Bottoms up: 4 fresh cocktail bars in Chicago

Looking for the best new cocktail bars in Chicago? One of these new spots might be just what you're seeking. Here are the latest places to check out the next time you're in search of a new cocktail bar near you.


3632 N. Clark St., Wrigleyville

Photo: Christopher V./Yelp

Mordecai is a bi-level cocktail bar and restaurant located within Hotel Zachary.

Mordecai is the latest offering by Folkart Restaurant Management, the team behind renowned cocktail bar Billy Sunday. According to the new bar's website, the newcomer features one of the country's largest selections of collectible vintage spirits, with an emphasis on rare whiskey.

Guests can also sip in specialty and classic cocktails, local craft beer on draught and wine.

As for fare, Mordecai serves a special game-day menu, featuring snacks like chicken liver parfait, crab puffs and beer battered cheese curds, as well as heavier dishes like fish and chips, burgers and bratwursts. Other days the kitchen serves a wider variety of bar snacks, small plates and entrees.

Mordecai currently holds 4.5 stars out of 15 reviews on Yelp, indicating a positive reception.

Yelper Jen S. wrote, "The first thing that stood out to me at Mordecai were the excellent cocktails. Try the Bills in Foil -- it's my new favorite drink! We came back another time for food and it was delicious. Everything was so fresh and flavorful."

And Rob S. noted, "This is the place to go for cocktails, not the usual pre- and post-game drink-to-get-drunk spot. They've got a deep, detailed list of spirits and cocktails, and our server was very knowledgeable."

Mordecai is open from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday, 5 p.m.-midnight on Wednesday and Thursday, and 5 p.m.-1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Big Star

3640 N. Clark St., Wrigleyville

Photo: linda n./Yelp

Big Star, a tacos and whiskey-focused bar that got its start in Wicker Park, has opened a new location in Wrigleyville.

Its cocktail menu is split by agave-based and whiskey-based drinks. Look for $10 margaritas made with Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Marie Brizard liqueur, Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur and lime. The bar's whiskey-based specialty is called An Old One and a Cold One, made with Lonestar and a shot of cinnamon-spiced Rittenhouse rye.

Or, if you're looking to save some money, the shot of the day is sold for $3-$4.

Guests can also dine on a range of tacos, salads and veggie plates.

Yelp users are still warming up to Big Star, which currently holds 3.5 stars out of 32 reviews on the site.

Yelper Michael H., who was one of the first users to visit Big Star on April 14, wrote, "Two spacious floors with a bar on each floor. Floor to ceiling windows coupled with a great vantage point of Wrigley Field and a drink in your hand... you can't miss it! Nice assortment of tacos and a few appetizers is about all you're gonna find on the menu. Great beer list, cocktail list and stellar bourbon list to boot!"

Tommy O. noted, "They have a massive bourbon list. Prices are pretty fair, and they even have the highly touted Pappy Van Winkle family at fair prices."

Big Star is open from 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. from Monday-Friday and Sunday, and 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m. on Saturday.

Kite String Cantina

1851 W. Addison St., Roscoe Village

Photo: Mirella G./Yelp

Kite String Cantina specializes in beer, bubbler cocktails and taquitos. Run by a husband-and-wife team, with backing from Footman Hospitality Group (Bucktown Dysfunctional Pub, Bangers & Lace, Sparrow), the joint aims to emulate the cozy, neighborhood feel of Roscoe Village.

The bar's bubbler lineup: Passion Fruit Punch, Hibiscus Negroni, Limonada Margarita and Coconut Horchata. All four are offered for $5 during happy hour -- 3-6 p.m.

Visitors can pair their drinks with taquitos rolled with housemade tortillas.

With a 4.5-star rating out of 20 reviews on Yelp, Kite String Cantina has been getting positive attention.

Yelper Matt R. noted, "Every cocktail is thoughtful, legit and properly priced. The food is great, yet simple. It's the perfect, off-the-Brown-Line spot for great drinks and a small bite."

Kite String Cantina is open from 3 p.m.-2 a.m. on weekdays, 3 p.m.-3 a.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m.-midnight on Sunday.


408 S. Wells St., Loop


Over on the the Loop is Per.So.Na, a cocktail bar and lounge.

Look for featured cocktails like the Vanilla Latte Martini, made with vanilla Crown Royal shaken with Bailey's Irish Cream and coffee liqueur. Or, check out Blue Skies, a cocktail made from Don Julio tequila shaken with fresh muddled blueberries, triple sec, fresh lime juice and agave nectar.

Yelp users are still warming up to Per.So.Na, which currently holds 3.5 stars out of eight reviews on the site.

Yelper Kenyetta S., who was first to review the spot on March 10, wrote, "Great location. Cool vibes. Delicious drinks. Came in to check out the grand opening, and I'm thoroughly impressed with the venue. Artwork, ambiance and musical selections were all very pleasing for the evening."

Shannon K. noted, "Persona was a decent bar. I think they are new and still figuring things out. Drinks were pretty good, very strong. They offered us free cocktail samples which was really nice. Ambiance was good, very lively."

Per.So.Na is open from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 3 p.m.-midnight on Thursday, 3 p.m.-2 a.m. on Friday, and 3 p.m.-3 a.m. on Saturday. (It's closed on Monday and Sunday.)