Until drinking on the train is legalized (seriously, what is the hold up here???), you're going to have to continue to do it at, ugh, bars. So why not at least make sure those bars are 1) awesome, and 2) as close to your stop as possible?
To that end, we decided to whip out our bar rolodex to plot out the best & closest bar to every one of the most popular "L" stops (sorry Skokie). The only rule: all of the bars had to be under a 10min walk away from their respective stop. You can check out a blown-up version of our bar map here, plus check out deets on every single watering hole below.
*Programming Note: Things get a bit congested in the Loop, so if you find yourself on one of the underground Red or Blue line stops going through Downtown, feel free to mosey to the closest Loop recommendation... several of which will be well within stumbling distance. Good? Good!
More Like This
Howard - Rolland’s
Jarvis - Poitin Stil
Morse - Heartland Cafe
Loyola - Cuneen’s
Granville - Bar 63
Thorndale - Moody’s Pub
Brwyn Mawr - Jerry’s Sandwiches
Berwyn - Lady Gregory’s
Argyle - Hopleaf
Lawrence - Green Mill
Wilson - Bar on Buena
Sheridan - Holiday Club
Addison - Sports Corner
Belmont - Sheffield’s
Fullerton - The Barrelhouse Flat
North/Clybourn - Sully’s House
Clark/Division - Zebra Lounge
Chicago - Streeter’s Tavern
Grand - The Berkshire Room
Harrison - Jimmy Green’s
Roosevelt - The Scout
Cermak/Chinatown - Reggie’s
Sox-35th - Cork & Kerry
Harlem - Tommy's on Higgins
Jefferson Park - Fischman’s
Montrose - Sidekicks
Irving Park - Independence Tap
Addison - Mirabell
Belmont - Revolution Brewing
Logan Square - The Owl
California - Boiler Room
Western - Gallery Cabaret
Damen - Big Star
Division - Bangers & Lace
Chicago - The Matchbox
Grand - Richard’s Bar
Clinton - Paola’s Vinum
UIC-Halsted - Dugan’s
Racine - Union Park Lounge
Rockwell - Rockwell's Neighborhood Grill
Western - Huettenbar
Damen - The Rail Bar & Grill
Montrose - Fountainhead
Irving Park - The Globe Pub
Addison - Cork Lounge
Paulina - Four Moon Tavern
Southport - Schuba’s
Wellington - DMK Burger Bar
Diversey - Headquarters
Armitage - Local Option
Sedgwick - Old Town Ale House
Chicago - Ay Chiwowa
Merchandise Mart - Bull & Bear
Alright, who'd we miss? Leave it in the comments. And just keep in mind: we're balancing the bar's greatness and distance from the "L".
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This story was originally published on 2/9/2014.
1. Cunneen's1424 W Devon Ave, Chicago
2. Jerry's Sandwiches5419 N Clark St, Chicago
3. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge4802 N Broadway St, Chicago
4. Bar on Buena910 W Buena Ave, chicago
5. Mirabell Restaurant3454 W Addison St, Chicago
6. Gallery Cabaret2020 N Oakley Ave, Chicago
7. The Matchbox770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
8. Richard's Bar491 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
9. Four Moon Tavern1847 W Roscoe St, Chicago
10. Schubas Tavern3159 N Southport Ave, Chicago
11. Local Option1102 W Webster Ave, Chicago
12. ROOF201 N State St, Chicago
13. The Berghoff Restaurant17 W Adams St, Chicago
14. Franklin Tap325 S Franklin St, Chicago
15. Lady Gregory's5260 N Clark St, Chicago
16. Hopleaf5148 N Clark St, Chicago
17. Sheffield's3258 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago
18. Barrelhouse Flat2624 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
19. The Berkshire Room15 E Ohio St, Chicago
20. Revolution Brewing Company3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
21. The Owl2521 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
22. The Boiler Room2210 N California, Chicago
23. Big Star1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago
24. Bangers & Lace1670 W Division St, Chicago
25. Fountainhead1970 W Montrose, Chicago
26. The Globe Pub1934 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
27. Cork Lounge1822 W Addison St, Chicago
28. DMK Burger Bar2954 N Sheffield, Chicago
29. Headquarters Beercade213 W Institute Pl, Chicago
30. Old Town Ale House219 W North Ave, Chicago
31. Ay Chiwowa311 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
32. Bull & Bear431 N Wells St, Chicago
33. Dusek's1227 W 18th St, Chicago
34. Three Aces1321 W Taylor St, Chicago
35. Cobra Lounge235 N Ashland, Chicago
36. Haymarket Pub and Brewery737 W Randolph, Chicago
37. New Line Tavern201 N Clinton St, Chicago
Cunneen's is a relaxed neighborhood bar in Chicago's Rogers Park.
