The Best Bars in Chicago
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
It makes sense that tough-guy Chicago would have its fair share of breweries and old-guy boilermaker bars, but it's gained a reputation as a cocktail town, too, with inventive bartenders and glamorous lounges that invite lingering. Order up your drink of choice at one of our favorites.
3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
If there were ever a city where a tiki bar is bound to succeed, it’s Chicago—during warmer months, they can help us embrace our short-lived summers; and during winter months, they help us escape the reality of subzero temps. As such,...
12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
Forget what you thought you knew about the barhopping experience when you enter through the doors of this blink-and-you-miss-it spot, where just eight coveted seats are available to patrons. That’s because no two bottles are alike in these...
564 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661, USA
West Loop denizens can get their fill of locally made spirits at this distillery and cocktail bar, where cofounder and head distiller Tremaine Atkinson bottles up just about everything of an ABV nature—with a bespoke spin. Its vodka may be...
1520 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
The first rule of the speakeasy is that it can’t be easy to find. The Violet Hour’s door is directly across the street from Big Star. Look for the handle on the wall and the light above it, because the door mural changes frequently and...
3201 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
Scofflaw breaks all the craft-cocktail-bar rules by serving strong, affordable drinks that arrive quickly with no snooty attitude. There's even street parking, something anyone driving in Chicago will appreciate. I’m not sure what else you...
1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
The Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village offers great music in a small venue with an angled stage so the views are pretty good from anywhere in the house. The drinks are reasonably priced with friendly bartenders and the location is a bit divey but...
2548 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Playing live blues music until 4am every night of the week, featuring all of Chicago’s talented local musicians and now newly renovated to take up 3 storefronts on Halstead, Kingston Mines is one of Chicago’s best bars. Go for the 3...
19 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
It’s easy to stay awhile at this River North hostel, where life-size Jenga and a surplus of comfy booths serve as an entrance to the lobby level’s focal point: A bar where the team takes a creative and quirky approach to drams and...
800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Why the best burger in Chicago is served at a bar with a French name might be a question for the ages. But rather than question it, just go there! The single burger at Au Cheval is actually a double, and don't even ask about the double...
737 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661, USA
A visit to Chicago's historic meat-packing district at any time is, in and of itself, a bit of an adventure. The area has certainly seen enough transitions to bring in the hip and happening in recent years. However the best reason to visit,...
678 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
After the great fire of Chicago, but before the new ordinance was passed saying no more wooden commercial structures, the building that is now the Green Door Tavern was erected. That was waaaaay back in 1872, and the place is still alive and...
108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
The atmosphere is as striking as the cocktails at Z Bar, a recently opened terrace lounge on the sixth floor of the Peninsula Hotel. Take in panoramic Magnificent Mile views while enjoying the luxe surroundings, including dramatic skylights,...
1750 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
Fire up some friendly competition at this Bucktown gaming destination, where 10 regulation-sized shuffleboard courts (including one on the rooftop) mean nonstop action. When teams aren’t playing, they can check out the other features of the...
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