Like a person who has filled their Boca Raton timeshare with As Seen on TV knives and garage-sale furniture, we simply cannot pass up a good deal. It's just not in our genes. Hence, we've compiled this definitive guide to the best happy hour option across 25 Chicago neighborhoods, allowing readers to drink and eat like they're twice as rich (or half as poor).
Pork ShoppeAddress and Info
When: Tue-Fri, 3-6pm
Offering something different on each day, Pork Shoppe keeps thrifty patrons happy with $3 drafts on Tuesdays, $5 ginger beer cocktails on Wednesdays, $6 glasses of wine on Thursdays, and $5 summer cocktails on Fridays.
Late BarAddress and Info
When: Fri-Sat, 8-10pm
Ready to get the night rolling, but need to get off the couch before The Shawshank Redemption pops on? Head to Late Bar and throw back $1 PBRs at this anything-goes dance spot.
Maria's Packaged GoodsAddress and Info
When: Sun-Thur, 4-7pm
Stop in at this beloved neighborhood haunt for $5 draft cocktails, including a Rosemary Fizz (gin, rosemary, lemon), Tequila Sunset (tequila, Aperol, lime, agave), and a Palmers Pint (ginger-peach vodka, black tea).
The BristolAddress and Info
When: Daily, 5:30-6:30pm
This industry favorite offers its happy hour all week. Stop in for half-off all wines by the glass and by the bottle, half-off draft beer, and half-off small plates.
Cold StorageAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 3-6pm
Oysters and beer on the cheap? No, you haven't died and gone to Belgium. Cold Storage offers $1 oysters and $3 drafts on weekdays.
Hugo's Frog BarAddress and Info
When: Daily, 3-6pm
Walk right past the Ferrari parked outside and grab a seat like you manage hedge funds in your sleep, because Hugo's Frog Bar offers $1 oysters, half-price white wine glasses, and half-price Vesper martinis (Plymouth gin, Absolut Elyx vodka) every day at the bar.
YushoAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 3-6pm
After trying to spot some Monk Parakeets in Washington Park, head on over to Yusho for $3 Kirin lagers, $4 ice cream, $5 steamed buns with fries, and $6 draft cocktails.
LowcountryAddress and Info
When: Tue-Sun, 5-7pm
Visitors will have to grab a seat at the bar and order a food item first, but after that they'll enjoy half-price drafts and cocktails (usually $6), including classics such as Negronis, and specialties such as the Lowcountry limeade (Fords gin, lime, brown sugar, basil).
III Forks Prime SteakhouseAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 4-6pm
Available in the main dining room and on the rooftop patio, this happy hour includes $1 oysters, as well as half-price drafts and tapped cocktails.
Oyster BahAddress and Info
When: Mon-Thurs, 5-6pm; Fri and Sat, 3-6pm
We recommend checking out the gorgeous basement bar (aka the Low Tide Lounge) for this happy hour, which includes half-priced oysters ($18 for dozen), $5 Cape cocktails, and $4 Anchor Steam pints.
Roots Handmade PizzaAddress and Info
When: Sun-Thur, 8:30-10pm
Running a bit later in the night, the happy hour at Roots Handmade Pizza (also available at the West Town location) offers $3 16oz Midwestern craft drafts, and $5 appetizers such as fried ravioli, loaded hummus, and artichoke dip.
AnimaleAddress and Info
When: Mon-Thurs, 4:30-7:30pm
One of our favorite new restaurants, this casual eatery offers a plate of salumi and cheese with a glass of wine for $10. Go. Now.
Rosebud PrimeAddress and Info
When: Mon-Fri, 3-6pm
There are several Rosebud locations, but this one boasts a breezy, European-style patio in the middle of the Loop. During happy hour, enjoy $5 house martinis, $5 house wines, $3 domestic beers, and $3 bar bites such as sticky ribs, popcorn shrimp, spicy calamari, and tater tots.
