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 bars, 24-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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’”).