11 things worth staying up until sunrise for in Chicago

Chicago might not be the city that never sleeps, but we still enjoy late-night parties and 24-hour diners

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So, it turns out Chicagoans really love their sleep. A recent Time Out study found that when compared to other city-dwellers Chicagoans are significantly less likely to stay out all night partying. We call bull on that, since there's plenty of great night clubs, amazing bars24-hour restaurants and more to keep you entertained until the sun comes up. Use this list as a guide for staying out past midnight and combine a few of these stops to stay out until it's time to go to work again. 

Where to stay out late in Chicago


The Continental

This 100-year-old dive bar might be off the beaten path, but its a favorite late-night hangout of artists, musicians and hipsters. Housed in a former speakeasy, the Continental boasts two levels, a patio (for when it's warm outside) and more than enough cheap booze to fill the two hours after your other favorite bar closes up for the evening.

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Humboldt Park

The Green Mill

Al Capone's former hangout is a jazz sanctuary with live music every night of the week until 4am. The bar's cash only and you'll want to drink the night away in a cozy booth, so come prepared.

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Pick Me Up Café

Open until 2am every day, this vegan-friendly diner is a nice alternative for regular late-night eats, offering up plenty of options to soak up all the booze in your system.

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Lake View



Chicago is the birthplace of house music and Queen! is the party that carries on the LGBT-friendly, inclusive ethos of the genre. Make your way into the subterranean confines of Smart Bar and you'll find party co-founders Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David behind the decks and a mass of revelers crowding onto the foggy dance floor. The trance-like grooves keep spinning until 4am, so make sure you arrive well-rested and ready to dance the night away.

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Smart Bar , Wrigleyville Until Sunday August 26 2018

Music Box Theatre

Catch independent flicks, director Q&As and more any time of day at one of our favorite Chicago movie houses, but look out for late-night special screenings as well. Regular midnight screenings (including the infamous so-bad-it's-good classic, The Room) fill the roster and with the newly renovated front of house bar, you're set for the night.

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The Owl

Weeknights are low-key at this retro dive from the Estelle’s folks, but the rooms fill up by midnight on weekends and stay packed until the 4am closing time (5am on Saturdays). Cheap drinks and less-cheap craft beers abound at all times, hipster tunes rule the jukebox and there’s a dance floor in back lined with mirrors.

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Logan Square

The Original Mother’s

While legend says that the Velvet Underground once rocked Mother's back in 1968, these days the Division Street bar is known for having a packed dance floor and karaoke. Belt out a few tunes before 4am rolls around.

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Gold Coast

The Barrelhouse Flat

4 out of 5 stars

Unlike most late-night bars, the Barrelhouse Flat is not a dive. Drink the night away until 2am during the week, 4am on weekends and 5am on Saturdays in the chic setting, whether you're lounging by the fireplace or playing a game of pool in a library-esque room.

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Sheffield & DePaul

Elly’s Pancake House

The room is big and wide-open, and yet, thanks to the homey design (the mismatched chairs; the collection of plates on the wall), this diner feels more like a small, charming café. But don’t let that fool you: The menu has all the diner staples it should have, from plate-sized omelettes to hearty Monte Cristo sandwiches to the signature: oven-baked pancakes almost the size of the room, all available 24-hours.

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Old Town

The Second City

At this Chicago comedy institution, shows start as late as 11pm and creep into the early morning hours. Performances seem to get funnier with each passing beer, so have a few during the show and then check out the 1959 Kitchen and Bar, open until 2am most nights and until 3am on Saturdays.

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Lincoln Park

Alice's Lounge

This long, wooden bar is helmed by a few middle-aged women who, on Sundays, mix huge batches of kamikazes and sell them for $2 a pop—but the real draw here is karaoke. If you get there and the door’s locked, don’t get discouraged. Just ring the bell over and over again (sometimes the bartenders can’t hear it over yet another version of “Don’t Stop Believin’”).

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