13 Chicago bars with a great jukebox

A great jukebox can make or break a night out, so try these bars that offer the best tunes in town
Old Town Ale House has one of the best jukeboxes in Chicago.
Old Town Ale House has one of the best jukeboxes in Chicago.
By Raf Miastkowski |
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While a photo booth or even liquor stores can add a lot of charm to a bar, a great jukebox has the ability to transform another predictable night out into a small-scale neighborhood bash. So get ready to party it up with local barflies at these (mostly dive) bars with the city's best jukeboxes.

RECOMMENDED: Best bars in Chicago

Chicago bars with a jukebox

Bars, Dive bars

aliveOne

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

Patrons love aliveOne largely because it hosts so much live music, so it should be no surprise that its great jukebox is stocked with only live-music albums. 

Archies.venue.jpg
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
Bars, Dive bars

Archie’s

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park

Archie’s old-school jukebox is stocked with bands that provide a great soundtrack to eating free cheeseballs and hanging out with dogs: Tom Waits, Styx and the Village People. 

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California Clipper
Photograph: Kari Skaflen
Bars, Cocktail bars

California Clipper

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park

California Clipper’s jukebox is an old-school treasure that’s in the running for coolest in town. It glows with red light like a demonic menace, and features classics from bands such as the Animals, Alice Cooper and Warren Zevon. 

TheDouble.venue.jpg
Photograph: Marina Makropoulos
Bars, Beer bars

The Double

icon-location-pin Logan Square

Tucked away on the west side of Logan Square, the Double is a great spot for jukebox aficionados. Flip through albums by Dire Straits, the White Stripes and Rolling Stones, and sidle up to the bar for a cold brew. 

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Bars, Lounges

Estelle’s

icon-location-pin Wicker Park

Whether you’re looking to throw on a song that will help wash your craft beer down or get the party started, Estelle’s jukebox has you covered with songs from bands such as Band of Gypsys (featuring a guy named  Jimi Hendrix) and LCD Soundsystem. 

GingermanTavern.venue.jpg
Photograph: Max Herman
Bars, Dive bars

Gingerman Tavern

icon-location-pin Wrigleyville

While the new sign outside now reads “GMan Tavern,” this Wrigley bar remains the Gingerman Tavern in our hearts. It attracts many more Metro-loving rockers than cargo shorts–wearing bros, and the jukebox reflects the clientele with selections from bands such as Broken Social Scene and the Strokes.

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Bars, Dive bars

Gold Star Bar

icon-location-pin East Village

This beer-and-shot hangout remains one of the diviest dives in Chicago, and visitors love coming here to hang out on lawn furniture while munching on free popcorn and listening to T. Rex and Black Flag on the jukebox. 

0613.chi.rb.at.LnLTavern.exterior.jpg
Photograph:Kendall Thacker
Bars, Dive bars

L & L Tavern

icon-location-pin Lake View

Even if you’re creeped out by L&L’s nose-singeing smells and its claimed ties to serial killers, you’ll still stay for the cheap beers and free jukebox, which features a good mix of hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. 

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OldTownAleHouse.venue.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars, Dive bars

Old Town Ale House

icon-location-pin Old Town

This legendary dive has a storied history that’s highlighted with references to Roger Ebert, Saturday Night Live cast members and nudie paintings. It should be no surprise, then, that its jukebox selections lean a bit on the vintage side with jazz and oldies picks.

RichardsBar.Venue.jpg
Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars, Dive bars

Richard’s Bar

icon-location-pin River West/West Town

A classic dive that’s seemingly frozen in time, Richard’s Bar attracts a diverse crowd that comes for the hard-boiled eggs, to-go beers and old-school vibes. As for the jukebox, expect to hear Sinatra, Sinatra and then some more Sinatra.

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Bars, Dive bars

Simon’s Tavern

icon-location-pin Andersonville

This Andersonville stalwart continually restocks its fantastic CD jukebox with fresh indie picks. Lately, it's records like Mac Demarco, TV on the Radio, D'Angelo and Real Estate. The player is so popular, it has its own Twitter handle. Pop in enough at this cozy Scandivanian dive, and you'll hardly need blogs and Spotify.

Sovereign Liquors
Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars, Dive bars

Sovereign Liquors

icon-location-pin Edgewater

This Edgewater slashie’s jukebox is one of the most-interesting you’ll find anywhere, since it’s filled with mixes made by staff members and friends.

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