Drink This Winter Bourbon Smash and Conquer Cold Weather Forever
If you're looking to throw back a few brewskis with locals and probably a few bitter travelers on the way to/from O'Hare, Rex Tavern has you covered starting at 8pm. The kitchen is closed though, so grab some grub before making the trip.
Holiday fact: Hopleaf has more beers than Santa’s had back injuries (which is a lot, we hear). The kitchen will be closed, but you can still sample fine Belgian brews to your heart's content.
Serving brunch from 11am to 4pm, Kit Kat Supper Club also has all your boozin' needs covered until 2am. As a bonus, visitors will score 50% off martinis, cocktails, and the Christmas prix-fixe menu when they bring in canned food donations.
Did you know that the feeling of warming up next to a crackling fire can easily be replicated by sipping rare whiskeys? Test out this hypothesis by visiting Delilah's between 4pm and 2am on Christmas Day.
Quenchers Saloon has been serving craft beers in Logan Square since 1979, which is also probably the last time Santa ate a salad. Pop in after 5pm and stay until at least midnight. (The bar will remain open past midnight if it gets busy.)
Like Officer John McClane, Lottie's Pub does not mess around on Christmas. The 13th annual Rock 'n' Roll Christmas bash includes giveaways and a coat drive, as well as $3.50 Heinekens and $5 Rumple Mintz hot chocolates. Stop by from 6pm to 2am.
Open 365 days a year until 4am, Exit is as dependable as Ralphie’s official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200 shot range model air rifle! Luckily, they have enough booze and metal to make you forget all about Christmas.
Butch McGuire’s is open from 11am to 4am on Christmas, which theoretically gives you 17 hours to drink beer. Pro tip: Do not drink beer for 17 hours.
Not only is Liar's Club open on Christmas (9pm to 2am), but it will also have a huge vulgar ice sculpture that you can do shots off of. Bring grandma.
Nothing says Christmas likes blues music and tasty barbecue, according to this sentence. Get your fill from 6pm to 4am at Kingston Mines.
The Slope is open from 8pm to 2am on Xmas, and the staff will be ordering in Chinese food. Just like Jesus would've wanted.
Open from 6pm to 2am, Longman & Eagle is serving a limited dinner menu this year. But what is not limited is the selection of whiskeys, so just go ham on that.
Sticking to regular hours (7am to 2am), LH Rooftop offers much better views than your parents' couch, from which you will probably witness cousins wrestle until someone cries and mom starts yelling.
Near North Side
Baptiste & Bottle is open until 11pm, and its swanky whiskey bar is totally worth a visit to pregame before listening to uncle Jim's UFO-related theories at dinner.
Theoretically, could Santa even fit inside The Matchbox? Ponder this and life’s other mysteries while enjoying excellent cocktails from 6pm to 2am.
If you call Richard’s you’ll hear one of those dial-up modem noises on the line, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been to Richard’s. But several of our, ahem, “interesting” friends have stated that Richard’s "never closes" and is definitely open on Christmas.
Serving drinks and a full menu starting at 6pm on Christmas Day, O'Donovan's offers the perfect escape from large men who park reindeer on the roofs of people's houses.
Not only can you hang out at Timothy O'Toole's from 5pm to 2am, you can also totally nuke your body with the Big Timmy Challenge before making that New Year's resolution to lose weight.
Cash money is still the best Christmas gift there is, and you'll have more of it if you hit up Rainbo Club for $2 PBR pints from 8pm to 2am.
The kitchen will be closed on Xmas Day at Bangers & Lace, but you can always stuff your pockets with ma's meatloaf if you want a late-night snack. Right? (Open 7pm to 2am.)
Haymarket really gets into the giving spirit on Christmas by offering possibly the best deal in town: $1 pints of house beer. Stop in from 5pm to 2am.
Air-guitar your way to a totally metal Christmas at the Flat Iron, which is open from 10pm to 4am and offers $2 domestic bottles, $3 import bottles, and a $6 PBR and Heaven Hill shot combo.
If you squint hard enough, a trip to Nick's Beer Garden actually does start looking and feeling like a Caribbean getaway. Find your beach with $2 bottles and cans, $3 drafts, and $5 PBR and shot combos from 10pm to 4am.
