Hipsters, yuppies, freaks, dirty old men and bluegrass bands used to pack this beloved corner tap, which changed ownership in 2011 and underwent a bit of a personality shift. Darker, sleeker and with more focus on DJs with underground cred, the Charleston has morphed into quite a scene. The newer Bucktown residents are happy as clams, plunking down tens for Moscow mules, while the old men have shuffled off to find the few remaining dives nearby. 2076 N Hoyne Ave (773-489-4757). Sun–Fri 6pm–2am; Sat 6pm–3am. Average beer: $6.
The floors of this converted Bucktown house shake so much from the weight of hot-footed trendsetters you’d think the place is seconds from caving in. Most of the dancing is set to a mix of hip-hop, electro and rock on the weekends (and the insanely popular first-Wednesday-of-the-month funk party called Sheer Magic), but there are plenty of nooks and crannies to sit back, relax and people-watch. 1951 W Dickens Ave (773-489-6457). Sun–Fri 7pm–2am; Sat 7pm–3am. Average cocktail: $5.
Perhaps one of the most active and random stages in the city can be found at this eclectic, art-filled corner tavern, where nightly performances can range from poetry readings to jam bands to a recent musical tribute to a famous deceased racehorse (seriously). More reliable is the beer menu, which includes the venerable Alpha King. 2020 N Oakley Ave (773-489-5471). Sun–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 5pm–3am. Average beer: $4.
Green Eye Lounge
The Green Eye’s self-proclaimed addition to the ’hood is “cheap drinks for reasonable people.” Locals head here for Lagunitas drafts, a small outdoor patio (in the summer) and its prime spot right next to the Blue Line, which makes this place easier to drop into your routine than sleep. 2403 W Homer St (773-227-8851). Mon–Fri 3pm–2am; Sat noon–3am; Sun noon–2am. Average beer: $5.
The Map Room
You couldn’t fit another beer on the killer list or another Bucktown local in this cozy tavern on occasional Tuesdays when the bar unveils new or limited releases of specialty beers, along with food from a local restaurant. If you’re a more low-key drinker but like the vibe, stop by in the a.m. when the Map Room functions as a coffeehouse. 1949 N Hoyne Ave (773-252-7636). Mon–Fri 6:30am–2am, Sat 7:30am–3am, Sun 11am–2am. Average beer: $5.