Awesome drink specials, vintage décor, dark and gritty…Maybe even what some Lincoln Park dwellers may refer to as seedy. But when it comes down to the meat of it, good people, friendly bartenders, Norm from Cheers (well, his Chicago cousin) in his usual stool at the end of the bar. What do you get when you put all of these characteristics together? Some pretty awesome Chicago Dive Bars that will keep you coming back time after time to grab some drinks without dropping major moolah. So check out our list
below of the best dive bars in Chitown, and go get your drink on!
Grace Street Tap
3759 N. Western Avenue Chicago, IL
What some Chicago natives may still refer to as Sally’s lounge, Grace Street Tap is a small gem in a big city of fake diamonds. Although recently changing it’s name, it’s still the same dive bar we have grown to love over the years. Your night will be more than complete with there awesome selection of beer, which includes $2 PBR’s and Old Styles, a pool table and old school arcade games, and don‘t miss raunchy bingo Tuesdays! If your furry 4 legged friend wants to join you on your drinking binge, the bar is dog friendly to bat. But don’t let Scruffy talk you into to many $2 Jell-O shots- there is dog biscuits for him behind the bar.
1150 North Damen Avenue Chicago, IL
One of Chicago’s oldest, and coolest, dive bars. Rainbo Club is like a scene out of a hipster movie- wait, it was featured in High Fidelity now that we think about it… Rainbo Club is everything you could ask for rolled up into one seedy looking corner brick building, but once you close your eyes and take the plunge through the dungeon looking front doors you are in dive bar heaven. If your version of heaven is Silver Strike Bowling, cheap ass drinks, comfy couches to relax on, sweet artwork decking out the walls, friendly bartenders, and good neighborhood conversation. Once your good and drunk, the photo booth in the corner of the bar is a good place to capture the night, just in case you don’t remember where you were when you wake up in the morning.
2338 North Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL
In the new up and coming Logan Square neighborhood, here in Chicago we don’t forget our roots. Cole’s Bar, and Cole himself, will always hold a special place in our hearts. Great beer selection, local artists featured on the wall, occasional performances (always free) by local bands in the back room, and friendly bartenders who remember your name like your family. If you get hungry after a few to many shots of cheap Whiskey or PBR tallboys, the Tamale guy is known to make an occasional appearance but if he isn’t nearby there is a bevy of takeout menus behind the bar and ordering food in is never a problem with Cole. Although the delivery guy might make you buy him a shot in trade for your deep dish.
1300 West Addison Street Chicago, IL
Do you like to spend your evenings drinking good German beers, sitting around a table in what is an atmosphere of a comfy living room with friends, nerding it up and shouting out answers to your favorite board games? Then Guthrie’s Tavern is the spot for you. Located on the outskirts of Wrigleyville, Guthrie’s Tavern is a whole lotta fun and more. Always a fun young crowd, and if your competitive side happens to come out, it’s fun to combine forces and pull out the bars copy of Pictionary or Taboo. Losing team buys shots for all! When you do make your way there, look upward at the ceiling- awesome artists from the area have designed each ceiling tile specially for Guthrie‘s.
3238 South Halsted Street Chicago, IL
A secret in the Bridgeport neighborhood, so shhhh… You didn’t hear it here. Small, dark and cozy. Good tunes on the old school jukebox. Good Whiskeys to choose from, and Mike the bartender has a heavy hand to bat. You’ll always find good people and good conversation at Bernice’s. It’s one of those places you can go alone to toss back a few after a tough day at work, and immediately feel
yourself getting warm in your belly. You’ll come in feeling like a local no matter what neck of the woods you reside in, and you’ll leave just a bit more blurry eyed than you remember. Bring cash when you go, credit cards aren’t accepted.
Cal’s 400 Liquors
400 South Wells Street Chicago, IL
If you look up Dive bar on Wikipedia, you just might find a picture of Cal’s. Cal’s is located in the loop of Downtown Chicago, which is rare for a dive bar. So rather than going to have a trendy $15 martini, which are found at every other bar in the loop, why not head to Cal’s for a $2 Whiskey on the rocks. Not to mention it’s conveniently a liquor store as well, so the usually shot down question “can I get a beer to go” is welcome at Cal‘s. Cal’s hosts lots of local and touring bands, so you may just get lucky and get some free music to go with that cold one. Be prepared, Cal’s is as divey-punk as it gets, and credit cards are a no-no.
2771 North Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL
Delilah’s. Ahhh, sweet Delilah’s. To be categorized as a dive bar is all in the eyes of the beholder. Probably the coolest Rock n’ Roll bar you will ever come across in your long life, and also the only Rock n’ Roll bar you’ll come across in Lincoln Park. You think you know the people of Lincoln Park, you wont find them- or their friends- here. Upon walking into Delilah’s, the dark bar is quite edgy. Walk upstairs to the 2nd floor and you’ll find a pool table and comfy couches to sink into. Delilah’s has nightly music, either being spun by a DJ or spun by the jukebox itself. Check it out on a Monday, which is punk rock night and by far one of the best times you’ll have in the big city. $1 American Beers, $2 Jim Beam shots, free pool, good music, and never a shortage of good looking young 20-somethings to chum up to for some interesting conversations.
1818 West Foster Avenue Chicago, IL
And finally, last but definitely not least, Big Joe’s in Lincoln Square. The memorable times you will have at Big Joe’s. The two best nights to hit up Joe’s are Mondays or Fridays, although anything in between will never fail to disappoint. Mondays are open mic night and you will probably find yourself laughing your ass off at some free comedy, complete with free pizza. But the most stand out part of Big Joe’s is the Friday night turtle racing! Turtle racing, you ask? It may look like a cardboard box in the middle of a table, but once that box is lifted the turtles are off and racing! The more you drink, the more tickets you will have to earn you chances of betting on your favorite turtle and winning some pretty fantastic prizes. Cheap beer, running turtles, free pool and darts, Joe’s is a must in Chicago.