The best bars in Chicago

Navigate one of the world's best drinking cities with this guide to the best bars in Chicago, from beer to cocktails

By Amy Cavanaugh and Morgan Olsen

Posted: Wednesday February 28 2018

Photograph: Nick Murway

Chicagoans don't discriminate when it comes to booze: We love guzzling craft beer, fancy cocktails, margaritas by the pitcher and interesting wines. Our city is a drinker's paradise with options that run the gamut—from age-old dives and secret speakeasies to ritzy rooftops and watering holes open till 4am. No matter what neighborhood you find yourself in, there's sure to be a bartender waiting to fix you a drink. Consider this your exhaustive guide to Chicago's always-evolving bar scene. Oh, and when you're done, here's where to find the city's best late-night food.

RECOMMENDED: Best Chicago restaurants

Best bars in Chicago by type

Wine bars

Check out the best wines from the city's top sommeliers

Cocktail bars

Crafting cocktails is an art form

Whiskey bars

Chicago won’t settle for well whiskey anymore

Rooftop bars

Nothing beats drinking at a rooftop bar with a great view

Gay bars

Find great gay bars everywhere from Uptown to downtown

Beer bars

Pull up a stool and enjoy a frosty pint of craft beer

Sports bars

Cheap beer, good food and plenty of TVs

Dive bars

Low-key nights, greasy snacks and cheap beer

Karaoke bars

Pick up a mic and let loose

Outdoor bars

You survived the winter—you deserve a drink

Best bars in Chicago by neighborhood

Logan Square

Logan is the epicenter of cocktail bars


The neighborhood mostly offers low-key bars, but they're places that pay attention to drinks

The Loop

Blow off some post-work steam

Lincoln Park

There are plenty of gems, if you know where to look

Humboldt Park

Get ready to become a regular at some of the best bars in Humboldt Park

Hyde Park

Hyde Park bars range from music venues to dive bars

Wicker Park & Bucktown

Some of the city's best bars are here


Sing karaoke, play bar games or relax after work with a craft beer at one of the bars in Lakeview

River North & Streeterville

It's one of the city's greatest concentrations of cocktail bars 


These all have a low-key vibe

West Loop

It's the city's hottest dining neighborhood, but the drinking scene is no slouch


Karaoke bars and more


Most college towns don't have bars this good


Whether you're looking for the best gay bars or a quiet place to grab a craft beer, here's where to drink

South Loop

The South Loop runs the gamut of nightlife options


Uptown's bars have a ton of personality