Blackfinn Ameripub

River North
While families, finance workers, and college kids can indulge (lemonade, Dom Pérignon, and Moscow mule on tap, respectively), this spot is too generic to be any one group’s go-to.

The Boarding House

River North
With its leather-and-gilt decor, this restaurant bar strives to lure the stylish. Instead, it has become a place where middle-aged business people sip unremarkable cocktails.

High Noon Saloon

Wicker Park
More sports bar than Wild West watering hole, this is a sea of flat screens, drunkenly dancing men, and overserved crying women. Pass.

Howells & Hood

Mag Mile
Having the largest draft beer selection (114!) in the entire city and three bars doesn’t make this 20,000-square-foot behemoth more than a tourist trap.


River North
It's your parents’ ’70s-era basement bar, redone by Calvin Klein: not a bad scene, except when bartenders are humorless and drinks cost $16.