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Nobody's Darling cocktails
Photograph: Susanne Fairfax Media

Best bars in Andersonville, Chicago

For an epic craft beer selection, wine flight or a mug of glögg, these are the best Andersonville bars

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
Contributor
Samantha Nelson
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Andersonville’s bar scene is as diverse as the neighborhood itself. You can find cozy taverns that draw on the area’s Swedish roots or LGBTQ-friendly clubs where you can dance the night away. Grab a cocktail before a trip to one of the best restaurants in Andersonville or catch an evening show to cap off a day spent exploring the neighborhood. Whatever you’re looking for in your nightlife, Andersonville has something to offer—that why Time Out named it as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. What better way to celebrate the achivement than by raising a toast at the best bars in Andersonville.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Andersonville

Best bars in Andersonville, Chicago

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

Thought this was just a bar to belly up to with a Belgian brew in hand? One bite and you’ll know there’s much more. Our perfect night involves sampling the drafts at the bar while slurping down the famous ale-steamed mussels, but you can also get your pommes frites on the side of a sandwich like the pan-fried brisket reuben. Beer geeks know this is one of the best places in town to school their palates in craft brews, and they come in droves—but an additional bar helps keep the place from feeling like a sardine tin.

  • Nightlife
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

Drawing on a tradition of magicians performing tableside at Chicago bars and restaurants starting in the early 1900s, the Chicago Magic Lounge offers daily performances you can enjoy along with shared plates and themed craft cocktails like the Smoke and Mirrors, a blend of mezcal, amaro and fernet. Hidden behind a faux laundromat, the space is three venues in one with a performance bar that doesn’t require a ticket, a 120-seat cabaret theater with full food and drink service and a theater dedicated to close-up magic.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Andersonville
  • price 2 of 4

It's just a block away from the bustling Clark Street corridor of Andersonville, but the stretch of Balmoral Avenue that Nobody's Darling occupies feels somewhat isolated from the rest of the neighborhood. That's likely a part of the appeal for the crowds of folks that show up to this queer, Black women-owned cocktail bar. If it's your first time at Nobody's Darling, start off with the Carry Me Home Darling, a refreshing gimlet riff that benefits from botantical flavors of St. Germain liqueur. Those looking for something stronger should appreciate the smokey, boozy notes of the bar's Penicillin, which is mixed with a dash of Laphroaig honey. And if you're not drinking, the zero-proof Darling Spritz uses an Aperol substitute that tastes almost like the real thing.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Andersonville
  • price 2 of 4
Swedish and Norwegian accents abound at this Andersonville stalwart. If you’re lucky, you can snag a couch in the back by the fireplace where you can take in the cool vintage bar (the design of which was inspired by the S.S. Normandie, the world’s largest ocean liner during the ’30s), sip some seasonal glögg and check out the friendly neighborhood crowd.
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  • Restaurants
  • Wine bars
  • Andersonville

Sommelier and chef Lindsey Anderson-Perez provides a spot to learn all about wine, with tastings on the patio every Saturdays that include four pours chosen by region or varietal with the option to add on cheese and charcuterie. You can also get everything you need for pickup or delivery and attend a virtual class on Wednesdays. For a full meal, enjoy a four-course dinner with wine pairings that change monthly. Don’t miss brunch, when you can enjoy a blood orange and saffron mimosa alongside a roasted pork benedict with adobo hollandaise.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Andersonville
  • price 1 of 4

Andersonville’s neighborhood tavern is a cozy sports bar with a solid beer selection. The crowd is composed of well-acquainted regulars, and there’s an undeniably welcoming feeling of midwestern warmth and camaraderie among the group and bartenders. With a pool table, darts and jukebox to keep you amused and cheap drinks to keep you tipsy, it’s easy to sit back, relax and totally lose track of time.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Andersonville

Bearing a mantra that espouses "inclusivity, acceptance, love," the Bird Cage is an LGBTQ+ friendly bar that's intentionally welcoming of all, no matter their race, gender of ethnicity. Known for its late-night drag shows and Sunday morning drag brunches, the Andersonville bar has quickly become a community hub. Adorned with disco balls, a DJ booth and a wall of BDSM equipment (including plenty of whips and paddles), this is a spot for adults to let their hair down. You'll find margaritas and a couple of frozen cocktails at the bar, plus a kitchen that serves tacos, salads, guacamole and "Bondage Burger." Swing by early for a meal and drinks or stick around into the evening to catch burlesque and drag shows.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Andersonville
  • price 2 of 4

The Andersonville outpost of the Northalsted cocktail lounge expands on the original (literally—this location is at least a little less shoulder-to-shoulder than the shoebox on Halsted) with new signature cocktails and large-format drinks crafted by mixologist Matthew Gutowski (try the I Got You Babe, made with Plymouth Gin, Aperol, passion fruit puree, lemon, and prosecco). From the kitchen it shares with its sibling, Replay, you can order some of the same items as next door (beef tacos with a chihuahua cheese crust or smoked chicken thighs with hen of the wood mushrooms), as well as shareable plates like seared Brussels sprouts, crispy cauliflower with curry dipping sauce or buffalo chicken egg rolls. The kitchen allows Gutowski to do some things with drinks that the Halsted Elixir can't, including making custom syrups for the seasonal cocktail program.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Edgewater
  • price 1 of 4

Locals flock to this bar for its namesake’s warmth, offering seats by the fireplace or on the covered, heated patio. You can heat up from the inside out with a hearty meal such as a 14-ounce prime rib served with horseradish cream sauce or some spice in the form of the Fired Up, a blackened burger topped with chipotle jack, jalapenos and habanero mango sauce. In addition to a Midwest-focused draft list, the drink menu also features signature cocktails like the Cold Skrew, Metropolitan cold brew coffee blended with Skrewball peanut butter whiskey and chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream.

  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • Andersonville

Locals of all stripes are crazy for this Irish pub, from the owner of Wilde Bar & Restaurant. Maybe it’s because of the deep beer list, where Guinness and Smitchwick’s are poured alongside local brews such as Empirical Lumen lager and Maplewood Pulaski pils. Maybe it’s because, with large portions of chicken pot pie and macaroni and cheese with bacon, it’s a no-brainer to stick around for dinner. Or maybe it’s because everyone is secretly really, really into the works of Lady Gregory, the Irish dramatist and folklorist the bar is named for.

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