Between all the hot new spots opening up seemingly every other weekend and the bevy of old standbys, Logan Square's bar scene is straight-up explosive right now. But we're still sure of our 13 favorites. From classic dives to red-lit, DJ-equipped rookies, there's something for everyone, but mostly for young people with non-mainstream fashion sensibilities who self-identify as post-postmodernists. Have at 'em:
The 13 Essential Bars in Logan Square
Best for dates: Billy Sunday
3143 W Logan Blvd
Sexy candlelight and shareable bar food (like crispy pig ears and jars of crab dip) make it a damn fine date spot, but homemade tonics and a huge Amaro section also had this joint jostling for “Best Cocktail Bar” in this very story. Impress your date with this fact: it's named for some American Evangelist/nerd who promoted Prohibition.
Best for board games: Green Eye Lounge
2403 W Homer St
Conveniently located under the Western Blue Line stop, this unassuming neighborhood joint has a retro fridge filled with old-school games like UNO plus a $5 shot-and-beer combo every day. If you’re lucky, the tamale guy will show up.
Best for groups: The Radler
2375 N Milwaukee Ave
With 170 seats, some of which are enormous picnic tables, you can bring your whole gang, and everyone in your gang can bring their gang. Just be cautious of conflicting gangs as things can get messy when boots of beers are involved. Modern German snacks like house-made sausages, veal schnitzel mulled in Pinot noir, and pretzels with malt butter and blackberry jam are generally agreeable for all, though.
Best for picking someone up: Slippery Slope
2357 N Milwaukee Ave
Newcomer Slippery Slope offers a killer dance floor, a photo booth, skee-ball, and bottled cocktails, all of which create favorable circumstances for chatting up hunnies. The dim lighting is notably red, which is the color of love, I'm pretty sure.
Best dive: Whirlaway Lounge
3224 W Fullerton Ave
A staple since 1980, it’s allegedly named for Whirlaway, an unfavored racehorse who the original owner bet and won big on. Hot tips aside, though, the cheap and plentiful selection of both domestic and imported brews makes it one of the best dives in Chicago.
Best bar food: Analogue
2523 N Milwaukee Ave
New Orleans native Chef Alfredo Nogueira’s ridiculously tasty Cajun food, like biscuits, pork shoulder po’ boys, and jambalaya, is technically considered bar food because it's served at one of the best new bars in America, but the grub can easily stand by itself without the cocktail/fishbowl crutch. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do a round of Old Fashioned shots -- Demerara sugar, rye whiskey, and an orange wedge.
Best beer: SmallBar
2956 N Albany Ave
It truly is a small, narrow bar, but with 13 taps, 60 bottles, and 21 cans, it's pretty big on options -- even total beer geeks are likely to find something on tap they haven't tried. Check here to see what's stocked right this very minute!
Best wine: Webster's Wine Bar
2601 N Milwaukee Ave
Here's the scoop: the original was in Lincoln Park, but then the owners decided to close it, re-concept their Logan Square spot Telegraph, and reopen it as the current iteration of Webster's Wine Bar (which, consequently, is no longer on Webster St). But with a wine list 500 deep, it's an institution wherever it's located.
Best brewpub: Revolution Brewing
3340 N Kedzie Ave
The free-flowing pints of Anti-Hero and EuGene Porter, plus Bacon Fat Popcorn and pastrami-topped burgers, are definitely a big reason why the stretch of Milwaukee it sits on has totally blown up recently. Save the offsite tap room tour for another night.
Best cocktails: Scofflaw
3201 W Armitage Ave
Novices will appreciate the vintage-vibed, gin-focused saloon's lack of pretension, but seasoned cocktail-drinkers will be equally impressed by excellent/cheap $8 signature bevs like the Saint Charles -- jasmine-infused Death's Door with apricot liqueur, Peychaud's, and absinthe rinse. The $4 small plates ain't bad either.
Best late night: The Owl
2521 N Milwaukee Ave
Open until 4am on Fridays and 5am on Saturdays, The Owl will definitely ruin your weekend day plans. But with a $6 PBR/Jameson shot special, 20 taps, and a decent dance floor, plus a quirky retro waterfall in the back leftover from previous tenants, it'll be worth it, probably.
Best live music: Cole's
2338 North Milwaukee Ave
There's no cover, ever, which means you can soak up all that local music and sweet, sweet open-mic comedy for only as much as you need to drink, depending on whose set it is. Don't leave without taking a poop!
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1. Billy Sunday3143 W Logan Blvd, Chicago
2. Green Eye Lounge2403 West Homer St, Chicago
3. The Radler2375 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
4. Slippery Slope2357 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
5. Parson's Chicken & Fish2952 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
6. Whirlaway Lounge3224 West Fullerton Ave, Chicago
7. Analogue2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
8. SmallBar2049 W Division St, Chicago
9. Webster Wine Bar2601 North Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
10. Revolution Brewing3340 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago
11. Scofflaw3201 W Armitage Ave, Chicago
12. The Owl2521 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
13. Cole's2338 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
This 50-seat tavern has an appropriately turn-of-the-century feel courtesy of its china-filled hutch, lantern-esque lighting, and old-timey photos of people not smiling. While small plates are served, the libations here rule.
Conveniently located under the Western Blue line stop, this unassuming neighborhood joint has a retro fridge filled up with old school games like Uno, and a $5 shot-and-beer combo everyday. If you’re lucky, the tamale guy will show up.
The Radler's a beer hall that's serving up tons of different sausages, sessionable and unique brews, and an opportunity to chant "PROST!" outside of Oktoberfest.
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.
Parson's Chicken & Fish in Logan Square knows a thing or two about deep-frying -- the menu features chicken, fish, hush puppies, and cheese curds in all their breaded and battered goodness. Not everything is deep-fried though; there's a small raw bar selection and small plates to share. The spot is upscale for a quick-serve spot, and its large outdoor patio is one of the top summer hang spots in Chicago.
A staple since 1980, it’s allegedly named for Whirlaway, an unfavored race horse who the original owner bet and won big on. Hot tips aside though, the cheap and plentiful selection of both domestic and imported brews makes it one of the best dives in Chicago.
Cajun is the name of the game at this Logan Square restaurant and cocktail lounge. You could to Analogue for just a drink, but you’d probably find the dinner menu, heavy on crawfish, po boys, and catfish, too tempting to pass up. The weekend brunch is one of the best, mainly because of the beignets, biscuits, and house-made bacon.
There ain't nothing small about this beer hideaway's food. Beer fried cheese curds, meatballs, and bacon... lots of bacon. With 20+ beers on tap, 100+ bottles, and some canned options, you'll never go thirsty here.
Here's the scoop: The original was in Lincoln Park, but then the owners decided to close it, re-concept their Logan Square spot Telegraph, and reopen it as the current iteration of Webster Wine Bar (which, subsequently, is no longer on Webster St.). But with a wine list 500 deep, it's an institution wherever it's located.
Revolution's brewery is where kegs, cans and bottles get filled for distribution, and it's also the location of a taproom where tastings occur every Wednesday. This is not to be confused with the original brewpub location on Milwaukee Avenue, where you can get food in addition to your beer. Guided tours are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so visitors are encouraged to drop by early and grab a pint while they wait.
This classy bar in Logan Square will make a gin lover out of even the most gin-averse of clientele. It's one of Chicago's top cocktail bars because it proves that the versatility of gin extends far beyond the usual G&T and because it's outfitted with antique sofas that are palatial AND comfortable. Scofflaw also serves a menu of better-than-basic small bites, and the kitchen is open until 1am daily.
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!