've never heard of before or from an unexpected region around the globe. Order a sparkling white, red, or rose to go alongside your noshes—small plates, cheese and charcuterie, and flatbreads—and settle in for a tastebud adventure. Insider's tip: pick a cozy seat next to the fireplace.
Sometimes we welcome an income tax, especially when it comes in the form of flowing wine, presented in a warm and inviting locale. Located in the north side Edgewater neighborhood, this trendy and lovely-in-every-way restaurant and wine bar has a nice list of French and Italian reds plus a selection of German whites to satiate your tastes. Instagram-worthy neo-bistro seasonal fare is offered, created by Chef Ellison Park. You won't leave hungry or disappointed.
Volo Restaurant Wine Bar
Located adjacent to the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Roscoe Village is a sleepy little area filled with charming vintage boutiques and shops as well as low key eating and drinking places. For wine, the place to be is Volo, which is best known for its year-round garden patio. The menu, prepared by chef and partner Stephen Dunne, consists of a rotating list of small plates, artisan cheeses and desserts like crispy eggplant, a flight of European cheeses and salted caramel chocolate mousse. There are around 30 wines available by the half glass, glass, taste, mini-carafe or full bottle to complement. 2008 W. Roscoe St., 773-348-4600
Everything doesn't have to be hectic at the airport. Offering a bit of solace is Beaudevin, which loosely translates into “the beauty of wine,” and is located in Concourse C near Gate 17 at O'Hare International Airport. The lounge is Euro influenced, and offers travelers a nice choice of more than 20 red, white and sparkling wines. It's much better swill than you'll get on the plane, plus the small plates (Scottish smoked salmon, turkey berry goat cheese, roasted herbed chicken) aren't bad either.
City Winery Chicago
The second outpost of the New York City-based urban winery is located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. In addition to holding the title as the city’s only fully operational winery, the sprawling venue serves as a restaurant, live-music venue and retail store. Genres are all over the place as far as music; it ranges from folk to funk. 1200 W. Randolph St., 312-733-9463
Eno Wine Bar
You'll find Eno Wine Bar on the lobby level of the Intercontinental Hotel--which is also home to Michael Jordan's Steak House located right off the Magnificent Mile. While guys go to Jordan's for the 45-day aged Porterhouse for two, ladies settle into this plush pub to match artisan chocolate truffles and cheeses with small-batch wine. You may also order wine, cheese and chocolates by the flight. There's an adjacent shop where you can purchase what you enjoyed. 505 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-4100
Managed and owned by the team behind Gibsons Steakhouse, Quartino feels like the slick neighborhood eatery in Italy where all the locals frequent. Its well-rounded menu lists all the housemade essentials: salumi, pastas, Neapolitan pizzas (and all the ingredients) and many of the seasonal dishes. At the heart of the beverage program is the wine, which of course is highly Italian influenced. You may order wine by the glass, bottle or quartino--of course. It's based in River North. 626 N. State St., 312-698-5000
Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar
Three former employees of the venerable Webster's Wine Bar got together to open this very neighborhood-focused bar specializing in wine and craft beer. Rootstock manages, of course, not to skimp on the offerings just because of its humble Humboldt Park home. Selections are spectacular, from the ever-changing menu of small, wine-friendly plates filled with lots of local ingredients to wine selections easily competing with the bigger downtown outfits. 954 N. California Ave., 773-292-1616
Webster's Wine Bar
In its Logan Square home, Webster's Wine Bar feels fresh and retains its position as one of Chicago's top date destinations. You'll find the main dining room to be cheerier than its predecessor, as its decor blends reclaimed and contemporary furnishings. It's a soothing enough setting to enjoy bites of fried ham and oysters, Spanish meatballs or a flight of charcuterie as you sip one of the comprehensive global wine selections. 2601 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-292-9463