This Bucktown institution may be one of the city’s longest-running and best-known speakeasies -- and also one of the best cocktail bars in the country -- but you’ll still need to navigate your way through a massive mural to find the door camouflaged in colorful paint. Inside, you’ll find a fancy-pants mixology temple hidden behind curtains with equally fancy-pants “dealer’s choice” cocktails, like the porter/Malort/whole egg-based Five Times Fast.
How to get in: Navigate the colorful mural across the street from Big Star to find the small door handle.
Double Door’s new speakeasy-style basement lounge has its own separate entrance in the alley under the Blue Line tracks that gives it the feel of secrecy. And that’s all you really want in a secret bar, isn’t it? Home to DJ acts who often spin after the upstairs bands put down their guitars, this is a world diametrically opposed to the dive bar feel above, featuring leather seating, new blue-hued lighting, and a sexy steel staircase.
How to get in: Find the sign in the alley off Damen under the Blue Line tracks, or just head downstairs from the main venue room on nights when there's a show.
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Jay Gentile is the publisher of Chicago INNERVIEW Magazine and a Chicago-based freelance writer who is currently in the witness protection program for revealing state secrets. Follow him at @innerviewmag.