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Bars open on Thanksgiving

Need to escape the family? Head to one of these Chicago bars open on Thanksgiving

Photograph: Martha Williams
Richard’s Bar

RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of Thanksgiving activities in Chicago 2013


Carol’s Pub A honky-tonk in Sheridan Park with $1.50 Busch bottles, country & western karaoke on Thursdays and the house band Diamondback on weekends, featuring sassy little Reba singin’ and strummin’ rhythm with a darn good gee-tar picker on lead. A pool table in back, a greasy grill turning out late-night burgers and, on Thanksgiving, a traditional spread just like your mama would have made. If your mama cooked at a dive bar. 4659 N Clark St (773-334-2402). El: Red to Wilson. Bus: 22, 145. 11am–4am. 

Quencher’s Saloon This 25-year-old beer bar sitting on the Bucktown/Logan Square border has one of the most diverse crowds in town. The well-heeled eye each other on weekends, local beer nerds meet to taste the 200 choices on weeknights, and drunk punks wander in whenever. Luckily, they peacefully coexist in two spacious rooms, all in the name of beer—which at this point is the only thing it plans to serve on Thanksgiving, so eat before you arrive. 2401 N Western Ave (773-276-9730). El: Blue to California. Bus: 49, 74. Opens around 4pm on Thanksgiving. 

Big Chicks Don’t let the name fool you. It’s practically all guys in here and calling them “big” could get you slapped. Andersonville’s queer den mother Michelle Fire decks out her bar with choice selections from her impressive art collection, a good back-up plan in case there’s a lack of other eye candy. And she’s usually happy to feed everybody, too. But on Thanksgiving? Kitchen’s closed. 5024 N Sheridan Rd (773-728-5511). El: Red to Argyle. Bus: 151. Opens at 7pm on Thanksgiving. 

Guthries Tavern The twentysomethings in the back room playing board games are missing out. The real action is at the bar, where silver-haired ladies flirt with ex-frat boys and the occasional indie-rock couple. It’s tough to find a place in Wrigleyville where worlds collide and all are welcome for a mildly drunken kumbaya vibe, but that’s exactly what this is. Still, don’t expect a big spread on Turkey Day—the best you’ll get is a frozen pizza. 1300 W Addison St (773-477-2900). El: Red to Addison. Bus: 152. Opens at 7pm on Thanksgiving. 

The Motel Bar This low-lit, earth-toned lounge is nothing like motels we’ve checked into, but we dig the throwback classic cocktails, the unpretentious staff and eclectic jukebox in lieu of a DJ. Check it out on Thanksgiving for $6 Cognac Smashes, just two of which will probably make you forget about the sticky-fingered nephews waiting for you at home. 600 W Chicago Ave (312-822-2900). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Chicago. Bus: 8, 66, 132. Opens at 8pm on Thanksgiving. 

Richard’s Bar A bistro in France it ain’t, but curiously enough, this tidy, dark dive takes a few traditions from across the Atlantic. The bartender—sometimes a skinny, older gentleman—dresses in an immaculately crisp white button-down, and you can buy hard-boiled eggs for 75 cents. But on Thanksgiving, the place goes all-American, with a full Thanksgiving spread. 725 W Grand Ave (312-421-4597). El: Blue to Grand. Bus: 8, 56, 65. 8am–2am. 

Bridgeport Inn The smoking ban is evident at this neighborly bar in the form of a gum-filled beer pitcher bearing a sign that reads, TRYING TO QUIT? HAVE A STICK OF GUM ON BRIDGEPORT INN. There’s also a hand-drawn sign offering Girl Scout cookies for those who like Thin Mints with their Jäger or Dr. McGillicuddy’s schnapps. But if you’re looking for some mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce this Turkey Day, better go somewhere else. 2901 S Archer Ave (773-523-5468). El: Orange to Ashland. Bus: 9, X9, 62. 9am–2am. 

Bialystok Chicago Pub A silver disco ball throws bright spots onto tomato-red walls and a mini karaoke stage at one of the longest-standing Polish joints in this area. Cocktails may be 50 cents more during Saturday night karaoke, but Mondays still offer $5 pitchers and a penny-pincher special can be had on nearly every other night of the week (especially if you’re into kamikazes). Go on Thursday night for post-meal cocktails, and then again on Sunday, when it’ll be throwing a little Thanksgiving feast of its own. 3653 W Diversey Ave (773-227-5662). El: Blue to Logan Square. Bus: 50, 53, 76. Opens around 6pm on Thanksgiving.