Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and offers a long weekend to enjoy the weather while drinking lots of rosé and beer and feasting on foods best enjoyed outdoors, like burgers and seafood boils.
It’s also a time to honor and mourn those who died serving in the US military, and many bars and restaurants combine the fun and somber aspects of the holiday with fundraisers for veteran groups.
The weekend kicks off the festival season and offers picnic packages perfect for more relaxed celebrations in a park or in your own backyard. However you want to mark the holidays, these 20 events have you covered.
Do you know of any restaurants or bars in Chicago that offer Christmas specials? Email them to food editor Ariel Cheung at [email protected].
Sip rosé at a patio party Monday from 2-5 p.m. where you can sample 50 rosé wines from around the world and learn more about them during hourly mini-classes led by wine director Torrence O ‘Haire. The party also features a DJ and food specials. Tickets are $35. 730 W. Grand Ave., 312-243-8955, exploratock.com
Northman’s summer music series kicks off with free performances on the covered pergola stage throughout the weekend from acts including Greg Jacks & Brother Help (Friday 6-8pm), Black Oil Brothers (Saturday 6-8 p.m.) and Noah Brooks Coalition (5-7 p.m. Sunday). 233 E Riverwalk, thenorthman.com
Welcome summer with a riverside party that includes a four-course crab boil paired with wines chosen by RPM’s sommeliers. You’ll also get a splash of welcome to the party, which runs from 1-3 p.m. Monday. Tickets are $155. 317 N. Clark St., 312-900-9035, exploratock.com
Stop by from 11 am to 3 pm Monday to pick up a grill kit with a mix of chicken, beef tenderloin, shrimp and salmon skewers served with baked potatoes and corn ($99) or a 28-ounce tomahawk with chimichurri and spring salad ($145). Add a box of empanadas ($36) or enough tuna margaritas for a group of four ($52). Orders must be placed before noon on Sunday. 118 West Grand Ave., 312-222-9700, tanchicago.com
Celebrate outside with a Park Pack, offered daily starting Friday, which includes cheese, cold cuts, pickles, fruit, crackers and olives for $12-$18. 352 West Armitage Avenue, 773-799-8478, alltoowellchi.com
Party for a good cause at the Wrigleyville Pub’s beer garden from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday featuring all-you-can-eat burgers, cheeseburgers, beer sausages, fries, coleslaw and refried beans for a $10 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. Purchase a 22-ounce pitcher of empirical beer for $8, and half the price will also be donated to the nonprofit. 3441 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-666-5450, graystonetavernchicago.com
The sports bar hosts a pre-Memorial Day party on Sunday at 11 am with $6 Bud Light and Miller Lite stadium drinks with a DJ at 9 pm The same special will be offered on Monday when the bar opens at 3 p.m. 2934 N. Sheffield Avenue, 773-770-0700, kirkwoodbar.com
Catch a live flamenco and guitar show on the patio from 5-7pm on Saturday. 900 E. Grand Ave., 872-710-5750, liricarestaurant.com
White Claw hands out coolers, gift cards and other prizes for best white attire at a White Hot Summer kick-off party featuring $25 White Claw buckets, $8 margaritas on tap and $14 white pizzas from noon to 4 pm on Monday. Compete in Memorial Day-themed trivia at 7 pm 1925 West Cortland Street, 773-489-0738, lottiespub.com
The seventh annual party hosted by Begyle Brewing and Dovetail Brewery features specialty beer taps, food trucks, pop-ups, and live music from The Funk Crusaders and Yacht Rock-ettes. The event runs from 11 am to 10 pm Saturday and 11 am to 9 pm Sunday A suggested donation of $5 benefits local food pantry The Friendship Center. Ravenswood and Belle Plaine avenues, mayfestiversary.com
Celebrate at Navy Pier on Sunday and Monday with free spirit brands and tastings of food and cocktails from Offshore’s new summer menu. 1000 E. Grand Ave., 312-535-6660, offshorerooftop.com
Kick off the weekend with an all-you-can-eat dinner featuring tenderloin, brisket, spare ribs and chicken thighs from Chef Brian Jupiter and Smoky Soul Barbeque Chef-Owner Daniel Hammond from 7-9pm on Friday. The $79 meal includes a Kurvball BBQ Whiskey Cocktail. On Saturday, from 1-4 pm, West Town Restaurant hosts the Beer, Burger & Bubbles Bash, featuring wagyu beef, elk and crab burgers, local beers and bubble tastings for $39. 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-772-4322, lafronterachicago.com
Feast on a pound and a half of boiled shrimp, corn, potatoes and punch for $39 from 11 am to 5 pm Monday. The party also features live music, $12 hurricanes, and $9 pigeons. 1415 N. Wood Street, 773-360-8320, inamaetavern.com
Wicker Park Bar opens at 11 am all weekend for holiday specials including $4 watermelon vodka mules and $12 Topo Chico sodas and Chicago-style Polish sausage served with fries. 1801 West Division St., 773-782-4400, macswoodgrilled.com
Compete for a $100 gift card during a wing-eating contest on Monday at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10, but you can also come watch, enter a raffle, and eat oysters and lobster rolls as part of the summer launch party to be held from 4-7 p.m. 2500 W. Chicago Ave., 773-697-4413, splitrailchicago.com
Local chefs and restaurants compete to make the best mole at Pilsen’s annual celebration, which also includes a craft market, wrestling, and performances by Mariachi Sirenas, Los Gallos and Simantikos Dance Chicago. The event is from 5 to 10 pm on Friday, from noon to 10 pm on Saturday and from noon to 9 pm on Sunday. A suggested donation of $5 or $10 per family benefits the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation. 1801 S. Ashland Ave., 312-733-2287, moledemayo.org
Roscoe Village and West Town restaurants will donate a portion of their Memorial Day weekend profits to Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that donates specially adapted custom homes to seriously injured veterans. 1955 West Addison St., 773-348-9800; 658 N. Ashland Ave., 312-929-4133; bartolispizzeria.com
Active duty service members and veterans receive a 25% discount on Sunday. 124 N. West State St., Geneva, 630-587-2274, burgerandsushihouse.com
Singer-songwriter Mike Hayes performs as part of a Friday-Monday patio party that includes $4 shots, $15 Miller or Coors buckets, $9.99 pretzels and $11 double cheeseburgers. 1140 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg; 847-744-5300; lacocinalocal.com
Enjoy live music on the patio all weekend while enjoying specials like $11 double cheeseburgers, $15 buckets of seltzer, $9.99 pretzels and $4 Fireball shots. 56 W. Wilson St., Palatine; 847-934-3000; 3341 W. Main St., St. Charles; 630-443-1664; thetaphousegrill.com