French-Focused Lounges Add Element of Sophistication To Chicago

The French can do no wrong.

They perfected fashion, sparkling wine and haute cuisine. No doubt they excel at nightlife as well.

In Chicago, some of the best nightlife options go all out with an ooh la la theme: from impressively curated Champagne programs to guests who step it up with style and treat every occasion special. The Gold Coast's Bistronomic, for example, boasts an owner/chef from Paris, authentic bistro fare and a beverage list that plays up fancy French drinks and wine selections.

Find out more about Bistronomic, plus several additional favorites below.

  • 01 of 09
    Photo courtesy of Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

    Mysterious, sexy and dark, the French-themed steakhouse offers two levels where guests may dine, drink and be merry. While the vibe upstairs can be a bit intense at times, the lower level feels like a funky den where music varies from French house and acid jazz to old-school hip-hop. The beverage menu includes many French wines, six sparkling cocktails (including classics French 75 and Kir Royale), two French beers and four cognacs. 218 W. Kinzie St., 312-624-8154

  • 02 of 09


    Photo courtesy of Bistronomic

    Owned by a Frenchman from Paris, the Gold Coast restaurant attracts a good number of Europeans, who settle in at the tiny bar overlooking the dining room. They’re typically drinking champs and signature cocktails with French spirits like Chambord, Pernod and Lillet Blanc. Brunch at Bistronomic gets sleek with bottomless Mimosas and Croque Madames. 840 N. Wabash Ave., 312-944-8400

  • 03 of 09

    The Blanchard

    Photo courtesy of Matt Lowell

    In an area dominated by sports bars and pizza joints, this award-winning French gem is a breath of fresh air. Located in Lincoln Park, The Blanchard is classic and modern simultaneously, and its adjacent drinkery has quickly become a sexy new hot spot for date night. Pull up seats to the bar and order one of four foie gras presentations paired with one of the house cocktails. Choose from The Blanchard's signature Old Fashioned of whiskey, vanilla and lavendar fumé and aromatic bitters; a Negroni or La Vie en Rose of vodka, lemongrass syrup, cocchi rosa aperitif wine and rose water. 1935 North Lincoln Park West, 872-829-3971

  • 04 of 09


    Photo courtesy of Brindille

    Step into Brindille and you'll be transported to Carrie Nahabedian's Paris, with a James Beard Award-winning interior. The tables are covered in french linens and your meal of foie gras, lamb or filet of arctic char will be served on fine China. Order absinthe to finish the meal. For something truly special, indulge in either the five-course chef menu or the eight-course tasting menu with wine parings. C'est magnifique! 

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  • 05 of 09
    Photo courtesy of Sofitel Hotel Chicago

    Sofitel Hotel Water Tower remains a favorite among European visitors, and a trip to the dazzling lobby lounge is almost always on the agenda. An exotic playlist serves as background music as guests nosh on chef-driven small plates paired with French-accented cocktails and other beverages. Each month the bar features food, drink and culture from a different region in France, from Bordeaux to Saint Tropez. 20 E. Chestnut St., 312-324-4000

  • 06 of 09

    Le Colonial

    Photo courtesy of Le Colonial

    With almost 20 years in one of the trendiest sections of the Gold Coast, the fashionable French-Vietnamese restaurant continues to be a hot spot. Le Colonial's upper-level cocktail lounge--which includes a terrace overlooking the bustling Rush Street as well as cushy seating surrounded by exotic plants and artwork--is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. Celebrities from Mick Jagger to Robert DeNiro have been known to frequent when in town. 937 N. Rush St., 312-255-0088

  • 07 of 09

    Maude’s Liquor Bar

    Photo courtesy of Maude's Liquor Bar

    Owned by the same team behind Bavette’s, Maude’s considers itself to be a French “dive bar.” But for a dive bar, it certainly outshines its counterparts, offering at its center craft cocktails, a host of offbeat French wines and more. Like many of the French-themed bars around town, Maude’s is a great date place with low lights, sultry exotic beats and an intimate setting. 840 W. Randolph St., 312-243-9712

  • 08 of 09

    Pops For Champagne

    Photo courtesy of Pops for Champagne

    Considered to be the country’s first-ever champagne lounge, Pops is in its second location and still going strong. The more than 200 selections are meant to pair with chef-driven dishes such as charcuterie, caviar, oysters and cheese. There’s also live jazz regularly, so the target audience is a mature crowd. 601 N. State St., 312-266-7677

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  • 09 of 09

    RM Champagne Salon

    Photo courtesy of RM Champagne Salon

    Half the fun of RM is finding it. There’s no signage over the long walkway that leads to the back patio of the city’s second champagne bar. The entrance is also in the rear and leads into a lounge that’s full of reclaimed furniture from several French regions. The crowd is younger and trendier than at Pops, and there’s a more expanded cocktail program. 116 N. Green St., 312-243-1199