Best Local Restaurants for Outdoor Dining Right Now

and still stay warm!

By Debra Flanagan, Macaroni KID Chicago Northside February 23, 2021

Not quite ready for indoor dining, but still want to go out to eat? Wanting to stay warm while doing so? Eager to try some of the innovative, winter, outdoor dining experiences?  

I am so impressed with the way local restaurants took on the obstacles of outdoor dining during the pandemic. The resilient spirit of Chicagoans shined through transparent igloos, plexi-glass cabins, and greenhouses. Chicago restauranteurs rose to the challenge, and I, for one, am so grateful they found a way for us to get out of our houses, enjoy good food, and take a break from cooking, while staying safe. Some of the solutions were so cute, so cozy, and so enchanting, that I sincerely hope they will continue to offer these options in future non-pandemic winters.

However, in case they do not, get out there now for a potential "once-in-a-Chicago-lifetime" experience.


Houndstooth Saloon

3369 N. Clark Street

These guys built individual plexi-glass cabins. Each one has a heater, and its own television. This is one of the safest set-ups, in my opinion, as food/drinks can be served through a small, pull-down, window.

*Family/Date Nights/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out

Uncommon Ground 

3800 N. Clark Street

Casual dining throughout the day under an open-air tent-like shelter with hanging heaters. Heaters look like chandeliers from a distance and really do the job.

*Family/Date Nights/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out

Port & Park Bistro and Bar

4000 N. Southport Avenue

Also sporting an open-air tent-like structure with hanging heaters, twinkly lights, and winter foliage.  

*Family/Date Nights/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out

Hotel Zachary Terrace

3630 North Clark Street

Cozy up on the Hotel Zachary Terrace this season in the hotel’s see-through globes. Those who book a globe reservation are invited to order from the hotel’s Dinner Menu, specially crafted by Chef Michael McKinnel from Mordecai Chicago while sipping on a selection of seasonal beverages like mulled house wine, a house hot punch made for you to spike your way and more! Sunday-Thursday requires a $25 deposit per person that is applied to bill.  Friday-Saturday there is also a $200 food and beverage minimum.

*Family/Mom Nights Out/Couples Night


2901 N. Sheffield Avenue

Neon-lighted igloos are available to reserve on their patio, as well as several fire pits to warm up to.

*Mom Nights Out/Couples Night

Roscoe Village

Le Sud

2301 W. Roscoe Street

The gorgeous sidewalk cafe with retractable roof has transformed with large windows to completely enclose the area. This cozy, heated dining space will hold 40 guests. With that, the long-awaited rooftop patio will be unveiled soon. The heated and enclosed rooftop features seating for 30.

*Date Nights/Mom Nights Out

John's Place 

2132 W. Roscoe Avenue

Stop by John's Place for their outdoor Winter Wonderland market on the weekends. Grab a homemade, sweet treat and a hot beverage, with or without alcohol, and then stroll around the village or stick around for some true comfort food. Fried Chicken Sundays have returned.

*Family/Date Nights

Lincoln Square

The Warbler 

4535 N. Lincoln Avenue

Outdoor heated tent. Go for the Supper Club from 4:30pm-6:00pm M-F. Five course, family style dinner including one salad, any two appetizers, vegetable or handmade pasta dish, a flatbread, and a dessert for only $25/person. Children nine and under are free.

*Family/Mom Nights Out

Lincoln Park

Sapori Trattoria

2701 N. Halsted Street

Sapori was able to expand its outdoor dining into the street on it's southside. With small individual tents, you can feel safe while enjoying delicious italian cuisine from this quintessential neighborhood eatery.

*Family/Date Nights

Harvest at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness

1320 W. Fullerton Avenue

Not everyone knows this, but you can eat at Harvest without being a member of the fitness club. They currently have heated, rooftop, dining domes with a panoramic view of Chicago. Domes fit 4 adults/2 children and require a food/beverage minimum of $100. While you are up there, try your hand at curling (also available to non-members), or just spectate. Curling with the Kids is from 11am-3pm on Saturdays & Sundays.  $30/half an hour

*Family/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out


Fireside Restaurant & Lounge

5739 N. Ravenswood Avenue

Check out this family-friendly heated patio with, of course, a lovely outdoor fireplace.

*Family/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out

Rogers Park

R Public House

1508 W. Jarvis

Get the whole après ski affect at R Public House, with outdoor heaters and fire pits.

*Date Nights/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out



1925 W. Cortland Street

Camp Lottie's features eight, private, heated, tents with televisions and rustic decor. Tents accommodate 2-6 people. Various food/beverage minimums depending on when you go.  Movie nights every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Family flix at 5:30pm. Teens & up at 8pm.

*Family/Date Nights/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out

Wicker Park

Whiskey Business

1367 N. Milwaukee

This one is a gem. 3,000 sq ft. rooftop with the cutest ski chalets for optimal social-distancing. Ski chalet rentals are $65 for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Movie nights three times a week, and rooftop curling as well. Kids are welcome until 9pm.  

*Family/Mom Nights Out/Dad Nights Out

West Loop


838 W. Kinzie

The largest patio in the city has been converted into an elegant campground, with bonfire tables throughout its massive space. Eater Chicago wrote about the patio that "it looks like it was made to serve customers during a pandemic." 21+ Thursday through Sunday.

*Family/Date Night/Moms Night Out/Dads Night Out

PB&J: Pizza Beer & Jukebox

205 N. Peoria Street

Worth checking out, if you are in the West Loop, is the ice bar and igloo outside PB&J. The ice bar is planned to return on January 20th. Made from actual, natural, ice, its existence is highly temperature dependent, so definitely call ahead. 

*Family/Date Night/Moms Night Out/Dads Night Out


Pilsen Yards

1163 West 18th Street

On the coldest of days, head to Pilsen.  Its radiated-heated cement floors, radiant overhead heaters, clear roof, and exposed wood beams keeps its temperatures in the 60s. They created a thermal-dynamic system that turns the air in the entire space every 1 to 3 minutes.

So many places, so little time!

Please note: This information on local restaurants was updated January 19, 2022. As pandemic/weather circumstances change, please check directly with the businesses to make sure this information reflects their most up-to-date offerings. 

Know of any other unique, outdoor, winter, dining spots? Drop me a line at so I can share the information!