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23 places to get a beer while you're working

Sometimes coffee just won't cut it—here's where to grab a beer while you answer emails and work on spreadsheets

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

If you're lucky enough to work from home or need to tackle a few tasks away from the office, we have good news: There are plenty of spots that open well before 5pm where you can score free Wi-Fi and grab a drink. Work can (sort of) be fun when you have a beer, glass of wine or a cocktail in your hand, right?

RECOMMENDED: Best bars in Chicago

Places to get a beer while you're working

Bars, Breweries

Half Acre Brewery

North Center

The taproom has free Wi-Fi, so settle in for the afternoon over a tasting flight. They also have regular tappings of limited releases, so try something new while you're at it. Looking for an old favorite? Of course we always love Daisy Cutter, but look for tap room and growler-only selections like Space IPA.

Photograph: Kendall Thacker
Bars, Gastropubs

DryHop Brewers

Lake View

Get there early or keep your eyes peeled for bar seats—DryHop gets crowded and waits for tables only make it feel more like the place to be. The killer French fries, great burgers and steady drafts solidify your decision, and the patio makes a great spot to hang out.

Bars, Café bars


Logan Square

Sure, the draw of Estereo may be the cocktails, but don't overlook the beer list. With four tap handles, expect to see local beers from Whiner, Off Color and the like. Plus, Estereo's warm and cheery colors are perfect for getting work done at the large triangular bar. It opens at 11, just in time to grab a beer and get a bit of work done.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Bars, Pubs

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar


Ed Marszewski—editor-publisher of Lumpen, festival host, gallerist and general Chicago indie-art-world guy-around-town—and his brother, Mike, remodeled and renamed Kaplan’s Liquors, the Bridgeport bar that was owned and operated since 1986 by their mother, Maria. The chandeliers built out of bottles and the 300-plus microbrews are notable, but the real standout feature is the welcoming scene: People like each other here, perfect for grabbing a daytime drink and making friends. Plus, now you can order food from Kimski.

Bars, Pubs

Links Taproom

Wicker Park

A long lineup of craft beer plus sausages and starters like cheese curds make Links the perfect place to settle down and get some work done. There's a few TVs around the bar, in case you're looking for a bit of a distraction; otherwise just grab a spot at a table, fire up the free Wi-Fi and you'll be just fine.

Beer flight at Beermiscuous.
Photograph: Martha Williams
Bars, Beer bars


Lake View

Think coffee shop plus beer–a really really good selection of beer. The always helpful staff can point you in the right direction for a drink while you plug in and work for the afternoon. Hungry? Grab something from a nearby eatery and bring it in, or have the bar order from Gino's East Pizza across the street for you.

Restaurants, Gastropubs

Horse Thief Hollow


This Beverly brewery churns out a lineup of its own beers plus a menu including a range of in-house barbecue items. Plus, it opens at 11:30, making it just right for an early afternoon brew and work session.

Bars, Dive bars

Christina’s Place

Irving Park
The windowless front door isn’t exactly a welcome mat, but once inside Christina’s compact, cozy digs (and after an insanely cheap Guinness), you’ll feel right at home.
Photograph: John Khuu
Bars, Breweries

Forbidden Root

East Village

Forbidden Root's front tables fill up with light during the day, making it a bright and sunny spot to get a few hours of work done over one of their botanical beers. Plus, the food lineup is great—and who doesn't want to grab that burger along with their flight?

Shopping, Bookstores

The Book Cellar

Lincoln Square

The Lincoln Square bookstore is an ideal spot to browse books or sit down at a table to tackle some work while sipping beer, wine or freshly brewed coffee. Bonus: There are cupcakes from Southport Grocery to snack on.

Coffee Studio
Restaurants, Coffee shops

The Coffee Studio


It offers great coffee, but the Andersonville coffee shop also sells craft beer and wines—perfect for winding down from your morning coffee while you work.

Bars, Dive bars


Rogers Park

The Rogers Park bar opens at noon, is strictly cash-only, has free Wi-Fi and longneck PBR's are always $3. Who needs coffee?

Bars, Cocktail bars


Lower West Side
This popular Pilsen hangout is made of hyperrecycled materials that make it feel like the inside of a pinball machine. It’s this innovative design—coupled with the better-than-average cocktails—that ensures you won’t get bored.
Revolution Brewing Taproom
Photograph: Courtesy of Revolution Brewing
Bars, Breweries

Revolution Brewing Taproom


The sprawling taproom offers regular brewery tours, so come in and grab a beer before seeing the space. You can bring in food too—so order a pizza or bring along Honey Butter Fried Chicken.

Restaurants, Contemporary American

Howells & Hood


This sprawling restaurant/bar features a shocking number of beers on tap and just the kind of food you want to have while sampling beers. The menu includes classics like fried cheese curds, mac and cheese and a terrific kimchi-topped burger—perfect for Loop workers to drop in and grab a cold one before heading back to the office. Come summer, grab a spot on the big outdoor patio for prime people-watching and city views.

Restaurants, American

Kroll’s South Loop

Near South Side

This neighborhood bar offers an extensive craft beer list with almost 80 beers. The flatscreens show football and other sports, but get there when it opens at 11am to get some work done before any games start.

Photograph: Jason Little
Restaurants, American

Northdown Cafe and Taproom

Lake View

The cafe, which opens daily at 11am, has a rotating selection of draft beers, sandwiches and pie. Order a bottle of Belgian beer (the bar has an excellent selection) and some mac and cheese and you'll be set.

Bars, Pubs

Paddy Long's

Lake View

Paddy Long's has a terrific beer selection, plus plenty of snacks. Whether a "bacon bomb" is the kind of thing you should eat while you're working on your laptop is up to you.

Bars, Sports Bars

The Globe Pub

North Center

It can be hard to snag seats at the pub on game days (the Globe is a hotspot for watching soccer and rugby matches from across the pond), so sneak in on an off-day and hunker down to work. They have a solid selection of craft beer and events like trivia at night; you could stay all day if you wanted.

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