1. Rex Tavern4933 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
2. Hopleaf5148 N Clark St, Chicago
3. Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club3700 N Halsted St, Chicago
4. Delilah's2771 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
5. Quenchers Saloon2401 N Western Ave, Chicago
6. Lottie's Pub1925 W Cortland St, Chicago
7. Berlin Nightclub954 West Belmont Ave, Chicago
8. Butch McGuire's20 W Division St, Chicago
9. Liar's Club1665 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago
10. Kingston Mines2548 N Halsted St, Chicago
11. Slippery Slope2357 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
12. Longman & Eagle2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
13. LondonHouse Rooftop360 N Michigan Ave, Chicago
14. Baptiste & Bottle101 E Erie St Fl 20, Chicago
15. The Matchbox770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
16. Richard's Bar491 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
17. O'Donovan's2100 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
18. Timothy O'Toole's622 N Fairbanks Ct, Chicago
19. Rainbo Club1150 N Damen Ave, Chicago
20. Bangers & Lace810 Grove St, Evanston
21. Haymarket Pub and Brewery737 W Randolph, Chicago
22. The Flat Iron1565 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
23. Nick's Beer Garden1516 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
Rex Tavern is a dog friendly dive on Milwaukee in Jefferson Park. Its neighborhood charm and comforting atmosphere draw guests into its confines to lounge on the couches, at the pub tables, or on the back patio (in the rare, weather permitting months). Rex features cheap drinks, water bowls for your dog, darts, and music from a juke box, but don’t come hungry… there's no food here, but the staff has been known to heat up a frozen pizza for guests.
This Andersonville beer bar is known for its rotating selection of draft beers primarily from the Midwest and Belgium. More than just a bar that serves food, Hopleaf has an outstanding menu of Belgian-inspired food like mussels from Prince Edward Island, charcuterie, and steak frites. The place is casual and laid-back, just like a neighborhood bar should be.
Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club is one of Boystown's best destinations for a night out. The American restaurant and lounge is decorated as an homage to supper clubs of the past -- it's plastered with animal prints, vinyl, and bright, mosaic tiles. The atmosphere is quirky and lighthearted, but the cocktail menu is serious, featuring a robust martini list. But despite the selection and quality of drinks here, the real reason you're here is for the live entertainment... to be serenaded by the lip-syncing ladies in drag who keep the Kit Kat Lounge alive.
Delilah’s is a truly remarkable place disguised by the facade of a dreary, punk rock dive. Monday through Saturday, it’s an above-average Lincoln Park hangout with some 200 beers, 750 whiskeys, music, and a rotating art gallery featuring local artists. But the real magic happens on Sundays during football season, when Buffalo fans unite in the narrow dive to shout at TVs showing their beloved Bills. This is no average football viewing, this is serious -- I’m talking tears, dolphins engulfed in flames during Miami match-ups, and bear hugs in victories and losses alike. With every touchdown, a devoted fan buys a round of shots for the bar, and every surface is constantly covered in cans of Labatt Blue. Game days at Delilah’s are not for fair weather Bills (or Sabres) fans, nor for anyone shouting anything other than “Let’s Go Buffalo!”
Opened in 1979, this laid-back corner bar on the Bucktown/Logan border was a craft beer bar way before people on the Internet were making lists of good craft beer bars. Because there was no Internet. And, there weren’t really other beer bars. They aren’t really the type to brag that they did it first, though (well, they do call themselves “Chicago’s Original Beer Bar,” but they don’t broadcast it too loudly). They’re too busy maintaining an unassailable tap list, throwing kickass rock shows in the back, and offering kickass-er specials all week. Just because you have great craft beer doesn’t mean people can’t appreciate $1 Blatz and $2 mystery shots.
Born in 1934 as a destination for Chicago’s mobsters to gamble and indulge in prostitution, the modern-day Lottie’s promises its guests beer, bar snacks, and a little slice of history. The pub has, obviously, undergone renovations, but its exposed brick walls, wood paneling, and various memorabilia help maintain its old-time, neighborhood atmosphere. Now offering a full menu of bar food favorites -- chicken tenders, nachos, burgers, pizza, and the like -- and a large selection of cheap beer, the two-story dive draws a mixed demographic to its corner in Bucktown.
