Dog-friendly patios, neighborhood dives and beer bars dominate the bar scene in Roscoe Village. When you're wandering up and down Roscoe Street, filled with shops and small restaurants, you're bound to get parched. So the next time you're looking for a great drink, check out some of the neighborhood's finest watering holes.
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The best Roscoe Village bars
Roscoe Village has gentrified over the last few years, and the same goes for its watering holes, especially this one. These days it’s yuppie central, but it’s still one of the best places in town to grab a beer from the extensive list, chat with the friendly bartenders and test your alcohol-addled vocabulary with a game of Scrabble.
Like quintessential neighborhood bars of yore, this wood-paneled pub is a bastion of congeniality. Trivia and open-mic nights bring in a more eclectic crowd than one might expect in Roscoe Village, and unlike your stereotypical Irish bar, the focus here is not on big TVs or pub grub (no food is served). Instead, much care has been put into the beer list, which includes 30 crafts on draft, four of which the bartender will arrange into a $10 flight.
The slogan says it all: no peeing, no crapping, no barking—and that goes for the dogs, too. Needless to say, this bar is dog-friendly, inside and out. But what really clinches it as one of Chicago’s best are the real English darts and the cheap bottles of Old Style and cans of Schlitz.
The newest outpost of Bangers & Lace serves up its staples, like house sausages and bar bites to share. If you've been to the other locations, the decor and menu at the Roscoe Village spot will feel familiar—which is why we like it. What's not to love about an excellent beer list and good pub food in a comfortable setting?
As one bartender told us from her sounding post at the long wooden bar’s apex: “This is not a place where you’ll find the pointy-shoe, popped-collar crew.” As the neighborhood skews younger, things might change. But for now, the space stays true to its homely roots with an old-fashioned jukebox and a back area cluttered with ’70s furniture and unused office supplies.
Let other bars emulate the experience of drinking in Belgium; Northdown evokes the Midwest. It may not seem this way from the onset—the place doesn’t look particularly Midwestern (it’s generically, pleasantly cozy), and the menu, with its housemade pickles and Growing Power vegetables, suggests not Midwesterness but trendiness. But the heartland is found in the details: the Wisconsin beef in the burger. The Midwestern cheeses that come with the bread. The fact that it’s perfectly normal for you to sit here, drink from the always-evolving craft beer list and eat nothing more than some mashed potatoes with gravy.
A wood-paneled ceiling, pool table, Texas longhorn skulls, scattered vintage beer memorabilia and a jukebox stocked with jazz, standards and bluegrass make for a nice spot to cool your heels in Roscoe Village. Well-made cocktails and regional beers like Goose Island’s 312 are the norm. Staff and patrons dabble in theater, so look for local play postings.
The plethora of televisions tuned to ESPN here–not to mention the fratty attitude of the staff–would suggest that this is just another vanilla sports bar. And yet, with rust-colored tin and sleek blonde wood covering every surface, the place is so gorgeous it cancels out any annoying Cubs-fan behavior. (And if it doesn't, a respectable lineup of draft beer can lend a hand.)