The Bad Decision Bar: Where promises of "just one shot of whiskey" turn into "beer bongs of Malort." This past year, we lost one of Chicago’s true sanctuaries of awful-decision making in Nick’s Uptown in Lakeview, but fear not, there are still plenty of places where you can lose your jacket/ credit card/ dignity. And by plenty, we mean 13.
Burton Place Old Town Strong, relatively cheap pint glasses of cocktails + You = A 77% chance of you falling down the stairs after an ill-advised confrontation with a pack of ex-Sigma Chi's who just closed down Benchmark and thought they caught you staring at one of their extremely blonde girlfriends. Which you totally were, but come on, it's 3a, give a guy a break.
Beaumont Bar & Grill Lincoln Park After midnight, the Beaumont opens its rear doors to reveal a warehouse called Club 2020, which's also the type of hindsight you’ll have after waking up with a mouthful of cigarette butts and bile.
Estelle's Wicker Park You'll spend 75% of your time waiting in line for the comically inadequate bathrooms, and the other 25% waiting for a PBR so that you might soon get back in line for said bathrooms. You will repeat this process enough times that you won't remember how "ALeXisS neCK tatToO" got in your phone or why you called her five times between 4a and 5a.
The Hangge Uppe Near North Side Have you ever seen a bachelorette sucking face with a complete stranger, both of them unfazed by the guy trying to simultaneously pee in a garbage can AND order a round of shots RIGHT NEXT TO THEM as a sweaty mob somehow made Eddie Money sound even worse? Then you've definitely been to the Hangge Uppe.
Big City Tap Lakeview The place might as well just rename itself Big Sh*tty, 'cause everyone else in Chicago already totally has. By now, you may have noticed that a disproportionate amount of bad decisions are made in the general vicinity of Lakeview. It's not a coincidence.
Butch McGuire's Near North Side You totally wouldn't remember what month it was when you went here, if not for the date on the $150 fine you got for urinating in the alley between Division and Elm.
Murphy's Bleachers Lakeview Like the urine-scented failure-temple of baseball it sits across from, nobody wins after a late night at Murphy’s when the bar is saturated with salty fans, bad karaoke, and regret. Sticking at Murphy's until close after a Cubs day game will make you seriously question your life's direction.
Tai's Til 4 Lakeview The full name of the bar is actually “Tai’s Til 4, Regrets Til Forever”. Fact: you will be bumped into by a bro in a backwards cap, and he will try to fight you. The only question is whether it happens in line before you even get in, or in the general area of the grope-tacular dance floor.
Carol's Pub Uptown Often you'll see someone bleary eyed and miserable at 3p on a Sunday, clearly having been awake for less than 20 minutes. Their glance will meet yours. They'll feebly mutter "Carol's", and you will nod knowingly, for you too have been drawn in by the siren song of cheap alcohol and country music in the wee hours, and you too have felt their pain.
Evil Olive Wicker Park It's a palindrome! It's also the number one answer to "what was that bar where we drank all that cheap vodka while we were hitting on those Russian chicks and it was looking good but then Pete had to go home because the lasers triggered his epilepsy"?
Trace Lakeview There's a decent beer list. There's also a logo that kind of looks like a tramp stamp, evocative of the quality of female you'll likely be trying to woo at 430a, even though forming actual words stopped a good 90 minutes ago.
The Store Lincoln Park It won’t be until the lights come on after last call that you realize you’re in a warm sea of DePaul students, your ears are ringing from a live cover of Jack Johnson’s “Bubble Toes”, and your collar is (gulp) fully popped.
VIP's Gentlemen's Club Near North Side Congratulations, you’ve landed at the world’s premiere topless bar across the street from a Whole Foods! If you were responsible, you'd go home and save those $20s to come back and buy fresh produce tomorrow. You are not responsible, though.