The 8 best wine bars in Chicago 2023
Fun, playful and modern, or classic and old-school? Whatever you prefer, Chicago has plenty for everyone. Here, Star Wine List's ambassador Torrence O'Haire has selected his favourite wine bars in the city.
Phone: +1 (773) 292-9463
Address: 2601 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago
Webster’s Wine Bar is a nearly 30-year-old institution in the Chicago wine scene, holding down its busy corner in Logan Square with devoted regulars and many popular public wine tasting events. They tout their expertise on “natural and minimal-intervention wines,” as is a trend in wine bars right now, and their generous glass-pour list leans heavily into the crunchy and funky with obvious passion. Their bottle list is broad and similarly creative, with a true dedication to appeasing the most intense wine nerds; 1993 Chinon Blanc, anyone? The food menu is concise and well-appointed to pair wit...
Phone: (773) 281-8888
Address: 2232 West Roscoe Street, Chicago
Originally a local-darling of a wine shop started 20 years ago, Lush has since evolved into a tasting room/wine bar/bistro with three locations and a dedicated following of passionate partakers. The Roscoe Village wine retail room is a veritable theme park of bottles of all levels, price points, and rarity (all of which are drinkable on-site with a minor corkage fee), and the large bar area and pretty patio offer guests a great spot to sit and wax poetic about the world of wine. The menu offers a wide range of fairly classic (but great quality) glass pours, with an open array of flight optio...
Phone: +1(773) 292-1616
Address: 954 North California Avenue, Chicago
A quick stop west of downtown, one of the gems in the Humboldt Park neighborhood is this long-standing wine bar with a massive local following. The vibe is exactly what a cozy neighborhood hole-in-the-wall should be, with dim lighting, low ceilings, and significant kitsch-factor in the decor, but the menu is anything but ordinary. The wine program leans into the trendy “natural wine” movement but without dogma or pretention. A generous list of crunchy options highlighting the bar’s nerd-chic style - Jura, Basque cider, sherry, orange wine, and ancestral method sparklers all share strong place...
Phone: +1 (773) 486-8525
Address: 2728 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago
I’ll try to write this as professionally as I’m able, because I adore Table, Donkey, and Stick. Consider even that the subtitle of this small, rustic bistro & wine bar is “crusty bread, brandy, fire” - how could it not be exceptional? Table, Donkey, and Stick is tucked into the Logan Square neighborhood, a short jaunt from downtown Chicago (and a fun area for trendy new food and drink options). Their menu is gently alpine-themed, with an excellent selection of cheeses and charcuterie, and a regularly changing array of small plates. A few (very delicious) entrées are on offer, but the menu cle...
Phone: +1 (773) 661-1599
Address: 2119 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago
All Together Now is a fun neighborhood spot that does an excellent job acting as both retail (a funky wine shop and carryout deli/fromagerie) and bistro, with a fresh, modern menu of great sandwiches, vegetable-heavy small plates, and some of my favorite cheese-and-charcuterie boards in the city. The well-priced wine program invites exploration: they offer a creative glass-pour list, and for a very reasonable $10 to $ 15 corkage fee, they’ll serve any of the 150 bottle options they offer in their wine shop. They feature predominantly modernist (some might say verging on “hipster”) wines, with...
Phone: +! 3122667677
Address: 601 North State Street, Chicago
40 years of popping bottles has enshrined Pops for Champagne with a title of “Chicago standard,” undoubtedly. Situated on a busy corner in the heart of downtown Chicago’s shopping district, visitors are delighted to find a charming, unpretentious (though clearly high-end) champagne bar that speaks directly to locals and wine nerds, not just crowds of tourists. Boasting one of the best champagne collections I’ve ever seen, one is invited to dive as deeply into sparkling-wine-obsession as their interest (and pocketbook) allows. The atmosphere is comfortable, the staff knowledgable and welcomin...
Phone: +1 (312) 624-8055
Address: 831 North State Street, Chicago
The newest restaurant from local Master Sommelier Alpana Singh, Alpana is a beautifully designed dinner spot in Chicago’s glamorous Gold Coast. Take a seat at the gorgeous bar or book a table and enjoy a creative menu of globally influenced, Italian-inspired cuisine, with options like tagliatelle and romesco sauce or “butter chicken meatballs” - both delicious. Earning my “best wine-list writing” award (for what it’s worth), the wine list truly shines, demonstrating wine director Singh’s expertise, as well as the skill of her team. Each wine is well-described in a concise, welcoming blurb th...
Phone: +1 (312) 578-0763
Address: 18 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
On the main Millenium Park drag in downtown Chicago, things can get eye-rollingly touristy pretty quickly. But, in a desert of chain restaurants, deep-dish pizza, and food-truck hot dogs, a cozy, charmingly Italianate, upscale wine bar like Acanto is an oasis. Honor dictates that I disclose this restaurant is a part of the group I work for personally, but it’s also the restaurant I visit the most in my free time, so reader, take that as you will. With a bustling downtown clientele, Acanto’s buzz in their dimly lit dining room, their direct-from-Milan marble bar, or their lush sidewalk patio...