If you want amazing comfort food like Lobster Po Boys, a crazy long selection of craft beer try 150+ and karaoke all available at your fingertips, Jerry's in Wicker Park is the place for you.
Famed for being Al Capone's favorite bar during the heyday of Prohibition, Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is now known as one of the finest jazz clubs in the country. The Uptown bar hosts live performances every night of the week, and the acts range from contemporary jazz bands and quartets to swing orchestras and solo guitarists. The cover charge is usually between $4 and $15, depending on the band. Note: Green Mill is cash-only.
Bar on Buena's a righteous little bar that's got monthly beer specials, above-average pub food, and great company.
If you're looking for the finest schnitzel in Chicago, look no further than Mirabell Restaurant, a Bavarian village-mural-bedecked space in Chicago serving up German favorites in a warm, rustic space.
With a prime spot in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, Gallery Cabaret is one of the premier destinations in the city for live music, comedy nights, and poetry readings.
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.
This neighborhood American bar has got an impressive brew list, rotating specials, and delicious grub (get the grilled cheese).
This American-style music venue and bar is a great place for a Friday night on the town.
The reverberating heavy metal and serious brew selection here will make you completely forget that just before you entered, you saw a nice-looking couple walking their French bulldog down a sleepy, tree-lined street in Lincoln Park. If you can’t find something you like on draft (highly unlikely), there’s also an impressive bottle selection (the rarer, large-format options included). Really, though, you’d be remiss not to sample at least one of the house-branded options they make at other Midwest breweries (the small dive's big personality doesn't leave enough room for fermentation tanks).
This rooftop lounge has some of the best views, as well as cocktails and grub.
The owners of Chicago's first post-Prohibition liquor license in 1933, The Berghoff has been bringing German food and drink to the Windy City for more than a century. The Loop institution opened before the Prohibition -- in 1898 -- but it really began as a brewery a couple of years before that. Now, it's known for its house brews (best when sampled in a flight of five), reubens, and old-world schnitzel entrees. Not surprising given its German roots, The Berghoff is a major player in Chicago's annual Oktoberfest celebrations.
Franklin Tap's a great American beer hall serving up delicious specials, suds, and company.
From the folks behind similarly literary-themed Irish sibs Beckett's and Wilde, Lady Gregory's intricate dark wood moldings and book-lined library (complete with a portrait of its namesake) provide a fitting backdrop for sampling their 300-strong whiskey list. Floor-to-ceiling windows beckon you inside, and once you realize you're in an Irish pub with a passion for farm-to-table, sustainable, local ingredients, you'll probably stay for dinner.
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.
Sheffield's is a BBQ joint in Chicago that's got a huge, tree-shaded patio area and a ton of drafts for you to enjoy.
This two-floor throwback cocktail bar in Lincoln Park churns out classic tipples like Sazeracs, Old Fashioneds and Manhattans alongside lesser-known drinks like the Jimmie Roosevelt, a blend of cognac, green chartreuse and Champagne. Choose from 60+ varieties of shaken or stirred drinks.
Inside the Acme Hotel in River North, The Berkshire Room is an old-time cocktail lounge that harks back to when the hotel was called The Berkshire Hotel from the 1920s to 1950s. The drink selection puts a heavy emphasis on barrel-aged cocktails, but the real stunner is the Dealer's Choice, essentially an off-menu cocktail based on your choice of spirit, flavor profile, and glassware. The space is dark and cozy with black-and-white tiled floors and a long, glossy bar.
Chicago-brewed suds from Revolution Brewing in Logan Square include year-rounders like the Anti-Hero IPA and Eugene Porter, while seasonals and specialty brews count the Fistmas holiday and Rose Hibiscus ales.
From the folks behind laid-back landmarks Easy Bar and Estelle's, The Owl sports a similarly dive-y vibe, with dim amber lighting, a softly curving, 40-stool'd bar, and, held over and spruced up from the previous occupants, a retro-looking waterfall, which you're sure to go chasing...with a beer!
