After a wet and chilly spring, the all-too-short summer patio season is finally here. Make the most of it by taking in the great views at this sampling of suburban spots known for their outdoor spaces, where you can enjoy the weather while eating, drinking, watching sports, listening to live music and playing games.
Bandito Barney's Beach Club & Bordello, 10 N. River St., East Dundee, (847) 426-7300, banditobarneysbeachclub.com: You can choose from three outdoor bars at Bandito Barney's, hanging out on the main deck, a beach bar with sand or in the courtyard. You can watch TV at any of the bars, and the spot is working on adding a big screen in the courtyard, a stone area with a moat, pond, fountain and lots of flowers. Live music fans can catch bands on the beach deck Friday and Saturday nights and during the day Sunday.
Chooch's Pizzeria, 64 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, (847) 888-0211, choochspizza.com: This is the first patio season for Chooch's, which opened in December, but their 60 tables overlooking the Fox River have already proven popular with couples and groups. They're bringing in a jazz performer to play outside June 29 and working on adding a second bar for the patio. Expect the spot to become even more popular when construction is finished on a biking and walking path and band shell nearby.
Docks Bar & Grill, 313 E. Liberty St., Wauconda, (847) 526-3625, dockbarandgrill.com: True to its name, Docks appeals to boaters who can dock at the spot, which also has had seaplanes land there. The bar seats more than 600 people outside on a deck with smoking and nonsmoking sections that overlooks the water, a huge tiki bar and a long counter with bar stools along the water. The crowd also enjoys watching sports on the tiki bar's five TVs, which can also be seen from the 35 tables.
Drink, 871 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg, (847) 397-3100, drinknightclub.com: Shirtless dudes and bikini-clad women always seem to be showing off on the sand volleyball court at Drink's massive garden, which also offers a beautiful fountain and a lake view. The space has its own bar and DJ, six bags sets, plenty of couches to lounge on and cabanas you can rent for private parties.
El Puerto Mexican Restaurant, 200 N. Forest Ave., Fox Lake, (847) 973-1370, elpuertorestaurant.net: You'll often find about 40 boats from Nippersink Lake docked here as their owners enjoy the 250-person patio equipped with umbrella-topped tables. It's a great place to enjoy the view while nibbling on nachos or sipping a margarita.
Gale Street Inn, 935 Diamond Lake Road, Mundelein, (847) 566-1090, galestreet.com: You can order anything from burgers to lobster at the outdoor space at Gale Street. The umbrella-topped tables provide up to 65 people with a view of the sunset on Diamond Lake.
Hackney's, 880 N. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich, (847) 438-2103, hackneys.net: The screened-in porch with a bar and alcove overlook open land with a pond and waterfall reminiscent of a golf course. Sports fans can enjoy the weather while still watching TV at the patio bar.
Ivy Restaurant, 120 N. Hale St., Wheaton, (630) 665-2489, ivyofwheaton.com: Described as a secret garden, the 80-person gated patio at Ivy is decorated with trees and plenty of flowers including morning glories and lilies that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. French doors open from the restaurant onto the brick-paved space, where the brick walls are almost entirely covered by the restaurant's namesake. The patio also hosts local musicians playing jazz, blues or soft rock on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Lindy's Landing, 115 Park St., Wauconda, (847) 526-9789, lindyslanding.net: Located on Bangs Lake, Lindy's Landing has a set of outdoor areas so you can pick one that suits your style. The dining deck, an extension of the dining room, caters to an older crowd looking for a more formal experience. The beach deck has its own bar and a bandstand hosting live music Friday and Saturday nights and during the day Sunday throughout the summer. The shady pavilion can host private parties of 60 to 75 people, but when it's not in use you can play bags with a regular set or their new oversized version with eight-pound bags that have to be tossed with both hands. There are also tables on the beach that are popular with moms who can sit under umbrellas while watching their kids chase around three families of ducklings or play in the sand with the pail and shovel you can add on to any children's meal. Sitting on the beach also lets you watch TV while still hearing the music at the bandstand. Lindy's offers more than 100 slips for boats and will deliver your food right to the pier.
Millrose Supper Club & Banquets, 45 S. Barrington Road, South Barrington, (847) 382-7673, millroserestaurant.com: The patio at Millrose has two fireplaces and a fire pit, so you can enjoy sitting outside on their couches even when the weather's cooler. The flowers and ivy-covored gazebo make the space picturesque enough that it's hosted wedding ceremonies. Jazz and acoustic bands play outside Friday and Saturday nights.
Mullen's Bar and Grill, 3080 Warrenville Road, Lisle, (630) 505-0240, mullensbarandgrill.com: Mullen's has both a patio in front for dining and a beer garden in back with bags games and a bar. Equipped with four-person tables with umbrellas, the outdoor areas overlook a pond and the beer garden periodically hosts acoustic acts. The bar is also planning to add more comfortable furniture, perfect for lounging outside.