Here's Our Travel Guide to This Nation of Over 7,000 Islands
1. The Blind Pig Co120 N Walnut St, Champaign
2. Richard's On Main311 Main St, Peoria
3. Hangar 9511 S Illinois Ave, Carbondale
4. Rock Island Public House13328 Olde Western Ave, Blue Island
5. Palmer Place56 S La Grange Rd, La Grange
6. Firkin515 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville
7. Meier's Tavern235 E Lake Ave, Glenview
8. The Foundry85 Executive Dr, Aurora
9. Fast Eddie’s Bon Air1530 E 4th St Alton, Alton
10. The Cafe8 W Side Sq, Macomb
11. Liquid Blues126 N Benton St, Woodstock
12. Durty Nellie's180 N Smith St, Palatine
The Blind Pig is well known in the Champaign area, thanks to some fine brewing and a draft list with Founders Rubaeus, Deschutes Hop In The Dark, and Stone Cali-Belgique.
This brick basement is a locals’ paradis, thanks to cheap PBR and a breathalyzer on the wall.
This bi-level bar is known for top-flight local rock and bluegrass bands, but if you’re not up to that, you can have a few craft brews in the beer garden.
Named after the Rock Island Railroad -- its tracks still running through the city -- Rock Island Public House is Blue Island’s craft beer bar with a mission to support small, local businesses. Founded in 2012, Rock Island has 16 rotating taps featuring local brews (including one-offs and rare pours you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere), a spirits list that's chock-full of locally crafted options (Malort included), an in-house art gallery featuring the works of various local artists, and the selection of pinball machines rotates nearly as much as the beer taps to ensure the local patrons have a variety of options to feed their arcade fix.
Known locally as Palmer's, this beer joint has nearly 40 brews on tap and more than 300 bottles of fine American crafts, German, and Belgian brews. And they also feature a three-tiered patio to enjoy them on in nice weather.
With a thoughtfully curated, 30-strong tap list deep with up-and-comers like Destihl, Against The Grain, and Tighthead, Firkin has cemented its spot as the beer geek go-to on the North Shore, and a worthy destination from just about anywhere.
A farmhouse-turned-speakeasy-turned-legit tavern when the Meier family purchased it at the tail-end of Prohibition, Meier's is the kind of timeless dive every town should have, with cheap booze, greasy burgers, no credit cards, and no frills, whatsoever.
This huge, airy Aurora sports haven is home to a ton of cheap brew deals and deliciously greasy bar grub.
On the cusp of St. Louis territory is this Alton dive bar, serving up seriously reminiscent oddities and cheap brews.
Catch some local music, enjoy the company of friendly local patrons, or find yourself a bartender and order a Jamaican Quaalude at The Cafe in Macomb.
A flashback to the 60s, Liquid Blues is like a psychedelic haven, filled with kitschy decor like lava lamps, beaded curtains, and tie dye tapestries (and it’s located in Woodstock… Illinois, you know, like where Bill Murray filmed Groundhog Day?). The dive bar is home to live music, over 50 beers -- 14 on tap -- fish fry Fridays, steak Saturdays, and open jam Wednesdays. And Bill Murray has been known to drop by when he’s in the area; if you’re lucky, you might just get to drink a beer with Bill.
Not only will you find both local and national acts headlining at this suburban music oasis, but you can find fantastic things to eat and drink, like beer-steamed mussels and Three Floyd’s Gumballhead on tap.