100 Best Bars in Chicago

We came. We saw. We quaffed. A discriminating guide to the area’s top watering holes


Scenes from some of our top bars and clubs

These spots merit some hang time even if you don’t stay for the food

Bars we’re thirsting for at presstime, either yet to open or too new to review

Best spots for $2 Guinness pints, judgment-free dancing, White Sox sightings, and more

From considering thousands to visiting hundreds to selecting these 100 best, we did rigorous due diligence in compiling our list of Chicago and environs’ top-shelf taps: batting eyelashes at bouncers, chatting up bartenders, and pushing our livers to the limit throwing back pints. The result, we believe, stands as a singular handbook for discerning drinkers. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Think we missed a spot? Tell us which is your favorite in the comments below.



Photography by Chris Guillen


4 years ago
Posted by Ray Chicago

Suggested beer bars omitted from your list include Goose Island, Piece, Handlebar, Jerry's on Division, Billy Goat, Bad Apple, Wild Goose, Daily's, etc.

4 years ago
Posted by Elizabeth

The Long Room off Irving Park is one of my favs. Real chill and not pretentious.

4 years ago
Posted by carlson

I am consistently impressed by the mixologists at Sepia. First Peter Vestinos, and now Josh Pearson have quietly crafted the best cocktails in town. I would recommend them over more trendy places like The Violet Hour any day.

4 years ago
Posted by mls chicago

Love Monk's Pub at Lake and Wells in the Loop. Perfect for after works drinks and the mix of people is interesting...people from construction gear to suits go there to drink and throw peanuts on the floor!

4 years ago
Posted by jjharvey

You missed the mark in the suburbs for best beer bar! The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle can not be equaled for the finest quality and selection of beer! The owners go out of their way to make sure their beer is extremely fresh, the lines clean! If you want the best in beer. ambiance, service and European food, RUN to the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle!!

4 years ago
Posted by icebreaker

Johnny's IceHouse in the West Loop. Where else can you drink from a glass German boot and watch live men's league hockey at the same time?

4 years ago
Posted by jack

Butch McGuires...for 50 years this has been a popular bar. It is hard to imagine that you could overlook this great Irish Pub.

4 years ago
Posted by cookies

How could you leave Richard's off the list? It is the greatest dive bar in the city. An eclectic crowd with a huge age range and the best juke box in the city.

Oh and don't forget to try the 75 cent hard boiled eggs.

4 years ago
Posted by Ward Kelly

How in the world did you guys miss Butch McGuire's in this top 100? If you want to talk history, the menu, ......and the absolutely dynamic scene between a Friday afternoon and a Sunday breakfast, there is no watering hole close to it. Try getting a table over the holiday season......look up and see the massive decorations and the trains.

My God. Who were the "rating" judges in this article? I have met more CEO's, bank exec's and drunk chics in one night at Butch's than every other bar on your list. I bet half of your top 100 will be out of business in a year.

And not one of the bars in your top 100 were on Division St???????? Wow! Can only imagine your top 100 movies? Maybe we will see Waterworld as your first pick!

Ward Kelly

4 years ago
Posted by ImagesByDave

Only one bar west of Laramie in Chicago on the Northwest side whats that; were you adraid to go that far ? Club Belmont, Tommy's on Higgins and many more !

4 years ago
Posted by DSConnectMeghan

V Live is hosting an Ibiza White Party this Saturday, Aug 28th.

Come on by and see Abel the Kid, Luis Ponce, DJ Danny Boy, Danny V, & Louie Loop all night long.

Don't miss this party!!!

4 years ago
Posted by DSConnectMeghan

V Live is hosting an Ibiza White Party this Saturday, Aug 28th.

Come on by and see Abel the Kid, Luis Ponce, DJ Danny Boy, Danny V, & Louie Loop all night long.

Don't miss this party!!!

1 year ago
Posted by Drink Good Beer

What about Bigbys Pour House in Addison? #1 rated bar in ALL of Illinois, 5 stars on yelp, A+ on beer advocate (2nd to bavarian lodge), #1 bar on google ratings, top 40 tapas restaurants on urban spoon, and featured on the TV show Chicagos best. Amazing bar

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