The 14 best wine restaurants in Chicago 2023
Chicago's food scene is buzzing, and there are plenty of amazing restaurants where you also can find great wine lists. Here Torrence O'Haire, Star Wine List's ambassador in the city, has selected his favourite wine restaurants – check out the guide!
Phone: +1 (312) 464-1744
Address: 444 Michigan Avenue, Chicago
A rather hidden gem on the “Magnificent Mile” of downtown Chicago, Purple Pig sits at the back of a main-drag retail front as a welcome sanctuary from the throngs of shoppers. It’s definitely easy to miss, and yet its reputation ensures it’s always bustling. The Purple Pig claimed its style as a salumeria/charcuterie specialist, and they indeed do that remarkably well, though their full menu - tapas-style small plates from around the Mediterranean meant for sharing - is diverse and delicious. It’s a delight to find a menu in a pizza-soaked area known for catering to families and tourists tha...
Phone: +1 (312) 377-2002
Address: 615 West Randolph Street, Chicago
Put in the simplest words: Avec was one of the first restaurants I ever visited in Chicago back in my college years. Avec is still one of my favorite spots, now that I live here some 15 years later. The bright, golden location provides that charming combination of warm and stark that can only say “wine bar”. Situated just outside the main Fulton Street Market area (which can be a bit of a yuppie-bermuda-triangle on a busy night), it benefits from a little quieter city block - but certainly can be just as impossible to find a seat without a reservation on the weekends. The menu is unabashedly...
Phone: +1 (312) 332-7005
Address: 71 West Monroe Street, Chicago
Italian Village is an experience in its own right, for certain. Turn the kitsch-factor up to eleven, color everything in 1970’s Italian-American technicolor, and ignore any diet goals for an evening of red sauce and melted cheese, in the best, most low-key hedonistic way. As you’re burrowing through your lasagne, be prepared to be thoroughly impressed by one of the largest wine collections in Chicago, with 1,300 primarily Italian listings of truly impressive breadth and depth. This is a true history of Italian wine - no modernists allowed. Libraries of reserve wines, all the famous names fro...
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: (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: +! 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 (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: +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...
Phone: +1 (312) 441-1920
Address: 123 North Jefferson Street, Chicago
Fine dining can be a hotly debatable concept - one diner values ostentation, another precision, and another innovation, each arguing which restaurant is “better”. In contrast to fussier or more luxurious locations, Sepia sits comfortably in my esteem as simply “impressive.” Sepia is a plush, gorgeous location tucked into downtown’s “Printers’ Row” (hence the print-themed name and decor) that has held an esteemed spot among Chicago fine dining for fifteen years. The cuisine is clean, modern, and excellently composed - with some of my favorite desserts in the city - and the service is warmly pro...
Phone: +1 (312) 944-8888
Address: 8 West Maple Street, Chicago
The jewel of the luxurious Gold Coast neighborhood north of downtown is certainly Maple + Ash, a huge, glamorous steakhouse lead by a two-Michelin-starred chef, and boasting what has been lauded as one of the “world’s best wine lists.” Everything about this spot is over-the-top, from their 100+ page wine list to their “I don’t give a f*@k” option on their dinner menu, where, for a large chunk of cash, they parade food out to your table all night. The raw bar is excellent, and, while there are some lovely composed entrees, the steaks and chops are clearly the emphasis here. The wine list is o...
Phone: +1 (312) 877-5348
Address: 700 North Sedgwick Street, Chicago
"Near downtown, Obélix is a new location from the owners of the local favorite French spot Le Bouchon. An upgrade in cosmopolitan style, apropos of the spendy River North neighborhood, Obélix retains its French style, but with a slightly more modernist, global culinary touch (think: duck breast with miso, steak tartare with kombu). They also have a lovely variety of raw-bar options, perfect to take advantage of alongside their champagne collection. The wine list is nearly exclusively French (with a dozen U.S. bottles provided mostly for the stubborn), and they do it very well. The generous of...
Phone: +1 (773) 309-2300
Address: 163 North Green Street, Chicago
Tucked into the heart of the trendy Fulton Market District is one of Chicago’s newer wine-centric restaurants: The Oakville Grill and Cellar. In a neighborhood that can often be more style than substance, The Oakville boasts a surprising amount of both. With two gorgeous levels including a beautiful outdoor top-floor patio, and a dinner menu of fresh, seasonal, “California-style” cuisine, The Oakville is an Instagram influencer’s dream. The wine program pulls zero punches - it does a commendable job of balancing the expected index of famous Napa names with plenty of delightful surprises (when...