Cedar Hotel patio (Photo: Cedar Hotel)
Those lucky enough to observe summer hours deserve it. I know what it’s like. You work your butt off with extra hours during the week, so you can clock out by noon every Friday. While some use that opportunity to get out of town earlier so that they don’t get caught in rush hour traffic, others head to a number of local hot spots to grab seats before they’re overrun. Some places even cater to those lucky summer hours people. After all, those special hours only last for three months, from the Friday following Memorial Day to the Friday before Labor Day. Here’s where to go:
Big Star. You'll be the hero of your hangout crew if you get to the city's most popular patio early enough to grab a table. Big Star opens at 11am, and seats start filling up immediately, so you might have to ease your way out of the office just a wee bit earlier. There's even a refreshing new drink on the menu to entice you: the Ramblin' Rose of strawberry, mint, cucumber, mezcal, blanco tequila and lime.
Carmine’s. Sometimes you wish you could get brunch earlier in the week just so you don't have to wait in those extremely long lines on the weekend. That's when Carmine's comes in handy. The busy Rush street spot serves brunch 9am-2pm Friday through Sunday, with tasty bites such as a number of omelets served with crispy potatoes, crabcake Benedict and white chocolate raspberry french toast.
The refreshing Ramblin' Rose cocktail is ideal for drinking on Big Star's patio. (Photo: Big Star)
Cedar Hotel. While Big Star's patio mostly attracts a hipster, Wicker Park crowd, the people who come out to Cedar Hotel's patio usually frequent the bars on Rush Street. You'll spot scensters and bankers mixed in with industry folks who work in the area. The cocktails are potent, punchy and designed to keep you settled on that patio for a few hours.
Longman & Eagle. This Logan Square eatery gets incredibly packed once everyone gets off, so coming here to chill early is something you should consider. Then you'll be lucky to settle in at the bar for one of the awesome bourbon-based cocktails. Or, take advantage of the patio seats, which are settled on a quiet street right off Kedzie Avenue.
Prasino. At least you'll feel good about slacking off if you hit up this organic-focused restaurant and bar. Prasino uses all organic spirits and all-natural ingredients in the cocktails, so drink up! You may get a little tipsy, but at least you won't feel sloggish in the morning. The cabanas and sofas are always the first to go, so it's a good thing you'll get a headstart on everyone else.
Prasino's patio is situated along bustling Division Street in Wicker Park. (Photo: Prasino)
Purple Pig. The patio seats are quite hard to get--especially because the Purple Pig's located right off the Mag Mile. But if you head over there say around 2pm, you'll have the pick of the best seats during the summer, and watch the passers-by. Dig into house-made chartcuterie while sipping Italian-inspired elixirs. The daily soft serve selections are addictive and a must have.
The Savoy. Another fun brunch spot, this well-heeled, Wicker Park watering hole offers a number of cereal milk cocktails to get your day off to a great start. Head bartender Deidre Darling has created three: Pebbles Loves Bam Bam (Cocoa Pebbles, Plantation rum, mole bitters) Magically Delicious (Lucky Charms, Powers irish Whiskey) and This Morning's Milk (cereal box surprise). Make a note that Savoy is open for brunch 10am-2pm Friday through Sunday.