Best bars in Lakeview
One of the city’s best spots for rock & roll doesn’t even have a stage. Instead, this Lakeview favorite has one of the best jukeboxes in town for the main room (so you can play DJ Fridays and Saturdays) and hires DJs for Sunday through Thursday who know their Buzzcocks from their Bullocks. Add an insane whiskey selection, plenty of beers (Belgian, microbrews, seasonals) and frequent free movie nights, and you have a bar to call home.
Formerly Atlas Brewing Company, Burt Brewing boasts a small selection of year round brew and seasonal selections with creative names and even cooler cans. What can go wrong when you're drinking a Face Melter Hibiscus IPA or a Dick the Butcher Pale Ale? Stop by and grab a pint or two, grab a burger or some tacos and then head next door to the adjoining bowling alley and knock down some pins.
This huge beer garden turns into a laid-back college reunion on weekend nights in summer, with baseball-capped dudes and spaghetti-strapped chicks flanking the outdoor bar. In colder months, the attention turns to the more sophisticated picks on the beer list and the slabs of ribs that go a long way toward warming the belly.
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.
Though it opened a few months after Wicker Park’s Emporium Arcade Bar, this rival barcade is not content to play second fiddle. All of HQ’s 37 vintage arcade games (Terminator II, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.) are free to play, which means no waiting in line for tokens, more money to spend on the high-end beer list and surprisingly ambitious cocktails and no end to the sheer joy that comes from detonating your date in Mortal Kombat.
Pop into any bar boasting seven days of karaoke and you're likely to hear more than your fair share of Bon Jovi. Thankfully, this Lakeview parrot-head hangout offers ample patio space (heated in the winter) to escape juiced-up choruses of "Sweet Caroline." This place is good for satiating drunk American Idol desires, but bad for house cocktails. Stick to your beer of choice over Todd's odd concoctions.
You’ll never know how relaxing Celtic music can be until you spend an afternoon at this Scottish ale house. Listen closely as you hang out on the serene outdoor patio, eating fish-and-chips (it’s all-you-can-eat on Wednesdays and Fridays) and drinking from one of the best Scotch whiskey lists in the city—soon you’ll be humming along.
L & L Tavern is exactly what you would expect out of a dive bar. But what you don't expect is the rumors that serial killers used to drink at this hot spot. Even though they only have drinks, no food, you'll want to hang out for hours and we're sure regulars will have a lot to talk about at this hidden neighborhood dive.
If you don’t know who Marilyn and Joan are, don’t bother. This slick nightspot only gets campier with age, so prepare to be entertained by black-and-white Hollywood glamour movies and performances by female impersonators of Hollywood icons. The 100-martini-strong drink list is a draw, and chef Mark Kasper puts the focus on dishes like bacon mac and cheese and Southern fried chicken with cayenne maple waffles. But you didn’t actually come here for the food, did you?
Let other bars emulate the experience of drinking in Belgium; Northdown has rolled into town to evoke 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 and the fact that it’s perfectly normal for you to sit here for a while and drink from the always-evolving craft beer list.
When we’re in the mood for bar food, this laid-back neighborhood favorite is among the first spots to come to mind. The TV-packed room might hint at average pub grub, but excellent eats and unique touches (housemade pineapple-infused vodka, for one) elevate the experience. Try the juicy burger (order it medium-rare, topped with cheddar and onion rings) and the Memphis combo, a duo of crunchy fried redfish and massive, meaty spare ribs with good smoke and tender meat. Hand-cut fries complete the gut-busting good time.
If size matters, there's no better bar in Boystown than this well-hung hot spot. Six big rooms—we like the bustling Glass Bar—are all packed with cute, frisky boys distracting themselves with the same three things: the videos on the wall, the drink in their hand and the ass in your jeans.
This unpretentious, low-lit sister bar to Rocks Lincoln Park has a good lineup of microbrews (including beers from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewery) and a solid menu of pub grub to soak it all up. But the name refers to its impressive lineup of whiskeys, which is worth a try just to see the size of the ice cube they use to keep the drinks cold.