While the website clearly states no roller skates or hover boards, Berlin is a dress-code-free, high-energy Chicago nightlife staple. Open until 4am most nights, the place is a non-stop party for droves of locals, with a host of live DJ's, a variety of themed dance parties, and plenty of all-inclusive, super-freaky gender-bending drag shows. With a powerful belief in equality and great music, Berlin is a progressive, always-thrilling, exuberant weekend hang out.
54 years later and Butch's remains one of the best spots for a good old fashioned night out on the town in Chicago. The scene is festive and friendly; the digs, cozy and well worn in the best way. Drinks are strong and flavorful; you'll need some of the house's Nachos McGuire to wash them down.
Liar's Club is the best bar in all of Chicagoland, in my humble opinion. Should you find yourself wandering near the intersection of Clybourn and Fullerton, drop into the dark dive behind the steel door and treat yourself to a night of cheap drinks, dancing... and ghosts. It's (objectively) haunted by the ghosts of those murdered on premises, which is ironic because the '50s-style space looks like a cross between a butcher shop and an asylum (padded walls, metal doors and ceilings, black carpeted floors). But in the best way! In the back, the tiny dance floor is overflowing, lights flashing, disco ball spinning, and up a rickety set of wooden stairs is a pinball machine, but it's also allegedly where the murders took place... take it or leave it.
The moment you step inside Kingston Mines, you’ll immediately feel displaced from the bone-chilling Chicago air and at once in the warmth of Blues Country. Two stages in two separate rooms -- each with a variety of seating or standing options to enjoy the music -- feature nighty live. You can dine on a platter of New Orleans-style ribs and drink your way through a bucket of beers while someone sways to the beat over peanut shell-lined floors, cocktail in hand. It’s an iconic blues haven, but it doesn’t come for free. Purchase tickets in advance to avoid a higher entrance fee.
Skee-ball, tamales, and and an expansive, crimson-lit dance floor await at this two-story club made to replace what Bonny's once was. The beer is cheap, the wine is boxed, and we promise this will probably be one of the only times you'll hear "Mother-In-Law" (a tamale-chili combo) and not be filled with dread.
Longman & Eagle, the Michelin-starred gastropub in Logan Square, has an exclusive whiskey selection (clocking in at over 400 labels), a craft cocktail menu, and an extensive beer list all fit for the most pretentious of drinkers, in the least pretentious of atmospheres. Longman takes a flavor-forward, honest approach to eating and drinking, and because it doesn’t accept reservations, there is always a wait for brunch, happy hour, and dinner alike. (And it is always worth it.) While whiskey may be king, the regional American fare has just as much to offer, hence the Michelin star. The menu changes often, but expect anything from beef tallow beignets and veal brains to wild boar sloppy joes, chicken and waffles, and a burger that, if you know what's good for you, you will order.
The rooftop at this super-luxe Loop hotel has not one, but THREE levels, each with views of the Chicago skyline that give all other rooftops a run for their money. Each floor is different: the 21st floor features an indoor cocktail bar, while the 22nd is all about the outdoor terrace. The 23rd floor is the most formal of the three with exclusive dining under the building's signature dome. Reservations are recommend for all levels.
Baptiste & Bottle, located on the 20th floor of the Conrad Hotel, specializes in bourbon and provisions, and elevated New American dishes like house charcuterie, asparagus and pimento cheese, and heritage pork. The menu opens with a quote from Mark Twain, appropriately introducing guests to the American cuisine and whiskey selections on the pages that follow. While there’s a serious cocktail program in play -- cocktail cart for tableside service included -- whiskey is front and center. The cellar selections are categorized by style (grain, aging technique, country of origin): bourbon, rye, wheat, Japanese, Irish, Canadian, Scotch. If you’re a connoisseur (or want to be), the “Bourbon Baron Program” is the Baptiste & Bottle’s whiskey education program. Three levels (you must taste 25, 50, or 75 whiskeys, respectively) grant you personalized lockers at the restaurant, premium bottles, invites to exclusive tastings, and the like. Go for the whiskey, stay for the whiskey, and soak it all up with a light plate of bone marrow and oxtail marmalade.