Near West Side
The OgdenAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 1-4pm
The first bar to offer (re-legalized) happy hour deals in Chicago, The Ogden is basically asking patrons to call off work for the second half of the day. Stop in to score half-off drinks, and enjoy craft beers as low as $3, specialty cocktails for $5.50, wine bottles for $14, and cheap beer for $2.
FrontierAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 4-6pm
Who doesn't like $1 oysters? No one, and Frontier has them, along with $2 Miller High Life, $5 Glass of Rosé, and $8 Frosé (Frozen Rosé; available on Friday only).
Bar LouieAddress and Info
When: Sun-Thur, 10pm-close
Located inside the historic Dearborn Station, this is hands-down the coolest Bar Louie you'll ever visit. Do so after 10pm and get $3 martini shooters and half-off apps, alongside daily specials such as $1 burgers on Tuesdays and $1.25 domestic bottles on Wednesdays.
Gideon WellesAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 3-5pm
You'll probably have to call out of work/school/military service for this one, but if you do, $3 Deschutes Brewing beers await.
FremontAddress and Info
When: Wed-Fri 4-6pm; Thur 5-7pm
River North is actually packed with great happy hours (from Tortoise Supper Club's $1 seafood to Ocean Cut's Shark Bar flights) but this is the Big Kahuna of happy hours. Wednesday through Friday, Fremont offers Moscow Mules and Japanese fried chicken for $5 each. However, don't hesitate to bring a date on Thursdays, when two hours of bottomless oysters and rosé costs a mere $20 per person. Don't forget to casually mention that you definitely own a chopper.
Rogers Park SocialAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 4-7pm
Rogers Park Social is as good a spot as any to bring your Tinder Tuesday date, and as a bonus, you can order a build-your-own mule for $5 (vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, or tequila). Also: $5 off a bucket of beers.
The Miller Lite Beer Garden at Navy PierAddress and Info
When: Weekdays, 4-6pm
In the unfortunate event you must resort to drinking in the vicinity of the wallet-gouging Navy Pier, the Miller Lite Beer Garden actually offers some pretty decent happy hour deals. Mainly: $3 Miller Lite and Coors Light drafts, $5 Henry’s Hard Ginger Ale, and $6 nachos.
Beauty BarAddress and Info
When: Thurs-Fri, 7-9pm
This deal will get the party started like the ghost of Elvis appearing at the Las Vegas Elvis Festival. Pop in for two shots of Malort and a 32oz mini pitcher of Old Style for $10.
Ph.D PubAddress and Info
When: Mon-Thurs, 5-7pm; Fri-Sat, 7-9pm; Sun, 7-10pm
Offered every day of the week, the happy hour specials at Ph.D Pub are exactly what the doctor told you to cut back on. Oh well. Monday through Saturday, enjoy half-off well drinks and $6 boilermakers (PBR, Rolling Rock, Tullamore DEW, Fireball), as well as $5 vodka lemonades and screwdrivers on Sundays.
Fat CatAddress and Info
When: Mon-Thur, 4-6pm
Four days a week, this happy hour offers $5 highballs, $6 wine glasses, $5 drafts. Select cocktails, such as the Manhattan or gin and ginger, are a wallet-friendly $6.
SepiaAddress and Info
When: Mon-Fri, 4-7pm
Sepia is one of the finest restaurants in Chicago, and that sometimes overshadows the fact that its bar staff is also exemplary. Offering a Greatest Hits menu that showcases items from the past eight years, Sepia's happy hour invites patrons to enjoy $7 cocktails, wines, and beer. Bites such as pork rillettes and shishito peppers are also available for $7.
Easy BarAddress and Info
When: Mon, 5-7pm; Wed-Fri, 5-7pm; Sat-Sun, 3-6pm
Pound for pound, Easy Bar has one of the best drinking happy hours in Chicago. On Mondays, score a domestic bottle and shot of Powers whiskey for $4. Wednesdays offer $4 Old Fashioned cocktails. Thursdays have $4 Old Grand-Dad whiskey cocktails. $5 Last Word cocktails are the name of the game on Fridays, and weekends offer $5 Absolut Bloody Marys and Ferris Muellers.
