Bars, Dive bars River North
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Photograph: Emily Mohney

While Pops for Champagne remains sleek and jazzy upstairs, the downstairs has been transformed into a lair slightly reminiscent of a hunting lounge, one that specializes in Midwestern liquors and beers. Here, the cocktails are created with care (the Pin A Rose, a bright-red raspberry drink, has sweetness offset by San Bitter soda), but, thankfully, without the pomp of other mixology haunts around town.


Venue name: Watershed
Address: 601 N State St
Cross street: at Ohio St
Opening hours: Mon–Sat 5pm–2am (closed Sun)
Transport: El stop:Red to Grand. Bus:22,36,65.
Price: Average cocktail: $10
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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This bar is such a unique and relaxed hidden gem! After a nice dinner out, this is great place to lounge in what feels like your grandma's Midwestern basement. But in a run and retro way! It's always fun to find a "secret" bar, and I loved the drinks (try the fruity and splashy Why Don't You Like Me), but I was most impressed with the service. Our silly and relaxed bartenders were a refreshing change from the sometimes pretentious River North crowd. I recommend going on the early side if you want to snag a seat, as the place was completely filled up by midnight.


WaterShed is a dependable spot and a great place to go for drinks AFTER drinks, as it's conveniently located in the basement below Pops for Champagne in River North. Grab a booth and stay awhile—it's easy to do!