This Shot and Beer Combo Comes with a Free Hot Dog
1. Rite Liquors1649 W Division St, Chicago
2. Fischman Liquors & Tavern4780 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
3. Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar960 W 31st St, Chicago
4. W Isla Cut Rate Liquors1656 W Division St, Chicago
5. Bruno's6562 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago
6. Oasis6809 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago
7. Peacock Liquors3056 W Montrose Ave, Chicago
8. Sovereign Liquors6202 N Broadway St, Chicago
9. Crown Liquors2821 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
10. Ola's Liquors947 N Damen Ave, Chicago
11. George's Cocktail Lounge646 S Wabash Ave, Chicago
In a space once occupied by a polka club in the 1920s, Rite Liquors has been operating as a liquor store and dive bar since the 70s. With an ample selection of things to do and consume -- like scratch off the lottery tickets you couldn’t help but buy, drink cans of Busch Light paired with a bag of chips or a Hostess cake, and grab a pack of smokes for the road. It’s like an old gas station in stock selection and fluorescent lighting, a dive bar in atmosphere (the lights dim as you travel to the back towards the bar), but above all, a liquor store with a selection you may not expect from a dark, neon-lit corner store.
Most well known for its huge warehouse of rare craft brews, this slashie is also noteworthy for its bi-monthly food trucks outside (including the in-house Chi Town Chow Down, formerly Wagyu Wagon) and events in the parking lot with live bands. It remains both a neighborhood staple and a destination for beer geeks, especially because Fischman Liquors throws ticketed events that feel like amazing mini-beer fests (because that's basically what they are). No matter when you visit, come prepared to spend more time than you anticipated and drop some money in the bottle shop on some selections you just couldn't bear to go home without.
Maria's is an awesome dive bar with eclectic selections and friendly staff.
In the dive bar-heavy Eastern section of Wicker Park, this place often gets lost in the shuffle. Longtime residents even seem surprised by its existence, and the locals-heavy crew of serious professional drinkers like it that way. If you’re a fan of Polish vodka and “authentic” dive bar smells (who isn't???), this is the place for you.
Bruno’s (formerly known as Bruno and Tim’s Lounge) has been a Rogers Park staple since 1956, and has amassed serious street cred among locals for staying put in the neighborhood while Loyola bought up all the other businesses on the block and turned them into retail or housing. Step inside and find "package goods" on the left, and a recently touched-up bar on the right that's frequented by students, barflies, and basketball-loving alumni.
Some people love the Oasis and its dead-serious love of darts: the sport of beer-bellied champions. Others know the joint simply as “where dreams go to die,” citing blurry 3am visits during which time stands still and despondent men clutch beer bottles like the edge of an abyss. But hey, the Oasis sells to-go booze late into the night, so think happy thoughts and forge ahead.
At Peacock Liquors is more of a liquor store with a bar in the back (rather than the other way around) and every visit feels like it necessitates a drink that can never come quick enough.
Come for the jukebox, stay for the company, leave with a cold sixer in hand. The Sovereign is one of the sparkliest hidden gems in town, and its excellent jukebox features mixes made by the staff and friends. Every neighborhood should have a slashie like this.
When you step in and scan the chalkboard panels above the bar touting the 24-strong tap list (they might be changing one out as you're perusing; it turns over fast) you might find yourself paralyzed with indecision figuring out whether to go with, say, a Backwoods Bastard or an Abraxas. Luckily, they happily do cheaper half-pours so you can cycle through your targets quickly and efficiently. In non-beer but nonetheless important news, the $3 shot dice are as entertaining and dangerous as they sound— it’s a craps-style special where a roll of the dice scores a shot of mystery booze.
At Ola's Liquor, to-go booze, cheap beer on tap, lottery tickets, cigarettes, pretzels, and a feisty bartender who may or may not be swearing at you in Polish are all part of the charming ambiance. Few places around town are as old-school Chicago as Ola’s, so shut up about it already and drink your damn beer.
The South Loop isn’t exactly overrun with low-key hangout bars, so we’re thankful that George’s Cocktail Lounge keeps on trucking, no matter how many condo owners, convention visitors, and corpse-reviving necromancers flood the neighborhood. Also, kidding about the necromancers. Or are we???