The 9 best Chicago bars with liquor stores
The teams behind the Rocking Horse and Dante's Pizzeria recently took over this Avondale bar and liquor store, with plans to eventually add a restaurant to the building. For now, the classic slashie sells a wide selection of craft beer and liquor on one side, while bartenders serve up affordable drinks on the other. If you're feeling lucky, ask for the $2 dice shot: Each roll of the dice corresponds to a different cheap liquor. Pray that you don't get the schnapps.
Normally, sports-crazed drinkers might not look twice at this unpolished Jefferson Park tavern, but once they do, two features will have them hooked on becoming regulars. One, an attached liquor store boasts killer prices and a great selection to help you move the party home. And two, the oval bar is rimmed with flat-screens covering every sport you could want to watch, from the majors to the obscure.
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 most 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.
If you're heading to one of the many Thai restaurants that line Western Avenue, this unassuming bar, just steps away from the Western Brown Line station, is a great place to grab a craft beer pre- or post-meal. The adjacent liquor store stocks a selection of local booze and craft beers—perfect for BYOB or taking home.
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 (including some from local Marz Community Brewing) are notable, but the real standout feature is the welcoming scene: People like each other here.
If you’re not familiar with the glorious convenience of combonation liquor stores and bars, this old-man haunt is a good introduction. Sure, it looks like your average corner store: Cases of beer, liquor and cheap wine surround retail shelves stocked with junk food in a fluorescent-lit room. But wander toward the dimly lit back of the store and you’ll find yourself in bar country wondering whether or not you should have a couple before heading home with a fresh six-pack.
Like a secret passage to debauchery, the red door to this State Street bar and liquor store reveals no sign of what’s inside. Turns out it’s a dark cabinish space with a mixed crowd of lewd yuppies and bitter locals drinking at the bar or purchasing some sixers for the road. Pissed off? Up to no good? You’ll fit in just fine.
The pervasive red lighting and long bar might recall Mean Streets, but don't fret: Your chances of getting offed by the mob are slim to none here. Locals tend to huddle in groups of two or three, nursing bottled beers, munching on snacks from the adjacent liquor store and chatting about sports, their wives, etc. Considering how a lot of Western Avenue bars fill up with younger, hipper and louder clientele, the relaxed vibe is a nice change of pace.
This Polish dive/liquor store somehow manages to look like a brightly painted burger joint decorated with fake flowers and Christmas lights. The jukebox relies heavily on Phil Collins and Eastern Bloc pop, PBR is on tap, and there’s an entire shelf devoted to cheap shots (mostly schnapps in B-list flavors like root beer). The combo is just the ticket for an end-of-the-night wake-up call that, yes, you are wasted.