If you like the variety and ingenuity of the Logan Square restaurant scene, you'll love the bar scene because it's as good or even better. Whether you prefer cheap canned beer at dive bars, big brewery taprooms or excellent cocktail bars, Logan Square has a bar for you.
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Best Logan Square bars
Brothers Chris and Calvin Marty bought the old Marble Bar and reopened it as Best Intentions. The dive bar charm remains, although the bar is a little sleeker and the drinks are much better. Settle into a table on the big back patio, or sidle up to the bar for minty Wondermint Malted shakes, shots of Angostura bitters (they're the only bar anywhere with the bitters on draft) and a list of well-made classics. Fill up on po'boys from chef Kevin Cowens.
Who would have guessed longtime Trotter's chef Matthias Merges would find his calling checking IDs at the door of a Logan Square bar? Granted, his is not just any bar: Here, barkeep Alex Bachman combines his penchant for unusual ingredients (a syrup made from maidenhair ferns, say) with an uncanny sense of balance, turning out creations that both pay homage to and defy tradition—often simultaneously. Though Billy Sunday is squarely a bar, the food is a worthy companion to the drinks: Don't miss the banana pudding.
Nothing brings together the hip kids and blue-collar Chicagoans better than cheap alcohol, and this no-frills Logan Square dive across from the Fireside Bowl is living proof. Watch as the earnest mustaches of Blackhawks and Sox fans mingle amiably with ironically bearded Black Keys and White Stripes fans. And if that gets dull, just head to the back for a 75-cent game of pool.
Tucked away in one of the far corners of Logan Square, this combination bar and liquor store is one of the neighborhood's best kept secrets. Formerly known as Dorothy's Liquors, manager Mike Stellatos changed the bar's name and menu while retaining some of its divey charm (including ceiling tiles decorated by regulars). Sidle up to the bar to peruse the affordable selection of craft beers or grab a six pack from the coolers and bring the party back to your couch.
Unlike other ‘70s fern bars, the Heavy Feather feels less like a theme park and more like a refined bar that just happens to serve drinks from the era. The restraint isn’t really surprising, given who’s behind the bar—the Scofflaw group, with beverage director Doug Phillips at the helm. There's a list of 13 balanced drinks, like a velvety amaretto sour, improved with the addition of bourbon and frothy egg white, and creamy grasshopper ice cream drink strengthened with cognac. If the fern bars of yore were half as good as the Heavy Feather, they would never have gone out of style.
Logan Arcade was originally located in the back room of Logan Hardware, a record store and vintage arcade museum, but once that moved down the street, the Arcade took over the space. Inside, you'll find a fully stocked bar and a blinking, beeping menagerie of lovingly restored arcade games. The back room is filled with pinball tables (which account for roughly half of the available games), so flipper fanatics will be able to waste away hours setting new high scores.
The tiki revival continues with Lost Lake, a new spot from Paul McGee (Three Dots and a Dash) that opened in January 2015. The core components of the tiki style are here—drinks that double as flower arrangements, lush tropical decor, Hawaiian print–clad bartenders and Americanized Chinese snacks—but the drinks are more challenging (and interesting) than you find at most tiki bars. Hula Hips of Heaven has a double dose of agave, with smoky mezcal and tequila providing a strong base for citrus fruits and spices, while the Scotch-based Cocoanut Grove Cooler has a punch of peat smoothed out with pineapple and lemon, plus Batavia Arrack, rum’s Indonesian predecessor. Thank heaven for Thank You, the adjacent take-out spot, because you'll need the salty, greasy snacks like egg rolls and chicken wings to keep you standing upright.
The negroni slushie gets all the attention at Parson's, but the secret is that all the cocktails are excellent. With a well-made margarita, canned beers, the option to spike your Stiegl radler with a shot (do it), and the best patio in the city, there's no excuse to not drink at Parson's.
Weeknights are low-key at this retro dive from the Estelle’s folks, but the rooms fill up by midnight on weekends and stay packed until the 4am closing time (5am on Saturdays). Cheap drinks and less-cheap craft beers abound at all times, hipster tunes rule the jukebox, there’s a dance floor in back lined with mirrors and, if all that doesn’t do it for you, there’s a waterfall—a waterfall—behind the bar.
You could wait up to an hour to get into one of this microbrewery’s booths. Or you could simply hover around the bar and snap up a stool as soon as someone else calls it a night. Either way, remember you’re here for the beer as much as the food. So pair that Workingman burger with a pint of Workingwoman brown beer. And follow that with a goblet of Bottom Up Wit and an order of pumpkin hand pies. The latter is a pairing good enough to make you forget about the wait for a seat, ambivalent service and disappointing pizza.