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Five Chicago bars with awesome mural art

Written by
Sara Freund

Chicago is covered with murals. Wherever you look, from the Wabash Arts Corridor to the Pilsen neighborhood, you can find unexpected, beautiful art in the streets. But there are a few murals you won’t be able to hunt down from the sidewalk. Get up close and personal to some knockout artwork from local and international artists at these five bars.

1. Baderbräu

This giant 25,000-square-foot brewery has a wildly colorful (and equally large) mural in its newly opened taproom. The swirling, trippy phoenix is a reinterpretation of the brewery’s logo created by local artist Brain Killer. Take a seat upstairs at the picnic-style tables with a refreshing pilsner and peer down at the massive fermentation tanks.

Photograph: Courtesy of Baderbräu

2. Federales

Make your way through the tequila garden patio and the bros slinging ice shot glasses at the signature steel bell to a mural you’ll get lost in. On the back wall of this tequila and taco joint is a black and white mural painted by street artist Jason Botkin of EN MASSE. Play a game of "I Spy" with taco-eating aliens, droopy-eyed pigs and runaway agave plants.

Photograph: Courtesy of Federales

3. The Long Room

Climbing vines, bright flowers and a charming herb garden are nestled around The Long Room’s peaceful outdoor patio. Behind the upper seating area is a sprawling, floral mural by Leah Tumerman. Admire the brick wall embellished with vibrant colors with a morning espresso or a late-night craft brew.

Photograph: Don Marcus

4. Seoul Taco

There is a lot going on in Seoul Taco, from the Luchador Taekwondo–painted characters to the rainbow-colored boom box wall. In the back of this Korean BBQ taco spot are graffiti-style murals of dragon heads that remind this writer of Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple. The contemporary art was created by chef and graffiti artist Won Kim and local artists Erik DeBat and Mario Castaneda.

Photograph: Courtesy of Seoul Taco

5. Violet Hour

The Violet Hour doesn’t have a sign, but rather, a giant piece of art to signify its entrance. And it’s always changing. Earlier in July, artist Christophe Gausparro painted a new mural in a statement on gun violence. Get a look before another piece of art goes up in August.


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