Cool Down at Chicago’s Coolest – and Best! – Restaurants

We’re heavy into one of the hottest summers on record. What better way to cool down than by enjoying some creative and chill summer offerings at Chicago’s best restaurants?


Cool desserts, lightweight lunches and frosty cocktails are sure-fire ways to bring down the temperature.


Here are some of Chicago’s coolest and best restaurants to help you cool down in the best way possible: by eating.


Acadia.. If you’re in the Loop or just a little bit south of the Loop, Acadia offers a cooling respite with some of Pastry Chef Kyleen Atonsen’s light and sweet desserts (and, hey, you need the sugar for energy in this weather, amiright?). The Corn Cake with pickled blackberries, blackberry curd and fermented corn ice cream as well as the Main Blueberry Cheesecake Sundae with graham cracker and lemon mousse are so substantial and delicious, you might just pair them with an iced tea for a cool summery lunch.


Bang Bang Pie Shop


Sweetwater Tavern & Grille.. What better way to cool down than with an icy summer drink…and Sweetwater Tavern & Grill has a lot of them. Case in point: the Frozen Mule is vodka, lime juice and house-made ginger syrup. Sip your drink in the air-conditioned confines of this Michigan Avenue location, or if the heat lifts for a moment, enjoy your beverage on Sweetwater’s spacious patio.


Travelle at The Langham. The Citrus Dream Bar, you loved it when you were a kid and you’ll probably love it even more when you enjoy it at Travelle at The Langham. Made with buttermilk, citrus, Aperol sauce, grapefruit meringue and a big scoop of orange sherbet, this adult Dreamsicle will cool you down from the inside out. Why the Aperol? Well, Pastry Chef Danielle tells us that her family always used to drink Aperol Spritzes whenever they got together, so this dessert (like many of her others) is a nod to them…and a terrific way to beat the heat.


I|O Godfrey.. You can sit indoors or outside on the year-round rooftop lounge at I|O Godfrey, but either way you’ll cool down with some superb frozen treats and cocktails. The Ice Cream Tacos can be enjoyed by children and adults, and they’re made with a house-made waffle cone, pistachio gelato, chocolate-covered banana, sprinkles, whipped cream and…Fruit Loops (!). If you’re of age you can go boozy with the Blueberry Mania Push-Pop, a mix of tequila, pomegranate juice and blueberry puree – fun to eat!




Sidedoor.. Sidedoor is the side bar connected with Lawry’s, The Prime Rib. Granted, when the mercury mounts beyond 100 degrees, you may not be in the mood for a big piece of meat (no matter how delicious!), so maybe consider something cooler: Avocado Mash, Cold Crab Salad, Hawaiian Shrimp Scampi and Burrata Salad.  The cool, low light Sideroom is a generally comfortable place to dine, and “The Nook” is one of the comfiest booths in Chicago, with good sightlines to the kitchen and a lot of privacy (for up to eight people).


Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Fried chicken is the ultimate picnic food, and if a lunch in the great outdoor is what you have in mind, park yourself on the patio at Honey Butter Fried Chicken and order some tasty bird…along with a cool shake. The Strawberry Shortcake Shake and the Key Lime Shake can be enjoyed by children as well as the alcohol averse…or, if you want, you can have a shot of rum added (you want a shot of rum added). Another bonus: both shakes are sprinkled with edible flowers from Honey Butter’s patio garden, fun to drink and, of course, Instagram-ready.


Bang Bang Pie Shop. You probably don’t want it warm from the oven, but you will not find a better slice of pie, hot or cold, than the ones they serve at Bang Bang Pie Shop. Fresh fruit under a light flaky crust is cool, of course, but if you want to up the coolness ante, get their Key Lime pie, born of the hot and humid Florida Keys, just right for lowering the temperature on a superhot Chicago afternoon.


Replay Beer and Bourbon. Maybe you just want a drink. Replay Beer and Bourbon has a superb selection of both. Many local craft beers are available, and if you can’t choose one, go with a flight and taste several. Many of the craft cocktails feature the namesake bourbon, of course, and some are especially appropriate for the summer months, such as the Bourbon Blossom with Larceny Bourbon, St. Germaine, lemon juice, simple syrup and Gosling’s ginger beer. Cool.