As the self-proclaimed "most intimate bar in Chicago" at only 460sqft, The Matchbox is not for those who require substantial personal space. It is, however, for folks who enjoy high-quality cocktails like fresh lime juice gimlets and Manhattans garnished with tasty french cherries, paired with emphatic conversation with friends and strangers at very close range. Having stood at the corner of Ogden and Milwaukee for over 75 years, the divey hallway-eqsue space is a Chicago staple, with red tin ceilings, a dark-wooded bar, and ever-present rows of christmas light dangling above shelves crammed with liquor. The place serves a handful of bar snacks -- panko-crusted mozzarella, bacon-wrapped-scallops, wings -- and in the warmer months, there is side walk seating available (with far more space and far less character than the joint's interior).
First thing's first: smoking is legal -- and prevalent -- inside the confines of West Town's beloved Richard's. That said, if smoke bothers you, feel free to stop reading, but if you like fun, don't. Yes, you'll be drinking beer from a bar studded with ash trays, but it's cheap. And yes, you'll be dancing through foggy clouds of smoke, but to the music you've selected on the jukebox. It's divey, dark, and a damn good time... just know that a shower is in your immediate future.
Whether you're looking for a cold IPA, table-side magic tricks, or a hefty plate of steak nachos, this Irish pub will certainly deliver. With a relaxed, sunny beer garden, a wood-paneled dining room, and a lengthy mahogany bar studded with black vinyl stools, the space has ample seating, with a diverse menu to match. Ranging from typical bar snacks to thick-cut burgers and pasta entrées, there are more than enough available food options, and the all-you-can-drink weekend brunch special offers a 4$ pint-of-bacon.
TOT has everything you could want in a dive bar and more: billiards, classic bar food, 48 beers on tap and over 70 HD televisions. The menu offers wings and burger staples as well as healthy options and a children’s menu. Stop in on the weekend for brunch, featuring a Build Your Own Mimosa and Bloody Mary drink bar. This neighborhood pub hosts events such as trivia, karaoke, and comedy nights.
Around since the 1930's, this Wicker Park dive is notorious for its crowd of beanie-clad, PBR-guzzling hipsters, engrossed in competitive games of pinball. Once home to a series of burlesque shows, the dimly-lit space is now a stomping grounds for Chicago's young and fashionable (and arguably pretentious) imbibers, gathering around the island-like, shamrock-shaped bar to order well-drinks and remarkably cheap draft beers. The place is hard to miss with an enormous L-shaped neon sign hanging above the ramshackle facade, and the interior features an equally retro juke box, red vinyl booths, and a fully functional photo booth (much to the delight of many-a-hipster). With an eclectic soundtrack, a constantly rotating selection of art work on display, and a bar that serves until 4 am, the places rarely has open seats.
Wicker Park’s beloved sausage and craft beer haven went suburban with this 130-seat Evanston location that’s just as awesome as the original. The space features a rotating list of 32 beers on tap, as well as their much-loved sausages and small plates.
With a dining room that requires you to walk past the brew house and fermentation room, Haymarket is all about showcasing the artistry of its craft (craft beer, that is). The brewpub's 32 taps, however, available once you surpass the stretch of mosaic-tiled hallway, are well worth the journey. While the spot's bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout has won them some serious acclaim, the brewers as a whole specialize in contemporary American and Belgian style beers. Notorious for his ability to pair dishes with specific beers -- a beer sommelier, of sorts -- Haymarket's head chef has designed the restaurant's full menu around the draft offerings. The kitchen serves up house-cured seasonal sausages, smoked hot wings with cinnamon, and wood-fired pizzas as late as 2am. And best of all, the spot doesn't deliver -- the beers are only available right in house.
The Note's been transformed from a live music venue to a divey neighborhood tavern, with walls graffiti'd up by nine local artists (buxom women, devils, aliens, robots, etc). The remodel's from the guy who runs the laid-back trio Nick's Beer Garden, Nick'
Nick's is a neighborhood bar that transforms into a packed madhouse in the early hours of the morning. Get there early to snag a table on their little back patio or, as they call it, the beer garden. To avoid the madness, arrive (and leave) before the 1:30am mark to enjoy the more laid-back and friendly crowd. They often have insanely cheap drink deals, which help the conversation if you're headed to this popular late night spot to meet someone new (if you know what we mean.)