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16 people you'll meet in a Chicago dive bar

Gold Star
Photograph: Martha Williams Gold Star

We're all about Chicago's incredible cocktail culture, but nothing beats a dingy, lived-in dive bar. After all, how could we survive these harsh Chicago winters without amazing local beer on tap and a well-stocked jukebox? Each Chicago neighborhood has its own lineup of delightfully crusty dive bars, but we seem to run into the same folks lurking in each of 'em. Here are just 16 of the people we always seem to run into at our favorite watering holes.

1. The aspiring DJ who keeps suggesting songs to the bartender.

2. The selfish soundtracker who totally monopolizes the jukebox.

3. That group of kids who definitely aren't 21. Honestly, they're probably still in high school.

4. The first timer who brought their out-of-town friends there for an "authentic Chicago experience."

5. The pool shark/pinball wizard/dart devotee who seems to only be at the bar to play games.

6. Someone you went to high school with and feel obligated to engage in a forced catch-up.

7. That guy who insists Malört is delicious and will buy you (and anyone else) a shot to prove it. 

8. That guy who brags about how he's been coming to this bar for 15 years.

9. That guy who's so drunk, you're almost certain he hasn't left this bar in 15 years. 

10. The 22-year-old who just got their first grown-up paycheck and insists on buying shots for everyone.

11. The beer snob who sits at the bar either praising or scoffing at the selection of drafts.

12. The overly-friendly regular who tries to talk to anyone who walks in.

13. The standoffish regular who claims the same stool every night and is visibly upset when anyone comes within a foot of their personal bubble.

14. That guy in a band who keeps loudly mentioning the show he's playing at Quencher's next Thursday.

15. The patron who just doesn't understand how a bar could not have a physical, paper menu. 

16. Your middle school friend's divorced uncle.

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