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Vice District Brewing Co.
Photograph: Martha WilliamsVice District Brewing Co.

7 Chicago bars where you can bring your own food

Written by
Anthony Settipani

Let's face it, bar food can get really old, really fast. Why not save room (and cash) for some of Chicago's finest drinks by hitting up a BYOF (bring your own food) joint? Here are a few of our favorites. 

Empirical Brewery: Pack yourself a doggy bag when you visit this dog-friendly brewery Lincoln Square, complete with arcade games, eclectic decor and monthly karaoke nights. Choose from a respectable variety of science-themed beers, both established and experimental. 

The Jazz Showcase: See jazz greats perform at this Chicago institution in South Loop. Located in the old Dearborn Station around the corner from Harold Washington Library, Jazz Showcase has played host to the likes of Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. 

Vice District Brewing Co.: Enjoy some local flavor at the Vice District taproom, where you can pair handcrafted Chicago brews with food from the heart of the city. Located within walking distance of Soldier Field, Museum Campus and countless other downtown attractions, the taproom welcomes dogs, babies and even folks just looking to get a little work done on the free WiFi.

Map Room: Your takeout order is welcome at this exploration-themed watering hole in Bucktown. Decorated with travel memorabilia and home to an expansive selection of beers from around the world, this bar is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Galway Bay: It doesn’t get more classic Chicago than this subterranean pub located just up the street from Lincoln Park. Pull up a stool or start a game of darts while you raise a glass and ring in the end of another day. Popcorn is on the house, but if you’re looking for something more substantial, you’ll want to bring it yourself. 

Dovetail Brewery: Pair a bratwurst or some wienerschnitzel with the beers you’ll find at Dovetail Brewery in Ravenswood. Specializing in European-style brews, co-owners Bill Wesselink and Hagen Dost offer tours of their taproom every Saturday at 11am. 

Uptown Arcade: Play games and sip whiskey at this Uptown arcade bar that's located just around the corner from the Aragon Ballroom. Outside food is welcome, as the bar does not have a kitchen of its own, and we've heard that the Lao Sze Chuan located just next door will deliver food at no extra charge. Whiskey and dumplings, anyone? 

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