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1. Pork Shoppe5721 N Clark St, Chicago
2. Late Bar3534 W Belmont, Chicago
3. Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar960 W 31st St, Chicago
4. Bristol Lounge3084 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
5. Cold Storage1000 W. Fulton Market, Chicago
6. Hugo's Frog Bar & Fish House1024 N Rush St, Chicago
7. Yusho2853 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
8. Lowcountry3343 N Clark St, Chicago
9. III Forks Prime Steakhouse180 N Field Blvd, Chicago
10. Oyster Bah1962 N Halsted St, Chicago
11. Roots Handmade Pizza1924 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
12. Animale1904 N Western Ave, Chicago
13. Rosebud1500 W Taylor St, Chicago
14. The Ogden1659 W Ogden, Chicago
15. Frontier1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
16. Bar Louie47 W Polk St, Chicago
17. Gideon Welles4500 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
18. Fremont15 W Illinois St, Chicago
19. Rogers Park Social6922 N Glenwood Ave, Chicago
20. Beauty Bar1444 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
21. Ph.D Pub Chicago1257 S Halsted St, Chicago
22. Fat Cat4840 N Broadway St, Chicago
23. Sepia123 N Jefferson St, Chicago
24. Easy Bar1944 W Division St, Chicago
This 38-seat outlet of porcine goodness is decked out with mounted farm tools and pig diagrams in a barn-like space. Smoked baby back ribs, pulled pig & fowl, Texas-style brisket, and sliced steak dominate the menu alongside a choice of three different sauces: molasses-based Sweet & Sticky, vinegar-y Tart & Tangy, and Wicked Spicy. Atop a fluffy brioche bun, meaty, fatty bacon that's been cured for ten days a smoked for 12 hours meets pastrami on what is undoubtedly one of the best sandwiches in the city.
With 4am closing hour, Late Bar really lives up to its name. From a duo that's been throwing events in clubs around the city for years, this Avondale bar-club-combo is their stab at something more permanent. A music-driven, cash-only dive with eclectic photography, a video screen playing anything but sports, and a dance floor dark enough to facilitate actual dancing set the stage for some seriously strong cocktails made by some crazy-fast bartenders.
Maria's has the soul of a dive bar combined with modern -- dare we say hipster -- design details like chandeliers made out of beer bottles and butcher block tabletops. It has some 400-plus beers (many of which are rare craft brews) to choose from, owed in part to its adjoining liquor shop. The selection is always changing, and the shop receives up to 40 new beers a week and expires just as many. Maria's also has a wine program that features small family vineyards from all over the world and it serves a variety of ginger beer cocktails made with beer brewed specially for the bar.
Located right next door to a Polish restaurant and sharing its roots, Bristol Lounge serves up a very different variety of dive bar snacks than you're typically used to. Take, for instance, the chicken gizzards, hunter’s stew, or beef tripe soup this unlabeled, laid-back spot serves up with pints of traditionally dark and malty Polish beer with a shots of grenadine in it -- proof that the Polish have been under-the-radar party pros for decades now.
This casual but refined seafood concept inside Swift & Sons specializes in shellfish towers, seafood items both large and small, fish sandwiches, and best of all, ice cream sundaes. The 60-seat space is equally chic but more laid-back than its steakhouse sibling.
This classic seafood joint in Gold Coast hosts both an old-school pub-style dining space, a shaded patio, and a few rooms offering a more refined experience. Fish is what's for dinner here: Whatever catch is currently available comes seared, fried, grilled, however you want it, alongside vegetable and french fry sides, lobster, and oysters from the raw bar. No matter your meal, there's sure to be an ideal match for it on the vast wine list featuring American blends, cabernets, merlots, and more.
