Food & Drink

18 Chicago Bars That Are Open on Christmas Day

Published On 12/18/2015 Published On 12/18/2015
AMK Kitchen Bar
Longman & Eagle
Butch McGuire’s
The Matchbox
Flickr/Devin Hunter
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1. Hopleaf 5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

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.

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2. AMK Kitchen Bar 1954 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Comfort food goes chic at this creative, casual diner in Bucktown. Their extensive menu promises plenty of options for all, but we recommend their "ultimate" grilled cheese, which lives up to its name with five cheeses, bacon, and tomato jam. Check out their happy hour deals, half price draft beers and $8 pizza, Monday through Friday, 5-7pm.

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3. Quenchers Saloon 2401 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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.

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4. Lottie's Pub 1925 W Cortland St, Chicago, IL 60622

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.

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5. Delilah's 2771 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

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!”

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6. Liar's Club 1665 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

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.

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7. Ricochet's Tavern 4644 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

This old school hang's got everything you need for a good time: beer, darts, TVs playing the latest game, and a jukebox. Bring your friends and don't be surprised the friendly neighborhood barkeeps buy you a round.

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8. Longman & Eagle 2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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.

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9. Slippery Slope 2357 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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.

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10. Butch McGuire's 20 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60610

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.

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11. Timothy O'Toole's 622 N Fairbanks Ct, Chicago, IL 60611

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.

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12. Exit 1315 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

This Goose Island establishment is a dive bar, through and through, with dim lighting, cheap drinks and live punk rock music.

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13. O'Donovan's 2100 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618

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.

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14. The Matchbox 770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

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).

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15. Richard's Bar 491 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60610

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.

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16. Rainbo Club 1150 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

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.

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17. Carol's Pub 4659 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

Carol's is an old-country, Southern-esque dive bar that has swingin' live bands, line dancing (impromptu, with special appearances by Carol herself), and cheap brews.

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18. Haymarket Pub and Brewery 737 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60661

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.