Dive Bars

Recommended Dive Bars

  • 240 Lounge
    Dive Bar
    240 Lounge Albany Park
    This neighbor to the Admiral Theatre blasts stripper tunes and boasts a wall of autographed photos of touring porn stars. There's also a fearsome iridescent ball and chain and a selection of leather belts to assist in bachelor party ritual »
  • Archie's Iowa & Rockwell Tavern
    Corner Tap
    A quintessential midwestern watering hole tucked away on a quiet residential block off to the side of a burgeoning strip of bars on Western. The selection of beers and booze includes the dive standards you’d expect and a bunch of »
  • Bob Inn
    Dive Bar
    Bob Inn Logan Square
    During the Fireside Bowl's heyday, the Bob Inn served as the pre- and postshow watering hole of choice for generations of punks. The shows across the street are gone, but the bar’s cheap-ass drinks, affectionate staff, and comfortably divey atmosphere »
  • Boss Bar
    4 AM Bar
    Boss Bar River North
    The name of this bar is an obvious allusion—guess which "boss" first comes to mind in Chicago—and the sign on the corner of Clark and Hubbard is distinctive, but those features are not what make this bar noteworthy. What does: »
  • Carola's Hansa Clipper
    Dive Bar
    Carola's Hansa Clipper Lincoln Square  1
    The neighborhood's history as a German enclave is apparent in this dive bar, which features seven German beers on tap and decor from the old country. The neighborhood's history as a German enclave is apparent in this dive bar, which »
  • Chipp Inn
    Dive Bar
    Chipp Inn West Town/Noble Square
    On a side street hidden from the rest of sleepy Noble Square, the Chipp Inn gives off a homey, Cheers-y vibe. The small, bright bar is the only neighborhood joint around, and there are always regulars of varied hipness hanging »
  • Helen's Two-Way Lounge
    Dive Bar
    Helen's Two-Way Lounge Logan Square
    An established dive that has loyally stayed put during the neighborhood’s gradual, for-better-or-worse makeover, Helen's Two-Way Lounge sits at the wedge of Milwaukee and Fullerton and takes its name from the facing doors that open onto each street—an easy way »
  • Hungry Brain
    Classic Bar
    Hungry Brain Roscoe Village  5
    Hungry Brain is one of the coziest spots in Chicago. You've probably passed this small bar over and over and never realized it was there. Its interior is comfortable and lit with the glow of beer signs and Christmas lights. »
  • J&M Tap
    Classic Bar
    J&M Tap Ukrainian Village/East Village
    Perhaps better known as the "Secret Squirrel" because of its blink-and-you'll-miss-it exterior, this corner dive does everything right: ice-cold PBR pitchers for seven bucks, mugs full of salty pretzel rods, a well-used pool table, and the sweetest bartender you’ll ever »
  • Joe E's Unforgettable Lounge
    Dive Bar
    The only 4 AM bar on Irving Park Road has a strong relationship with the Illinois Lottery, with a behind-the-bar ticket machine and a self-serve on the floor. In operation since the 50s, it's now run by the second-generation Joe »
  • L&L Tavern
    Music venue
    L&L Tavern Lakeview
    Call the L&L a dive if you like; I'll call it one of the best places in town to set your behind on a duct-taped bar stool. Its best amenity is that it eschews amenities. An unpretentious glorious oasis amid »
  • Liberty Lounge
    Classic Bar
    Liberty Lounge Roscoe Village
    The bartender, who was so sweet that she greeted me with a handshake and an introduction upon my arrival, described Liberty Lounge perfectly: "It's a hillbilly bar by day, local bar by night." The patrons are clearly regulars who know »
  • Nisei Lounge
    Bar/Lounge
    Nisei Lounge Wrigleyville

    The oldest continuously operating bar in Wrigleyville, this low-key neighborhood spot was a clublike refuge for Japanese-Americans when it opened in its current Links Hall location in 1951. New owners two years ago updated only the TV and toilets, »

  • Old Town Ale House
    Bar/Lounge
    Basically, the bar that Second City players go to after a performance (for proof, check out the caricatures on the walls: look familiar?). Filling pitchers of Old Style until 5 AM on Saturday, this is one of the liveliest dives »
  • Ollie's Lounge
    Corner Tap
    Ollie's Lounge Edgewater
    It’s hard to see into Ollie’s from the outside, but don’t be shy—what lies within is a friendly little neighborhood joint with a pool table, a good jukebox, and cheap drinks. The owner, Miss Ollie, is such a community fixture »
  • Rainbo Club
    Dive Bar
    Rainbo Club Ukrainian Village/East Village  1
    The gorgeous Rainbo is hallowed ground for successive generations of musicians, artists, writers (Nelson Algren among the earliest), and hangers-on, all of whom vie for position on the annual photo-booth calendar—the nonconformist's equivalent of the high school yearbook, issued every »
  • Rite Liquors
    Classic Bar
    Rite Liquors Wicker Park/Bucktown
    Rite Liquors isn't just an old-man bar—it's a place to hang out while you're growing old, as many regulars already have in the 90 years this neighborhood slashie has been in business. It’s got an impressive liquor selection, from Woodford »
  • Rossi's
    Dive Bar
    Rossi's River North
    One of the few remaining downtown dives, Rossi's isn't exactly inviting-looking from the outside. It's comfortable enough inside, but its main claim to fame is that it's not nearly as douchey as most of the other options in the area. »
  • T&A Two
    Dive Bar
    T&A Two Irving Park
    Named for former owners (Ted and Anne), the T&A Two has few amenities, unpredictable hours, and nothing on tap. But it is among the last of its kind—a true Chicago neighborhood bar whose purpose is infinitely deeper and more valuable »
  • The Lighthouse Tavern
    Dive Bar
    The Lighthouse Tavern Rogers Park/West Rogers Park  1
    Is the Lighthouse Tavern the vaguest bar in Chicago? I'm not even sure it's a bar—it's more like a student lounge in a college dormitory, or a prank (the bathroom was stocked with aftershave bottles and shaving cream cans, all »
  • Whirlaway Lounge
    Corner Tap
    Whirlaway Lounge Logan Square
    Forever one of Logan Square's best dives, the Whirlaway feels homey and pleasant, like you’re getting drunk in your parents’ basement. The decor is suspended in the early 90s—never mind the massive flat-screen TV sitting three feet behind the bar—and »

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