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Photograph: Courtesy Four Corners

The 13 best Lincoln Park bars

Dives, Irish bars, rooftop destinations and more top-notch places to grab a drink in Lincoln Park.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
Contributor
Samantha Nelson
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Lincoln Park truly lives up to Chicago’s “city in a garden” motto, with its massive namesake park, long stretch of beaches, and free zoo and conservatory providing a perfect way to spend an entire day immersed in nature. But you shouldn’t head out as soon as the sun sets. The neighborhood offers an eclectic mix of nightlife destinations ranging from a cocktail bar offering tarot readings to a legendary blues club. You can take in the gorgeous views of Lake Michigan from a rooftop bar or get lost in another world at a pop-up focused beercade. Enjoy everything Lincoln Park has to offer by visiting one of these great bars.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best bars in Chicago

The best bars in Lincoln Park

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Music buffs have been flocking to aliveOne for more than 25 years to see local bands perform, compete in Monday night music trivia or just pick out tunes from the jukebox, which is entirely devoted to recordings of live music. Take advantage of half-price drinks offered daily while you watch a concert DVD, or come late for a weekend dance party. Order enough discounted cocktails and craft beer and you might work up the courage to join the Sunday comedy open mic.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 2 of 4

This rock and roll dive has one of the best jukeboxes in town in 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 a selection of more than 1,000 whiskeys (bourbon, Scotch, Irish) and around 200 beers (Belgian, microbrews, seasonals) plus frequent free movie nights, and you have a bar to call home. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4

It's easy to see why the J. Parker has become a destination for drinkers looking for an exciting experience. It boasts excellent cocktails, seasonal small-plates and sweeping, mesmerizing, breathtaking views of Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan from the 13th floor roof of the Hotel Lincoln. On the other hand, it’s a rooftop bar that doesn’t take reservations, which means you might need to sacrifice your first born just to get a seat. 

  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 1 of 4

The legendary blues club has been a destination since 1968, with live music on two stages spread across two rooms every Thursday through Saturday. Alternate between the spaces to find a show that suits your mood, whether it’s a regular like blues singer and guitarist Joanna Connor or a touring band. The cover and beer prices are reasonable and you can also order up some bar food and Southern fare including fried okra, red beans and rice, and pecan pie.

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Sheffield & DePaul

There's a lot to look at inside the Red Lion Pub. Gaze up and you'll spot the Tudor beams that line the ceiling; and under that, there are bookshelves lined with tomes about British history and literature. There are 14 draft lines that line the bar and three fireplaces for those cold Chicago nights. The menu is populated by pub food (Scotch egg, Irish nachos, poutine) and a fantastic collection of suds and bourbon.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 2 of 4

A haven for beer geeks, the Local Option offers a rotating selection of 30 beers from around the world on tap along with its own house beers and collaborations with local brewers, including Pipeworks. You’ll also find an extensive selection of meed and aged beers by the bottle. The soundtrack is heavy on metal and the menu also spices up classic bar food with Cajun flavors in the form of catfish tacos and creole wings.

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  • Bars
  • Lincoln Park

Conveniently located in front of Steppenwolf's 1700 theater, Front Bar is a destination for theater-goers and neighborhood residents alike. The space—which is part coffee shop, part bar—serves Dark Matter coffee, panini made with bread from Aya Pastry and build-your-own focaccia with toppings including spicy salami, pesto and goat cheese. Swing by before or after a show for a glass of wine or an expertly crafted cocktail like The Midnight City, a spin on an espresso martini made with Dark Matter’s Vanilla Suburbs cold brew, Bailey’s and honey syrup.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

There's beer on tap and coolers lining the walls, but Beermiscuous isn't really a bar, per se. An employee-owned "beer café"—complete with couches and a fireplace—this is the kind of place where you can drink while typing away on your laptop at 1pm. There are always local beers on tap and hundreds of bottle and can options that you can take home, or (for an additional fee) drink on-site. Beer nerds will love the selection, while more casual drinkers will appreciate the relaxed coffee shop vibes.

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  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

The 9,000-square foot industrial space is packed with 65 vintage arcade games such as The Simpsons and Rampage and other arcade staples including pinball, skee-ball and air hockey. Between rounds, take advantage of the extensive craft beer selection or channel your competitive side with trivia and live games of Wordle. The bar hosts rotating pop-ups, transforming into the worlds of Shrek, Harry Potter or The Office with themed decor, drinks and events.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

There’s a lot more Gaelic cheer at this bar than just the Guinness on tap. The pub grub is authentic, featuring corned beef & cabbage with white wine mustard sauce and traditional shepherd’s pie, most of the staff is actually Irish, and it’s rarely too crowded to nab a table. Choose between the vintage woodwork inside and the expansive patio that’s covered and heated in the winter. You can also catch live Irish music at 8pm Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

With three separate bars, you won’t have to wait long for a drink while watching the game at Gaslight. Embrace the party atmosphere by sharing a margarita served in a one-gallon fish bowl or ordering the Mez-Claw, a can of White Claw Black Cherry served with a shot of mezcal. Visit during weekend brunch for bottomless mimosas and a breakfast burrito or a fried chicken benedict served atop a Belgian waffle covered with maple-bacon hollandaise.

  • Shopping
  • Bookstores
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

A self-described "third space," Kibbitznest is a gathering spot for bookworms and craft cocktail fanatics. There's one thing you should know before you go: The shop is a WiFi-free zone, which means that the owners prefer if you leave your laptop at home and save phone use for taking photos of the beautiful surroundings. Shop a curated selection of new and used books before settling in for a drink, like Agatha's Choice, with gin, tonic, creme de cassis and lime. Keep an eye on the shop's events calendar for book club discussions, live music and comedy nights.

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  • Bars
  • Lincoln Park

Get the royal treatment at King of Cups, a cozy lounge with a medieval Rococo design that includes a throne, chandeliers, a suit of armor, velvet curtains and gilded wallpaper. The regal theme also plays out in the inventive drink menu from Danny Jahnke, including the King Louie Phillipe made with pear cinnamon-infused gin, amaro, lillet blanc and lemon and the Calypso King featuring rum, amaro, demerara, lime and toasted coconut. You can get a tarot reading while you’re there, but you’re sure to have a good night no matter what the cards hold.

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