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Highline is More than an After-Work Hang

Even on the weekends, this sleek River North bar draws laidback crowds thanks to its devotion to USC football and welcoming atmosphere.

Bartender at Highline   Photo: Peter Ranvestel

With its Merch Mart-adjacent and transit-friendly location, Highline (169 W. Kinzie St., River North, 312-533-2742) is practically tailor-made for after-work imbibing. But the latest offering from the Four Corners Tavern Group (Kirkwood, Gaslight) doesn’t go dark come Saturday. Thanks to a low-key crowd and a strong football following, the place stays hopping on weekends, too.

In case the sea of cardinal and gold didn’t give it away, Highline is a University of Southern California bar, so weekends bring game-day viewing parties of all ages to their upstairs area. But the place isn’t expressly a sports bar. Downstairs houses a DJ playing EDM tracks. The name of the bar is a play on the nearby train station, and spaces are divided up with wood made to look like train tracks. The come-as-you-are crowd (some in fancy dress, others more chill, and so very many in Trojans jerseys) is just happy to be hanging out. 

Here’s what else we saw when we stopped in.

Photo gallery

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