Chicago is in the midst of a cocktail boom. Things have radically changed from a decade ago, when a cocktail menu was a novelty and most of the ingredients the bars on this list use hadn’t even been imported yet. These days, it’s a bit abnormal if a restaurant or bar doesn’t have a cocktail program.

That doesn’t mean, however, that all drink menus are created equal. There are plenty of bad spots trying to cash in with $20 mediocre martinis, and just because a drink sounds complicated doesn’t mean the mixer knows what they are doing. With that in mind, here are 12 of our favorite spots to kick back and have a well-crafted drink.

Three Dots and a Dash

This tiki paradise may have lost a tiny bit of its luster when opening bartender (and national star) Paul McGee packed up his shaker and left last year, but its still one of the prettiest bars in town, even if the menu has gotten slightly less classy. New bar manager Diane Corcoran is serving up creative twists on tiki classics like the Poipu Beach Boogie Board, a combination of rye, rum and fruits that will have you feeling like you’re on a boogie board of your own after two or three.
435 N. Clark St.