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Wine Bar

  • j

My wife and I will be visiting Chicago next weekend - staying at the Hotel Monaco. Any recommendations for interesting wine bars?

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  1. Avec is always a nice choice and is a short cab ride from your hotel. I don't know if it's a wine bar in the technical sense of the word, but the food is great and they have a really interesting wine list.

    Also, a bit of a further cab ride, but I enjoy Websters Wine Bar.

    615 W Randolph St
    (312) 377-2002

    Webster's Wine Bar
    1480 W Webster

    1. I second the rec for Webster's.

      My other favorite wine bar is The Tasting Room (1415 W. Randolph).

      Between Webster's and The Tasting Room, The Tasting Room is closer to your hotel (still a cab ride away), but Webster's has a cozier atmosphere, and a wider menu of food. The Tasting Room is along a whole row a great restaurants on West Randolph (including Avec) if you want to eat first and then go there for a drink.

      1. If you're interested in considering restaurants with great wine lists, rather than places that are strictly wine bars, a good place to start is Wine Spectator Magazine. They have given their Award of Excellence to 94 restaurants in Illinois, and you can see the complete list here:
        Click on the column headings to sort by restaurant name, city, or award.

        You can use a web search engine to find the websites for most of the award-winning restaurants, and then check to see which of them show their wine lists on the website (quite a few do).

        1. second the recommendations for the tasting room and Avec
          I very much enjoy them both. Avec has in my opinion better food if you are looking to have a meal but it can become very crowded
          The tasting room runs some wonderful by the glass options and does half price on Monday or Tuesday (Check with them) and that is a great deal

          I went to Eno in the intercontinental hotel on Michigan Ave on Friday
          They serve wine cheese and chocolate only
          Very good cheese (I love the stuff) kind of expensive
          Wines by the glass around $17.00 but some very good options and a great staff full of information

          1. Bin 36 next to the House of Blues. They have lots of wines by the glass and you can buy a taste, a glass, or flights. They have a cheese bar, too.

            8 Replies
            1. re: PamelaD

              I'll second Bin 36. Good variety of wines, good range of price, with nothing on the lower end of price even tasting like it. Good cheeses. Can't vouch for dinner. And, if you sit at the bar, the bartenders are very pleasant/fun. We usually stop everytime we're in Chicago at least for one glass of wine.

              1. re: PamelaD

                I think the food at Bin 36 is mediocre, but the wine selection is not shabby.

                1. re: JoLi

                  Absolutely. Didn't mean to suggest otherwise. As I say, I'd rather sit at the bar, nibble and drink.

                2. re: PamelaD

                  Bin 36 is okay... but Bin Cafe is much better! Owned/Run/Managed by the same group, but Bin Cafe is less 'stuffy' and more warm/inviting!


                  1. re: Chicago Michele

                    Does Bin Cafe have little snacks to eat with your wine, or do you have to order a meal during the week? I just noticed their "Weekend Nosh," not anything about during the week.

                    1. re: christina_hunnicutt

                      Yes, they have smaller dishes, cheeses, etc. I definitely like Bin Cafe better than Bin 36, though the oysters at Bin 36 are quite nice.

                      1. re: leek

                        So is Bin Cafe a sit-at-the-bar type place vs. a restaurant setting?

                        1. re: christina_hunnicutt

                          Bin Cafe has seating...like a cafe. It was VERY good.

                3. There is also Pops for Champagne which just moved to 601 N. State. Strictly a Champagne bar, but its within a walk from the hotel - over the river and up a few blocks. 125 Champagne and sparkling wines. They also have a selection of regular wines by the glass, although clearly not what they are known for.


                  1. Cru on Delaware between Wabash and State has good food and a nice atmosphere and provides a convenient break from Mag Mile shopping.

                    1. The Intercontinental on Michigan Avenue has a new wine bar and tasting room that looks out onto the Mag mile. Very extensive list. They have a great flights menu. Diverse selection of cheese. Chocolate is not so good. Fun place to go, great people watching as well.

                      1. Avec is fantastic; I'd also recommend Volo on Roscoe, just west of Damen (a 20 minute cab ride from downtown, but worth it).

                        1. All good recs, and will add one: Juicy Wine Co. in River West. Cool vibe, folks and food/wine. On Milwaukee near Avenue M.

                          1. If you're willing to take a little cab ride over to the West Side of town, try out Vintage Wine Bar @ 1942 W Division St. Great service and wonderful selection!


                            1. Bin Cafe is just a bit more casual than Bin 36. I don't think they have a bar, per se. Bin 36 has a bar, a sit down casual area and a high end restaurant (plus an event space) all in one huge place. Bin Cafe fits the Bucktown/Wicker Park vibe, Bin 36 is more loop-ish. (sorry this reply is down here, Christina, I couldn't get it to post under your question)

                              1 Reply
                              1. Swirl on Hubbard downtown is an interesting non-smoking micro wine bar and live music venue. Unique place with international vibe, cool crowd in a casual atmosphere. Went the other day to check out a Brazilian Jazz band. Not sure how the food is.

                                1. Sam's is perhaps the best-known wine store in the Chicago area. It has locations in the city (Lincoln Park neighborhood), west suburban Downers Grove, and north suburban Highland Park. The Highland Park location of Sam's has a wine bar. They sell about a dozen wines by the glass for consumption on the premises in their "bar" area. They change their wine bar offerings on a monthly basis. www.samswine.com