Chicago locals will drink anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bar within a hotel, a rooftop bar with a view or has a hidden entrance in an alleyway: we don’t discriminate. If a bartender is willing to pour us a drink, we’ll take it. Here’s a list of bars you must visit in Chicago.
1. Headquarters Beercade
Located in River North, Headquarters Beercade is a vintage arcade bar with a diverse selection of throwback games. There are over sixty-five arcade and pinball games and feature classics like Pacman, Mortal Kombat, Frogger and Skee-Ball. Most machines have a cup holder for your drink so it doesn’t get in the way of playing as well as plenty of hand sanitizer stations to freshen up between machines. A multi-level bar, Headquarters Beercade has a drink menu that includes craft cans, cocktails, freeze pops and house-made shots. Their food menu has plenty of shareable appetizers like pizza rolls or jalapeno stuffers.
2. Point & Feather
This sports bar located in River North has a couple of pool tables, a dozen dart boards and plenty of TVs. Definitely a spot to bring some friends or have a boys’ night out. With over twenty-five beers and sixteen types of wine, there’s a drink for everyone on the menu. Point & Feather has three bars in their very large space and also have a food menu. For starters, their menu has typical bar food like wings, nachos, calamari, and burgers. But Point & Feather also has pizzas, tacos and sliders, salads and even some boozy milkshakes if you’re interested.
3. Apogee Lounge
This swanky spot at the very top of the Dana Hotel has magical cocktails and huge floor to ceiling windows for a stunning view of the city. Located near the North Side, Apogee Lounge offers indoor and outdoor seating complete with fire pits and heat lamps. Their drinks are creative and aesthetically pleasing including “Mr. Nice Guy” which is a vodka cocktail served out of a smoking bong. Their “Macrodose” is a gin cocktail served out of a glass mushroom and the “Nymph” is a vodka cocktail with a beautiful frozen flower in the center of an ice cube. Apogee Lounge has a limited food menu that includes calamari and fried shrimp. This upscale spot is perfect for ladies’ night out or even date night!
4. Bordel Chicago
Inspired by Chicago’s Prohibition Era, this hidden cocktail bar often has burlesque performances along with magicians and cabaret dancers! The décor is old fashioned with gorgeous velvet booths and peeling wallpaper. Located in Wicker Park inside of a restaurant called Black Bull, the entrance to this speakeasy is hidden yet in plain sight. Definitely a spot for birthdays, Bordel’s drink menu includes large vessels that can be passed around and easily poured into someone’s mouth!
5. The Aviary
Located in the West Loop, The Aviary is known for its creative yet intricate cocktails. Reservations are a must but this place is a hot spot for a romantic night out or a special occasion. The drinks look almost like mini science experiments and you get to watch bartenders make the drinks from behind a cage. Overall, the drinks are pricey but definitely worth the experience.
Inside of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is a rooftop bar and eatery called Cindy’s. With a view of Millennium Park and the Bean, this bar gives an incredible panoramic of downtown Chicago. They do offer lunch, dinner and brunch and reservations can be made on their website. Cindy’s drink menu includes five pages of spirits, anything from an old fashioned to cocktails made for large groups. When it’s summertime and you’re looking for a nice rooftop bar, Cindy’s is the place to be!
7. Three Dots and a Dash
Located near the North Side, this tiki bar can be hard to find. Look for blue torch lights in the alley and you’ll find the entrance to Three Dots and a Dash. Known for their creative drinks, their cocktail menu includes photos so guests will know exactly what they’re getting. Perfect for ladies’ night, their shared drink known as “the Zombie” combines absinthe, grapefruit, cinnamon, and other ingredients and serves up to four people! Reservations are a must for this tiki bar.
8. Logan Arcade
Located in Logan Square, this arcade is a hidden gem in Chicago. With a dive bar vibe and over fifty beers including local craft, this place is great to spend the day with a date or group of friends! All games can be played with quarters however if you don’t have any on you, staff will kindly exchange bills for coins. Logan Arcade has thirty pinball machines and forty-seven video games! While they do not have a food menu, you can order delivery pizza and the staff will provide napkins and plates to eat it there.
9. Bar Moxy
Inside of Moxy Downtown Chicago Hotel lobby is where you can find Bar Moxy. With couches everywhere similar to a living room, there are board games like Candyland and Connect Four available for guests to play! There’s also a foosball table, adult coloring books and beanbag chairs to lounge in. Bar Moxy is a great place for happy hour, a place to chill with friends or even bring a date!
10. London House Rooftop Bar
This rooftop bar is located in the middle of downtown Chicago: The Loop. With stunning views of the Chicago River, London House is great for anniversaries and birthdays. To get sat at a table, you definitely need reservations. The London House offers three levels of drinking and dining and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Their cocktails called the “Roaring 20’s” and “The Chicago” are some of London House’s signature drinks. If you come with a group of guests, be sure to check out their decanter options which serve groups of four!
Are there any bars missing from this list? Comment below and let us know!
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Ciara Barnett is a journalism and public relations student at Columbia College Chicago. When she's not writing or at the library, Ciara pours glasses of wine at a winery in her hometown of Tinley Park, Illinois. Ciara has written for various college newspapers and her articles have also been published online. She did an editorial internship for a textbook publishing company and now freelances for Society 19. When Ciara graduates college, she wants to work for a publishing company and bring more books into the world. Ciara hopes one day to become an author. She can be found on Instagram @ciarabarnettxo or on Twitter.