Because apparently not everything in Japan gets lost in translation, former Charlie Trotter's exec chef Matthias Merges drew on the energy and community he discovered in the country's street food scene when conceiving Yusho. His architect wife channeled his vision into an eclectic space with a bar made from century-old wood beams and a skylit back room projecting anime. Crunch on salmon and chicken skins while you sip a boozy soda or one of the formidable offerings of Japanese and domestic beers. Then share a bowl of mentaiko carbonara, a seaside leaning take on the Italian pasta with spicy cod roe and bucatini from sister restaurant A10.
Lowcountry in Lakeview serves customizable seafood boils in a Southern and nautical atmosphere with a backyard feel. Buckets of beer are a cheap solution for a big group, and the short-and-sweet roster of specialty cocktails (margaritas and daiquiris), classics and house wine still offer plenty of other options. At 10pm, picnic tables start getting cleared off for beer pong and “bro country.” Downstairs, there are several private karaoke rooms that are available for rent. Experience all of this, but not without ordering a bag -- yes, a bag -- of shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage boiled with Cajun spices.
This Loop area American steakhouse and wine bar should be your next go-to when you're looking for somewhere impressive to take that special someone. Not only does Three Forks serve certified prime and dry aged meats of the highest caliber, but it also offers a wide selection of premium wine from small batch vineyards around the world. The rooftop lounge is also a sight to see-- take in the lakeshore views on the patio space that seats up to 100.
This Lincoln Park restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You is all about New England seafood. Oyster Bah serves Cape Cod classics like clam chowder and lobster rolls, plus more region-specific specialities like shrimp & grits and Maryland-style crab cake. It’s really all about the oysters though, and the restaurant sources between eight and 12 cold-water varieties daily. The multi-level space is decorated like a shabby chic seafood shack and has two bars serving oyster-friendly wines, cocktails, and local draft beer.
Helmed by the people behind The Fifty/50, this deluxe corner spot in West Town is slinging "Quad Cities-style" pizza. The hand-tossed crusts are infused with the same malt you taste in your beer before they're lathered with homemade sauce, doused in mozzarella, topped with your choice of fresh ingredients and cured meats, fired, and sliced into thin, easy-to-eat strips. Perfect for big family outings and group nights, the bar and patio seat more than 300.
From the crew behind Osteria Langhe, Animale is a unique fast-casual restaurant that's changing the way we think about service. The staff rotates its duties, so the same people who cook your food will be serving it behind the counter another day. Revolving around Italian street food, the menu includes panini with house-made pancetta, meat dishes like bacon-wrapped sweet breads and rabbit liver, and arancini rice balls.
While The Rosebud is now be the bedrock of a Chicago restaurant empire, this location in Little Italy, its original rightfully draws in Chicagoans looking for heaps of pasta, baked clams, and some of the best meatballs in the city. The bustling nature of this constantly-busy, wood-paneled throwback space might bother you anywhere else but here that brash, energetic liveliness only adds to its character.
This United Center-friendly sports bar permeates industrial-chic by mixing a fireplace-equipped lounge with flatscreen-appointed booths, setting the stage for next-level bar eats like whipped salt cod tacos, truffle mac & cheese, and garlic buffalo wings in portions so hefty, you might need to take them to go. They're also sporting a lineup of 20 local craft beers on tap, and even more by the bottle.
It may not be the final frontier, but with ice-taps pouring 16 traditional and seasonal brews, a meat heavy menu featuring specialty sausages, steaks, and "Animal Service", flat screen TVs, and a beer garden, you won't need to explore any further. Allied: Ready yourself for Animal Service with some Smith & Forge, the hard cider that's built strong -- built from Apples and built to Refresh.
This laid-back hang-out on Printers Row boasts big tables, big tvs, and big burgers. With frequent specials and happy hours, you can grab one of their citrusy boozed-up concoctions and a towering pile of bun, beef, tangy barbecue sauce, and crispy onion rings for an almost unbelievably low price. Or, if you're feeling like something a little more upscale, you can pair a thin, crunchy flatbread with a martini, shaken not stirred, instead.
