Soak up the last of summer: Patio season isn’t done yet. Check out some of our favorite local spots to grab a bite and a drink outdoors while you still can
Howard Street Inn
6700 W. Howard in Niles
This popular local favorite sits on the edge of the beautiful Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Niles and offers a sun-soaked, wrap-around patio ideal for happy hour, catching the game, a post-golf bucket of beers or dinner with the family at sunset.
The Howard Street Inn is known for its great daily specials too, including $17 buckets of domestic beer every day and $4 martinis on Thursdays.
What we’re eating: If you’ve never been, don’t be fooled by appearances. The Howard Street Inn may look like more of a sports bar upon entry, but this is no normal sports bar menu. There are just too many quality and creative options. On a recent visit, we enjoyed the new jerk chicken sandwich and the zesty Southwest chicken salad that has a generous portion of grilled chicken strips, fresh pico de gallo and grated cheddar cheese served over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce all packed inside a light and crispy tortilla shell. Don’t forget to use the sour cream and spicy ranch dressing to give it the perfect little kick.
6158 N. Northwest Highway in Norwood Park
To say Zia’s Social has been a massive hit since opening in Norwood Park in late 2021 would be a serious understatement, and if you haven’t been by recently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the large patio that was finished this spring, featuring a covered space with a bar and an ivy-laden lawn with umbrella-covered seating.
A wonderful selection of beer, wine, homemade sangria and signature cocktails will get brunch, lunch or dinner started off on the right foot, and the 4-6 p.m. happy hour and daily specials are stellar as well. Insider’s tip: Weekend brunch offers a bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary option from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
What we’re eating: Chef/owner Joe Calabrese doesn’t make decisions easy here, but we usually start off with a cast-iron skillet of shrimp scampi or mussels. The pesto and roasted chicken pizza, fresh from the brick oven, or the 8-finger cavatelli with Italian sausage, vodka sauce, peas and ricotta cheese are family favorites.
Tavern on the Point
6724 N. Northwest Hwy in Edison Park
There are a lot of reasons to be drawn to the rooftop at this sleek and stylish restaurant in the heart of Edison Park. For starters, there’s nothing else like it around. It’s the kind of breezy, comfortable spot that you could spend an entire summer Saturday at with friends. But if it’s full, don’t overlook the sidewalk patio out front, offering a blend of shade, sun and people-watching.
Did you know Tavern on the Point has DJs for weekend brunch and a weekday happy hour from 2-5 p.m. that includes $3 wells, $3 seltzers and $3 domestic drafts and bottles?
Insider’s tip: Did you know you can grab a burger and a beer for $10 on Mondays and half-price appetizers on Thursdays? DJs for weekend brunch and a weekday happy hour from 2-5 p.m. that includes $3 wells, $3 seltzers and $3 domestic drafts and bottles as well.
What we’re eating: Two of our favorite sandwiches here, off a menu that can glowingly be described as elevated comfort food, are the Monte Cristo (ham, oven-roasted turkey and Swiss on Texas toast) and the short rib grilled cheese with its delectable sweet onion jam.
608 W. Touhy Ave. in Park Ridge
Another unique patio belongs to Zaza Cucina, which happens to have a striking interior as well. The gorgeous, flower-lined dining deck that overlooks the Park Ridge Library and Pickwick Theater is something to behold, whether it be for a casual weekday dinner or special occasion. When the temps aren’t cooperating, Zaza offers some cozy fire pits to keep things comfy.
What we’re eating: Chef Joseph Rocco’s menu of Italian specialties is an impressive one to be sure. We usually start off with the fried or grilled calamari or the mushrooms stuffed with crab, shrimp, buttery panko and herbs. Their fish selections — such as halibut with truffle potatoes or the swordfish with a white wine linguini are a good option for keeping things a bit lighter in the summer.
