7 Special Wine Bars in Chicago You Must Visit

Chicago is a world-class destination to visit any time of year as evidenced by the more than 58 million visitors to the Windy City in 2018. The lakeshore with its fountains, art, parks, and attractions shines in the summer; the shopping districts and markets are bustling during the holidays; museums, concerts, and the architecture are worth marveling at year-round; and the restaurant and bar scene is renowned in this foodie town.

But since we’re #Winetravelers, we’re here to talk about the wine scene. Which honestly, can seem overwhelming in this vast city. While there’s no shortage of options, the Chicago Wine Bar recommendations below offer a place to get you started from River North to Logan Square and from unique wines by the glass to interesting wine lists.


Winetraveler Tip: If you’re staying in the Loop, the “L” is an easy way to get beyond the central business district and explore Chicago’s unique and culturally diverse neighborhoods – as well as each of the recommended options below. Take a look at accommodation options across the city here.

Alternatively, you can book one of the highly-rated guided tours below. Ranging from “secret” stops in the Loop area, to ethnic food tours, to food-bike-and-brew experiences in various neighborhoods across the city. Each tour has received a badge of excellence and raving reviews from all who have tried them.

River North, Chicago

Bar Ramone

441 N. Clark, Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – Grand Avenue Red Line or Merchandise Mart Brown Line – also a short walk across the river from the Loop.)

Bar Ramone, located in Chicago’s popular River North neighborhood, is a wine bar with a Spanish heart. The wine program features more than 100 bottles to pair with a delicious offering of small plate options like the house-made tomato bread, Patatas Bravas XL Fries, Mushroom Pintxos and Galacian Octopus. If you’re not feeling the Spanish vibe, not to worry, you’ll also find incredible wines from around the world both by the glass and bottle.

Make sure to check out the events menu for exclusive wine dinners, meet and greets with winemakers and special menu tastings — like the Tuesday Tasting Tours offered on the first Tuesday of each month. This monthly offering, presented by the bar’s in-house Sommelier, walks guests through a featured region with a sampling of favorite wines, while providing education on the history of the wine and region. You’ll also learn how to sip the wines and what to sip them with.

Winetraveler Tip: Reservations are recommended for this River North hot spot.

RELATED: 15 Top Restaurants and Wine Bars in San Francisco

Pops for Champagne

601 N. State Street, Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – Grand Avenue Red Line Station – or short walk from the Loop.)

Needing to indulge in all things bubbly? This River North bubbles bar will scratch your itch. Pop’s for Champagne is a sleek spot to order a wide array of bubble by the glass or bottle. Their expert staff will help you navigate the menu to find the style you most desire. It’s perfect for an afternoon break from shopping, or to either start or end your perfect date night.

Make sure to check the events calendar for live jazz nights and don’t miss out on Magnum Mondays, when the staff pours a special Champagne magnum selection.

Winetraveler Tip: Looking for a Chicago-style speakeasy? Head downstairs at Pop’s to the Watershed, a lounge-style bar dedicated to local beer, artisanal spirits, craft cocktails and easy-drinking wines.

West Loop/Fulton Market, Chicago

Joe’s Imports

813 West Fulton Market, Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – Morgan Green Line Station)

Just west of Chicago’s Loop is the renowned foodie hub known as the West Loop and Fulton Market District. Here you’ll find an intimate and inviting European-style wine bar and restaurant, Joe’s Imports. Joe’s offers a curated selection of unique wines inspired by Partner and Wine Director Joe Fiely’s travels.

Joe’s goal is to take each guest on a vacation in a glass, and he does – from Piemonte to the Douro! In fact, many of the wines offered can only found at Joe’s and nowhere else in the States. He’s also crafted a food menu with Chef Scott Harris, CEO of the Francesca Restaurant Group, which showcases the best dishes from his favorite wine regions to pair alongside the local wines. One of my favorite features of the food and wine pairings is the suggestion of both a white and a red (or sometimes even a rosé) option to pair with each dish!