Gideon Welles, the man, was a 19th-century journalist and politician who served as secretary of the U.S. Navy from 1861-1869, but as serious as that sounds, you'll find wacky prints of him on the exposed-brick walls at Gideon Welles, the pub. This friendly Ravenswood spot is cooking up everything from pulled pork nachos to a beet & goat cheese salad to the Old Neptune Burger, topped with triple cream brie, tangy tomato chutney, and a giant onion ring. There's also an extensive wine and beer list, plus classic cocktails like a barrel-aged Manhattan.
This River North cocktail bar-slash-restaurant is part nightclub, part swanky brasserie. The menu revolves around shareable small plates (oysters, fries, flatbreads) and larger platters (shout out to the fried chicken). The drink menu is full of remixed classic cocktails and features equally shareable Moscow Mules made with your choice of vodka. The two-level space has a retractable rooftop on the second floor and a stage where DJs turn Fremont into a dancing destination.
Rogers Park Social epitomizes the idea of a "neighborhood" watering hole, because it's actually founded and operated by neighborhood residents, who serve up inventive cocktails and craft beers inside a homey, industrial space. There's also a retro lounge where you can play games like Monopoly while you sip on bar favorites, such as the Socialite (St. George California Citrus Vodka, agave, lime, cranberry, Napoleon Mandarine Orange Cognac) or the Super Rad (CH Key Gin, Stiegl Grapefruit Radler, Pür Likor Elderflower Liqueur). It's a social spot, so bring plenty of friends, or go alone and get to know some of the locals.
An outpost of the NY-based chain of wild, multicolored nightclubs, Beauty Bar is designed to resemble an old-school salon from the '60s, mixed with a dance-heavy dive bar. Among blow-drying and nail-painting stations, the bartenders even sling specialty hair-themed cocktails, like Bed Head (Sauza Blue Silver tequila shaken with pineapple and lime juices) and The Blowout (Jim Beam rye or bourbon whiskey, dekuyper ginger, liqueur, lemon).
This UIC bar’s patio is a University Village outdoor favorite and features picnic tables, lounge chairs, and couches for your outdoor boozing comfort. Designed with a 1920s mahogany bar and stained glass touches throughout the bar, the casual and cozy haunt seamlessly adds to the historic Maxwell Street's repertoire of friendly dining and retail offerings. Stop in for a craft brew in the beer garden, or a vodka lemonade that'll evoke summer on any month of the year.
This casual and spacious Uptown spot is serving everything from flatbreads and burgers to salads and wings, plus some of the best Bloody Marys in town during its weekend brunch. You'll also find a rotating craft brew selection featuring more than 80 beer options, most of them American, which you should tap into before heading out to one of the two outdoor patios. Better yet, sidle up to the pool table, shuffle board, or giant Jenga.
Occupying a 19th-century print shop and adorned with sleek chandeliers and trimmings, Sepia looks the part of a high-end restaurant, but a meal here won’t wreck your wallet as much as its ambience might suggest. There are upscale dishes on the menu to match the swanky setting, including a strip steak with escarole, fennel, red onion marmalade, and celery root pavé. You'll want to pair your plate with a creative cocktail, such as the Cruise Control, made with jasmine green tea-infused vodka, cream of coconut, and basil.
The guys behind Estelle’s and Alive One bring you this trendy, easygoing bar in Wicker Park. Cozy up inside the wood-laden space sporting dark red walls, and knock back a few rounds from its solid beer list, which features draft, bottle, and can options from Belgium to Chicago. You can also sip on cocktails like the “Choice Words," made with Four Roses bourbon, Chartreuse, lemon, and Luxardo maraschino. There's a jukebox bumping hits from the likes of Otis Redding, Jack White, and Alabama Shakes that are sure to set the mood.