The best bars in Lincoln Park
You come to the Barrelhouse Flat for cocktails—it’s one of the finest drinking establishments in the city, thanks to a list of 70 classics that range from familiar (whiskey sour) to arcane (Jimmie Roosevelt, anyone?) and oft-changing house cocktails. But you stay at the Barrelhouse Flat for the food, namely the headcheese poutine and the daily popcorn.
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 an insane whiskey selection, more than 300 beers (Belgian, microbrews, seasonals) and frequent free movie nights, and you have a bar to call home.
Laying claim to being Lincoln Park's oldest Irish pub isn't what made us fall for this bar. Instead, it was the charming, airy space with exposed brick, roaring fireplace and original artwork. Of course, having 17 taps (two dedicated to Guinness, naturally) on hand didn't hurt either. If you can, pop in on a slower night so you can grab a seat.
Though it’s nestled on a quiet, tree-lined street, this is anything but your average Lincoln Park bar. The drafts (which rotate weekly) are a suds-geek’s dream come true, the stereo is heavy on metal and the bartenders know their shit. You'll find beer nerds sipping on the latest from Pipeworks and Three Floyds, but we recommend sampling some of the house beers, which typically embrace unconventional (but delicious) styles.
It's not hard 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 from the 13th-floor roof of the Hotel Lincoln. On the other hand, it’s still a rooftop bar, which means you might need to sacrifice your first-born just to get a seat.
Formerly the original location of Headquarters, this early arcade bar became the third outpost of Replay in late 2016 after a split between HQ’s partners. The bar program is more focused on the extensive, high-end beer list than Replay’s other bourbon-centric locations, and the games (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tron, NBA Jam) are all still free to play.
There’s a lot more Gaelic cheer at this bar than just the Guinness on tap. The pub grub is authentic, 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, open-air patio). Just don’t spread the word too much—we’d hate to wind up ass-to-elbow like at most Lincoln Park McPubs.
There's beer on tap and coolers lining the walls, but Beermiscuous isn't really a bar, per se. Billing itself as a "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.
DePaul students, hospital staff and neighborhood professionals alike belly up at this combo spot. Decent bar food, foosball, pool and darts dominate downstairs at the Lion Head, where it's impossible not to find yourself facing one of the two dozen plasma and big-screen TVs. Upstairs, the Apartment sports a corny (yet comfy) club atmosphere with its beds, couches and recliners, which get plenty of use on weekends when the place is packed with singles.
Why the exclamation point? Because Prost! is very excited about German beer. There are 24 of them on tap, all offered in various sizes and served in the appropriate glassware. The beer-hall look and menu of schnitzel and pretzels make things extra Deutsch. Flex your vocal chords before you show up, because all that beer nearly always inspires some spirited late-night sing-alongs.
If you want to watch the game and enjoy some local craft beer, look no further than the Arrogant Frog Bar. The neighborhood pub keeps 24 different beers on tap and will show Blackhawks, Cubs and Bears games on a gigantic projection screen behind the bar. There's also a Wednesday night jazz series and Bloody Mary bar on offer every Sunday from noon to two. It's not the flashiest bar in the ‘hood, but it's a functional spot for drinking and cheering on the home team.