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The best bars in Little Italy and University Village

Explore the best bars in Little Italy and University Village, including cocktail lounges, local watering holes and more

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Cetta's

Local watering holes reign supreme in Little Italy and University Village, where you can nurse a classic cocktail or enjoy a pint of craft beer. The neightborhoods also boast a few places when you can sip a glass of wine and play some bar games. Whether you're look for a pre-dinner drink or a place to end the night, check out the best bars in Little Italy and University Village.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Little Italy and University Village

Little Italy and University Village bars

Cetta's

Head to Cetta's for a variety of refreshing classic cocktails, a solid craft beer list and wine. There are lofty tables near the window to grab a drink and shorter, more intimate tables if you're looking to catch up with a friend. They also have a space that plays host to regular music events, such as piano with vocals on Friday nights at 8pm.

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Little Italy, UIC

Little Joe's

If you want a sense of what Little Italy is all about, look no further than Little Joe’s. It’s the oldest bar on Taylor Street, a fact that becomes clear with one look at the bar’s namesake. The beers are cheap, and there’s a beat up dart board in the back, making it a popular haunt for both UIC students and old-timers who grew up in the neighborhood. Head there at midnight on a Saturday and you’ll almost certainly overhear someone talking about how much the area has changed over the years.

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Little Italy, UIC
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Rick's Bar

Sing-along ‘70s pop, ridiculously friendly regulars, free Wi-Fi, a bartender with chilled martini glasses ready for making fruity cocktails, $1.50 chili boat Mondays—this Tri-Taylor spot goes so far with “fun” it might as well post a sign that says, “If you’re trying to drink whiskey and skulk in a dark corner, look elsewhere.”

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Little Italy, UIC

The Drum and Monkey

This cozy, immaculately detailed Irish pub (formerly Four Corners) might be the last thing you’d expect on the spaghetti strip of Taylor Street, but soon it’ll be first on your “places to swig pints and shovel eats from across the pond” list. Just ask any of the UIC doctors who are regulars.

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Little Italy, UIC
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Three Aces

When you visit a biker bar, you normally don’t expect craft beer and a tasty brunch menu. But that’s exactly what this Taylor Street spot has to offer. On any given night, you’ll see grizzled leather jacket-wearing gear heads sipping on PBR, shooting pool with bearded hipsters drinking whatever barrel-aged stout that the bar has on tap.

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Little Italy, UIC

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