What Your Favorite Chicago Bar Says About You

Published On 09/02/2015 Published On 09/02/2015
Flickr/Joselito Tagarao
Schoolyard Tavern/Meagan Margolis
Headquarters Beercade Lakeview
The Continental
Mr C's Midway Bar Inc
Harbee Liquors & Tavern Est.1878
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1. Weegee's Lounge 3659 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

One of the area’s more unsung cocktail spots is the perfect place to toast with a low-key martini and a game of shuffleboard. With the western end of the trail just a few blocks away, this place is always on the verge of being discovered.

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2. 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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3. McGee's Tavern & Grille 950 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

A reliable staple in the Chicago sports bar scene, McGee's is known for a stellar bloody mary and bar food specials on Wednesdays.

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4. Schoolyard Tavern & Grill 3258 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

The self-expressed life motto at this Lakeview tavern is "Sorry we party," so it's easy to say you can expect a good time and good food and drink. The nineteen plasma TVs are always playing the game, and you can reserve space for your own Schoolyard party.

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5. Charleston 2076 N Hoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

This small corner bar is complete with a large craft beer list and quality cocktails. On weekends they have DJs and live music, but it makes for a great casual hangout any day of the week.

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6. Headquarters Beercade 213 W Institute Pl, Chicago, IL 60610

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.

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7. Sluggers World Class Sports Bar 3540 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657

An enormous, classic sports bar, perfect for game days, drink specials, and of course, dueling pianos.

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8. The Continental 2801 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Head to this divey Humboldt Park bar for a great patio space, tight (but friendly) quarters, and a prime location next to a chicken shack.

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9. Mugs Bunny 13401 S Baltimore Ave, Chicago, IL 60633

This is a corner locals bar with no frills or flashing lights. The tap has standard beers and the drinks are cheap. The one unexpected fixture is one of the city's few shuffleboards, but don't expect to be surprised by much else.

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10. Billy Goat Tavern 430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

The original Billy Goat Tavern opened in 1934 across from what’s now the United Center before moving to its current flagship location on Michigan Ave in 1964. Since then, the tavern has expanded with multiple locations around Chicago. It rose to fame in the ‘70s when Billy Murray and John Belushi spoofed it and its infamous “cheezborger” on Saturday Night Live. Served on a Kaiser roll, the cheeseburger is the simple union of a thin, griddled patty, American cheese, and sandwich pickles. Pro-tip: make it a double.

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11. Rockit Bar & Grill Wrigleyville 3700 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60613

The Rockit Ranchers are bringing a bi-level sibling of their River North flagship to the Cubs' backyard, serving up original favorites like the ballyhooed Brie-slathered Kobe "Rockit Burger".

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12. Schaller's Pump 3714 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60609

In continuous operation since 1881, Schaller's Pump is Chicago's oldest bar. A former speakeasy, the Bridgeport tavern changed ownership at the end of Prohibition when George Schaller bought it and changed the name to what it is now, a play on "Schiller's pump," a device used to pump beer between breweries. The beer bar is a regular hangout for an unusual mix of local politicians and White Sox fans due to it being across the street from the district's Democratic Party headquarters and a short walk from U.S. Cellular Field.

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13. Cork & Kerry 10614 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643

Cork & Kerry is an Irish sports bar on Western Ave where the draft beer is always flowing and the TVs are always on. The food is decidedly more American than Irish, with burgers, wings, and Chicago faves like hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches dominating the menu. If you aren’t there to watch the game, the backyard beer garden will do just fine when the weather’s right.

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14. Smart Bar 3730 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

Smart Bar has a great sound system, as well as frequent DJs and awesome drinks.

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15. Bar DeVille 701 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Craft drafts, liquor-forward libations, and hip environs -- such are the makings of a great night out at Bar DeVille. Manned by veteran bartender Brad Bolt and Chicago hospitality gurus Matt Eisler and Kevin Heisner, Bar DeVille offers expertly mixed cocktails, whether familiar classics or original favorites like The Hard Sell, made with Beefeater gin, Malort, St. Germain, and lemon. Come for the drinks, stay for the ambience: from the live DJ, pool room, and photo booth, to the Art Deco-inspired bar and refurbished Victorian sofas, this trendy neighborhood watering hole is frequented by industry folk and locals alike.

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16. 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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17. Ceres Cafe 141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604

Where else besides a Jewish deli would you look for a manly, old-school sandwich? How about a bar and grill in the Board of Trade? No commodity meat is being bought and sold here, however, as the staff grinds their own grass-fed beef in-house for a hand-packed patty in your burger or melt.

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18. Mr. C's Midway Bar 4654 W 63rd St, Chicago, IL 60629

This local sports bar is no-frills and serves up very cheap drinks. Count on plenty of airline employees and enough good stories circulating for another round or two.

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19. Cunneen's 1424 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

Cunneen's is a relaxed neighborhood bar in Chicago's Rogers Park.

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20. Debonair Social Club 1575 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Located in the historic Flat Iron Building, Debonair Social Club is a spirited bar and “video” performance venue offering live shows by bands, DJs and burlesque dancers. A color-changing lightbox fills the wall behind a stage that doubles as a dance floor, and half dozen projectors placed around the venue constantly screen specially made videos arranged by Debonair's artistic curator. Downstairs sexes it up with incredibly low lighting and an LED light-lined perimeter.

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21. Woodlawn Tap 1172 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615

This bar is popular with local college students, who know it as Jimmy's (in honor of the late owner). The space isn't just for college kids though, they have live blues and jazz music on occasion, and no one ever really outgrows pitchers of beer. Plus if you get in an intellectual argument, the Encyclopedia Britannica is kept on location to settle debates.

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22. Harbee's 1345 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

This little neighborhood bar has a surprisingly awesome selection of craft beer, a karaoke night and live music. While they don't serve food, they're happy to let you bring in whatever you'd like from the outside world.

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23. 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.