This industrial restaurant-slash-bar in Logan Square does pizza, beer, and general comfort food (fried cheese balls, poutine, mac & cheese) really really well. The pizza options are staggering: aside from simple cheese, pepperoni, and sausage pies, there are more than 15 specials and a build-your-own options. The Boiler Room's real claim to fame is its PB&J special: a slice of pizza, PBR tall boy, and a Jameson. There's plenty of communal tables and a great outdoor patio, and if you couldn't tell from the aforementioned PBR and whisky special, this place is a hipster destination.
A lot of things about Wicker Park's Big Star will make you feel like you're in Texas. First, there's the taco-centric menu that features a dozen taco varieties and necessary sides like guacamole and queso. Then there's the drink selection, which is heavy on whiskey, tequila, and craft beer. The massive outdoor patio begs for you to order a margarita and drink the day away, especially during the summer when the seasonal music series is in full swing.
Bangers & Lace is Wicker Park's craft beer and sausage haven. You've come to the Wisconsin tavern-like establishment for bangers and lace... and whiskey, and also probably a burger. But it's known for its house-made sausages, which run the gamut from classic (Chicago-style hot dogs and corn-battered and fried dogs) to experimental (lamb Kofta, Cheddarwursts, and duck sausage BLT). The craft beer selection -- on draft, in bottles, and in six-packs -- is global, from the regional Great Divide's Barrel-Aged Old Ruffian to St. Feuillen's Grand Cru, as is the whiskey list, which its nearly as extensive.
This Ravenswood tavern is a mahogany-ensconced destination for craft beer and beer-focused comfort cuisine (burgers, fried chicken, steak frites). The beer list, which features a mix of local gems and international brews, is always fantastic, and there's an equally robust selection of whiskey if you're looking for something a little stronger. During the warmer months, the rooftop garden is always happening.
This Chicago sports bar's known for being a soccer-lover's institution, and they also run a shuttle service to and from Chicago Fire games. This Spring, you won't need to take a bus to get loud rooting for team USA to get revenge on Ghana in the World Cup.
This completely-remodeled Irish speakeasy is sporting five plasmas and a 35ft mahogany bar loaded with 13 taps, from Guinness to Trumer Pils.
A collab between industry vets David Morton and Michael Kornick, DMK (get it?) is a 75-seat storefront neighborhood bar outfitted with reclaimed Wisconsin barn boards and exposed original brick that's turning out gourmet grass-fed beef burgers.
Cheers to never growing up. Headquarters Beercade lets you relive your childhood with all of the video games you loved and the added bonus of being able to consume alcohol while you play. There’s an extensive list of American craft drafts and games galore: whether you’re a pinball wizard looking for your next conquest, or brushing up your skills at arcade classics like NBA Jam and Mortal Combat, this bar is a gamer’s paradise. The space itself is sprawling and the vibe is convivial, making it a popular weekend destination for groups.
Old Town Ale House is an iconic Chicago dive bar whose crowd varies between comedians from nearby Second City, hipsters, tried-and-true regulars, and tourists (due in no small part to the bar's feature on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. ) The jukebox, which is usually playing jazz, rules the show, but don't be surprised if one of the bartenders puts on some opera to water down the crowd. The wall is covered with funky paintings of everyone from longtime regulars to celebrities and politicians... case in point: a portrait of a naked Sarah Palin holding a rifle.
Ay Chiwowa's a late-night cantina with cool graffiti decor, 80 different tequilas, and a menu with snacks like tacos and tortas.
Located in the heart of North River, B&B is a perfect spot for any meal of the day. They feature the likes of fantastic burgers and especially tasty brunch options, all in a space decked out with classic, rustic materials.
Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.
A rock-inspired gastropub filled with secluded black leather "gangster booths" and black glass chandeliers, TA's bringing the flavor with bar snacks from pork-fried nuts to farm-raised jerky, and Italian-influenced eats like wild boar sausage.
Known more for its rough-edged rock style, CL's hand-packed fresh chuck patty is so shockingly under-the-radar we had to put it on our Favorite Five List. Coming with your choice of a half-dozen dairy options (smoked provolone, pepper jack...), and sided by sweet potato fries or tater tots, it's avail at half-price on Mondays.
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.
Located in the southern half of the historic Chicago North Western Railway power plant, NLT is brought to you by the Daily Bar & Grill/Southport Lanes team and can't be beat when it comes to their bar food and friendly service.