Chicago is home to some of the best bars in the country, offering a diverse range of drinking experiences for locals and visitors alike.
From trendy rooftop bars with stunning views of the city skyline to dive bars with cheap drinks and a laid-back atmosphere, there is something for everyone in the Windy City.
Whether you’re looking for a night out with friends or a romantic date spot, Chicago’s bar scene has got you covered.
You can sip on craft cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients, sample rare and exotic beers, or simply enjoy a classic whiskey on the rocks.
But with so many bars to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best bars in Chicago, based on factors such as atmosphere, drink selection, and overall experience.
So, whether you’re a local looking to explore new drinking spots or a visitor planning a trip to the city, be sure to check out our list of the best bars in Chicago for a night you won’t forget.
1. The Violet Hour
The Violet Hour is a swanky cocktail bar with a speakeasy vibe. The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, offering creative and delicious drinks that honor classic recipes.
The atmosphere is intimate with high-backed chairs and a classy ambiance.
Small bites are also available. It's recommended to make reservations to avoid waiting for long periods.
The Violet Hour is a great spot for a date or a night out with friends who appreciate elevated cocktails and mixology.
Scofflaw is a cozy and intimate bar with a beautiful aesthetic and friendly staff. They offer an ample selection of delicious cocktails and craft beers, along with mouthwatering pub grub.
The bar has a gin focus, but their specialties are not limited to gin-based drinks. The food is fantastic, and the spiced honey included on the charcuterie board is a must-try.
The ambiance is perfect for a night out with friends or a chill weekend afternoon with a good book. The bar also has a cocktail patio for those who prefer to enjoy their drinks outdoors.
If you're looking for a relaxed atmosphere to savor delicious drinks and food, Scofflaw is definitely worth a visit.
3. Gilt Bar
Gilt Bar is a classy spot for drinks and dinner in River North, Chicago, offering an exceptional upscale American menu with an Italian twist and sophisticated cocktails.
The dark, cozy atmosphere and vintage library lounge downstairs make for a unique and memorable experience.
4. Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar
Looking for a unique bar experience in the city that combines a liquor store and tavern in one place, head over to Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar.
With a large rotating menu of rare craft beers and a great selection of cocktails, this bar has something for everyone.
The atmosphere is hip but casual, and the outdoor seating area is perfect for those warm summer nights.
Don't forget to try out the great nearby food options as well. Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar is a must-visit for any bar lover in the city.
5. Old Town Ale House
Looking for a historic dive bar with character in the city that never sleeps, then look no further than Old Town Ale House.
With its dimly lit interior, funky art on the walls, and old-school jukebox, this Chicago landmark is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day.
Whether you're a fan of Second City or just looking for a laid-back atmosphere, this bar is a must-visit.
And with its 5am closing time on weekends, you can enjoy a pint or two without feeling rushed. So why not stop by and experience everything that Old Town Ale House has to offer!
Rossi's is a classic dive bar that offers a unique and authentic experience. The bar has a no-frills atmosphere that is perfect for those looking for a laid-back spot to enjoy a drink.
The staff is welcoming and knowledgeable, and the prices are reasonable.
Rossi's is a great spot to meet new people and socialize, with a crowd that is always eager to strike up a conversation.
The bar also doubles as a bottle shop, offering a vast selection of cold beers to choose from. Rossi's is a hidden gem that is definitely worth checking out for anyone looking for a genuine dive bar experience.
7. Matchbox Bar
Matchbox Bar is a tiny, yet cozy bar that serves premium cocktails. The atmosphere is laid back and intimate, making it a great spot for a date or to catch up with friends.
The outdoor patio and dog-friendly policy add to the charm of the place.
The bartenders are knowledgeable and make some of the best cocktails in the city.
The prices are reasonable and the service is great. Highly recommended for a relaxing night out.
8. Map Room
Map Room is a unique bar that caters to beer lovers. With over 200 global beers to choose from, it's a great place to try something new.
The travel-themed decor adds to the ambiance, with maps and flags creating an interesting atmosphere.
The bar is popular, so it can get crowded, but the knowledgeable bartenders keep the service prompt and friendly.
If you're looking to try some new brews in a fun and lively setting, Map Room is definitely worth a visit.
Moneygun is a hip and understated bar that serves traditional cocktails and creative New American small plates. The bar has a great atmosphere and amazing drinks.
The bartenders are friendly and great at their jobs. The expansive drink menu offers a mix of bar and table seating.
The music is great, and the vibes are minimum pretentiousness with maximum quality. The service from knowledgeable bartenders is great, and the energy and music are always on point.
If you want a seat, it's best to get here when it opens. Moneygun is a gem and definitely worth a visit.
Skylark is a retro-style cash-only bar that offers a great selection of craft beer and pub food. The bar has a relaxed atmosphere that is perfect for hanging out with friends or unwinding after a long day at work.
Customers rave about the delicious Skylark burger, along with the tater tots and fried pickles.
The attentive and friendly staff make sure that tables are cleaned promptly, and the service is quick. The bar also has a photo booth, making it a fun spot for a night out.
While the bathrooms could use some improvement, the overall experience at Skylark is worth the visit.
11. Kasey's Tavern
Kasey's Tavern is a cozy and authentic bar that offers a fantastic selection of craft beers and hard liquor. The bar staff is friendly and attentive, making sure that customers always feel welcome.
While the food menu is limited to frozen pizza and popcorn, customers are allowed to bring in their own food.
The relaxed atmosphere and affordable prices make it an ideal spot for an after-work drink or a night out with friends.
With a rotating selection of seasonal beers and ciders on tap, Kasey's Tavern is a must-visit for any beer enthusiast.
Sparrow is a rum-focused speakeasy that transports you to a 1927 Cuban-inspired setting. The ambiance is sophisticated and swanky, with dark lighting and jazzy music.
The bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable, crafting delicious cocktails with an extensive rum list.
The seating arrangement is well-planned, making it perfect for a romantic night or casual drinks with friends.
Although it can get busy, the wait is worth it to experience the well-balanced and carefully crafted drinks. Sparrow is definitely a must-visit for cocktail lovers looking for a unique and intimate atmosphere.
Bokeh is a cozy cocktail bar that offers a warm and intimate atmosphere.
The knowledgeable bartenders serve up expertly crafted cocktails, including the must-try House Manhattan with apple brandy.
There are two happy hours, one earlier in the night and another from 11pm-midnight. The food is delicious and filling, making it a great spot for a night out.
The bar is a neighborhood favorite and a must-visit for those looking for imaginative and fun cocktails.