If there's a neighborhood drink in Andersonville, it's glögg, a delightful concoction of red wine mixed with brandy and spices. The bracing winter warmer can be found pretty much anywhere in the neighborhood each winter, but you can drink happily all year-round at the best Andersonville bars. Whether it's craft beer from the epic selection at Hopleaf, wine at Appellation, one of the city's newest wine bars, or cocktails from Elixir, here's where to drink in Andersonville. Want more? Some of the best Andersonville restaurants have great cocktails, too.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Andersonville
Pastoral, the local cheese shop, is behind this cozy wine bar. A short list of wines is available by the bottle, glass and half glass, which makes it easy to try a variety. The wine list regularly changes, but the Jochen Beurer riesling is wonderfully dry and stony, while the Barboursville chardonnay is a crisp way to start the evening. Appellation serves composed cheese plates that focus on themes, like New Classics, with a funky camembert from Minnesota and salty Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar. Cheese is present in most of the bar snacks and larger plates, including toast piled with tomato-leek relish, an anchovy and hard podda cheese. House-made charcuterie includes country pate with extra depth from bacon and a showstopping rabbit rillette, capped with whipped mustard butter.
The Andersonville outpost of the Boystown 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 Vlad Novikov (try the I'm Not Your Sweetheart, made with Plymouth Gin, Mathilde Peche, Campari, pineapple and lemon juices). From the kitchen it shares with its sibling, Replay, you can order some of the same items as next door (glazed crispy pork belly, beef and chihuahua cheese empanadas, a kohlrabi and fennel salad) as well as small plates like seared Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower or a charcuterie board. The kitchen allows Novikov to do some things with drinks that the Halsted Elixir can't, like flavored ices and fat-washed spirits.
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.
Ravenswood locals flock to this bar for its namesake’s warmth (everyone loves the covered, heated patio) and coziness. Bartenders tend to pour heavy here—we ordered a Scotch on the rocks and found ourselves drinking from a full highball glass—so some food from the adjoining restaurant will be in order to soak it all up.
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 could also class it up, grab a proper table and dig into seasonal rotations such as wood-roasted spring chicken with morels and favas, available in the spring. Beer geeks know this is the place in town to school their palates on craft brews, and they do come in droves, but the addition of an adjacent space helps keep the place from feeling like a sardine tin.
Andersonvillagers of all stripes are crazy for this Irish pub, from the owner of Wilde Bar & Restaurant and Beckett’s. Maybe it’s because the beer list is 100 deep, with drafts like Metropolitan Krankshaft Kölsch available in 5-ounce, 10-ounce and 16-ounce pours. Maybe it’s because, with large portions of chicken potpie and mac and cheese, 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 Andersonville outpost of the Boystown beer-and-bourbon barcade adds food to the mix, with burgers, brunch and more to fuel your retro gaming. The bar runs down the center of the space, though it's just one-sided—the other side of its rear wall is lined with video game consoles. The extensive beer list (26 rotating drafts listed on giant chalkboards over the bar) and even bigger collection of bourbons are the reasons to visit, other than getting it on like Donkey Kong, of course. Service was a little terse on a recent visit, but the space is inviting and the games are free.
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.