Hanging with all of your friends is always fun, but hanging with all of your friends outside is even better. Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in Chicago built to handle a large group. Plan something big, and don't leave anyone out.
To check out the rest of the 2016 Chicago Summer Guide, click here.
From the front, Homeslice looks like your average pizza place with a small patio in Lincoln Park. But out back is where you really want to be. The back patio has plenty of space, hanging lights, and fun signs that say things like, “I could give up pizza, but I’m not a quitter.” You’re no quitter either, so make sure to check out Homeslice for the casual attitude, pizza, and beer.
Here’s a promise: as long as Big Star is in business, it will always be on our Summer Guide. Hell, even if they go out of business, we might include Big Star anyway. That’s how synonymous this patio has become with summer. People will and should continue to line up for all of the tacos and margaritas on a nice day.
Frontier is like the Oregon Trail in restaurant form. The name even nods to the fact that they serve the kind of stuff people would have eaten on the actual 1800’s Frontier. It’s good for groups because there’s a lot space outside, it’s not expensive, and there’s something easy for everyone to eat. That said, you should try some of the interesting meats like boar and elk, or even a whole goat or alligator for a group.
Cuban food is always best when eaten outside, and 90 Miles has both a small patio out front and a main back room that’s totally open air. Add in the BYOB policy and reasonable prices, and you’ll understand why it’s one of our favorite big group spots when it’s nice outside. Bring some wine and rum for their sangria and mojito mixes and you’re guaranteed a good time without breaking the bank.
Kaiser Tiger is one of the biggest patios in the city, so your group of 15 will have plenty of space to feast on the menu filled with sausage, bacon, and beer. You don’t need anything other than that in life, but there’s a bocce ball court just in case.
Looking for a low-key cocktail bar in Ukrainian Village? Direct your crew to Sportman’s Club. You won’t feel like you’re sitting at a bar so much as in your friend’s backyard, which is partially because of the space, and partially because of the friendly crew behind the bar. Make yourself at home.
Who knew that fried chicken and Negroni slushies were the perfect pairing? That’s the kind of thing we’ve learned from Parson’s. Add in some oysters, hushpuppies, and extreme ping pong playing at times, and Parson’s patio makes for an excellent day. There will be a wait, but you won’t regret it.
Gene’s Sausage Shop
Round up your friends and head to Gene’s in Lincoln Square. Inside, it's an old-school deli selling sausages and other Polish specialities - but head upstairs to their outdoor rooftop, and they’ll cook the sausages for you. Grab a picnic bench and some drinks and your whole crew will be happy.
Pizza, beer, and both a side patio and rooftop bar make Parlor Pizza the place to kick it with the whole crew. Parlor is a big scene on the weekends, but in the fun adult pizza party kind of way. The only downside? Every other group of friends might have the same idea, so be prepared to show up early and claim your territory.
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