The Beacon Tap
1374 Lee Street in Des Plaines
We always thought the expansive beer garden was more than enough at this casual Des Plaines sports bar, but who were we to argue when they added a year-round outdoor bar a couple years ago? Especially considering the fact it’s covered in the winter and makes it easier to order drinks and provides a bit of shade and additional TVs to catch the game.
When it comes to daily specials and craft beer selection, it’s hard to top the Beacon Tap. Insider’s tip: The beer garden is actually a great spot to host a kid’s birthday party.
When it comes to daily specials and craft beer selection, it’s hard to top the Beacon. Insider’s tip: The beer garden is actually a great spot to host a kid’s birthday party, as their staff, pizza and space all combine for a fun experience.
What we’re eating: The trash can nachos (add the brisket, trust us) and Beacon burger are always difficult to turn down, but if you’re going on the lighter side in the hot weather, the loaded Cobb salad will treat you just fine. Indulge in the $13.95 taco plate or $3.50 individual tacos on Wednesdays.
Une Année and Hubbard’s Cave Brewery
6343 W. Gross Point Road in Niles
Tucked back in an industrial area in Niles, this is a true hidden gem that offers great beer, great BBQ and a great beer garden. Carve a few hours out of your day or evening, grab a picnic table and relax on their spacious, dog-friendly, family-friendly lawn. Une Annee hosts a popular trivia night on Mondays and live music Wednesdays and Sundays, and the weekday happy hour from 2:30-5:30 p.m. offers select $4 drafts and half-price appetizers.
What we’re eating: Specializing in Belgians, stouts, hazy IPAs and sours, they get pretty creative here with their beer selection, offering nearly 30 on draft. Off the food menu, they’re known for their homemade BBQ, which is smoked in house. The pulled pork nachos, brisket sandwich and burnt ends are worth the trip alone.
With the attractive patio arrangement out front consistently luring folks in, it can be easy to forget Harp & Fiddle’s enclosed beer garden out back behind the new covered addition.
Harp & Fiddle
110 Main Street in Park Ridge
Thankfully, the Main Street summer shutdown has become a permanent thing here in Park Ridge, because we spend a lot of time on Harp & Fiddle’s patio in the summer.
With the attractive patio arrangement out front consistently luring folks in, it can be easy to forget the enclosed beer garden out back behind the new covered addition. The relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere is key here, and catch some live Irish music on Thursdays and acoustic guitarists on the weekends.
What we’re eating: Looking to keep things light in the summertime? Try the chicken blueberry salad with fresh blueberries, candied walnuts, sliced red onion, bleu cheese and a berry white balsamic vinaigrette. The mahi tacos, fiddler chicken wrap and grilled salmon sandwich are rock solid too. The Harp & Fiddle staff does a stellar job with their rotating craft-beer list, and the fruit-topped sangria is the perfect summer drink.
7620 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Niles
Family owned and operated in Niles for more than three decades, you’ll be welcomed in by Amici’s old-world charm and decor. The Italian specialties are the draw here, as well as the ambiance — and the ivy-covered, Tuscan-style patio has a lot to do with that. Come sit under an umbrella, enjoy the flowers and dive into some of the best Italian around.
What we’re eating: The baked clams are a house specialty, and for good reason. And the shrimp Amici makes for a nice, lighter dish for summer. It consists of jumbo shrimp sautéed in chopped garlic, pure olive oil, white wine and fresh broccoli, and then served over linguini. Perfection.
112 Main Street in Park Ridge
If you haven’t seen Pennyville’s new expansion yet, it’s awfully impressive, basically doubling the size of this popular farm-to-table restaurant. But if it’s nice outside, their spacious front patio on Main Street is definitely the place to be all summer long. Adorned with string lights, shade umbrellas, gas heaters and tables for all sizes, it’s got it all.
What we’re eating: If you somehow haven’t noticed already, this is a serious hot spot for the brunch crowd, and the skirt steak and eggs, omelettes and cocktails are all worthy of applause. For dinner? The cajun-dusted Lake Superior whitefish served over sweet pea risotto is a perfect summer dish.