Winetraveler Tip: Make sure to try the Parmesan Puffs – a childhood favorite of Joe’s as well as the Ravioli – it’s to die for!

RELATED: 15 Top Bars & Restaurants To Wine and Dine in Los Angeles

Lincoln Park, Chicago

J9 Wine Bar

1961 N. Halsted, Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – Halsted Brown Line Station)

J9 Wine Bar is in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, about 15 minutes North of downtown. It’s a cozy, welcoming and relaxing stop in this bustling city where you can find a plethora of wines by the glass from California to Romania. The exposed brick walls, plush chairs and cozy couches will have you feeling at home in no time. This neighborhood bar — now in its third year — has a deep wine list but is best known for its unique by-the-glass exploration.

Not sure where to start? Ask any of the well-trained team at J9 to get you started. With a few simple questions about your typical wine preferences, they will guide you through a series of options you may never have considered. It’s a welcoming and comfortable place to step outside of the box and explore the vast world of wine.

J9 Wine Bar also offers many events and classes. From Flight School Mondays where they explore various wines focused on specific descriptors like minerality or herbaceous greens, to Taste Thursdays where you’ll have the opportunity to sample and buy wines from producers around the world – many of whom pour from the bar themselves! Visiting on a weekend? Make sure to check out what classes are being offered. You might have the opportunity to learn about Israeli wines or what makes a white wine ageable while trying some new wines in the process.

If you live in the area, the J9 Wine Club offers curated bi-monthly selections, special member events and discounts when sipping at the bar. It’s simple at J9 Wine Bar – they pride themselves on helping you discover wines that you love.

Wicker Park, Chicago

Joe’s Wine Cellar

2108 W. Division Street, Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – Division or Damen Blue Line Stations)

In Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood is an awesome little gem, Joe’s Wine Cellar. Here you can sample a wide range of wines, grab a snack and then pick up a bottle from the shop to enjoy later. Joe’s state-of-the-art WineStation® offers a variety of new wines to try at your leisure while hanging at one of the communal tables or storefront high-tops. Simply purchase a WineStation card to be inserted into one of the several pouring stations and select the wine you’d like to try. Pours are available in various sizes, from a two-ounce taste to a full glass pour. It’s a fun way to explore a variety of wines from around the world with the opportunity to take a bottle of your favorite home.

Logan Square, Chicago

Webster’s Wine Bar

2601 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – Logan Square Blue Line)

Don’t let this cozy corner neighborhood spot fool you, Webster’s Wine Bar has long been recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of the country’s top five wine bars. Here you’ll find more than 500 labels in the cellar! The extensive, global wine list was curated carefully to feature selections centered on ethically-made wines, including many organic and biodynamic wines.

The goal at Webster’s is to offer wines for everyone from the novice to the connoisseur that have been crafted with as little intervention as possible. They all speak to a sense of place. Don’t miss the bar’s cellar specials on Mondays and Tuesdays, when a special cellar selection is offered at a dramatically discounted price.

Table, Donkey and Stick

2728 W. Armitage, Chicago, Illinois

(“L” Stop – California or Western Blue Line Stations)

While the food is the star at this whimsical Alpine-esque neighborhood eatery – the homemade charcuterie and breads not to be missed – the wines will surely impress. At Table, Donkey and Stick, you’ll find a selection of small-production wines focused on the growing regions surrounding the Alps. Every Tuesday, there is a focus on terroir. Stop in to sample a special wine or wines by the glass at wholesale cost including Champagnes from Paul Bara, Gimmonet, Pierre Paillard, or Vilmart et Fils; the wines of Foradori, Paolo Bea, Emidio Pepe, Chateau Rayas, or Diamond Creek, just to name just a few of previous offerings.

Table, Donkey and Stick’s philosophy? “Whatever we are pouring is worth drinking.”

Winetraveler Tip: Follow TDS on Facebook for special events including Champagne Happy Hour or meet and greets with winemakers!

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