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5 Best Bars in Chicago

The third-most populous city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), Chicago is a bustling and very diverse metropolis and a true haven for tourism, attracting millions upon millions of visitors each year.  Many of these visitors come for the city’s amazing entertainment and nightlife scene, which collectively make the city one of the most renowned party destinations in the world.

Known as one of the best bar towns on the globe, it only makes sense that the bars, pubs and lounges in Chicago are some of the best the world has to offer.  To illustrate this greatness, below we have profiled several of Chicago’s finest and most popular drinking establishments, ranging from pubs, to beer gardens to neighborhood hangouts attracting a bevy of locals each and every day.

Hopleaf Bar

Located at 5148 N. Clark Street in the far North Chicago hamlet of Andersonville, the Hopleaf Bar is one of the best and most laidback bars in the city.  And while most of Chicago’s renowned neighborhood bars can be found in the Lincoln Park, Lakeview or even Bucktown sections of the city, the Hopleaf bar is definitely worth the extra drive, even though its regular customers would selfishly prefer this great spot remain somewhat anonymous.

The Hopleaf Bar offers over a dozen beers and ales on draught, including an impressive selection of Belgian beers—their specialty.  The space the bar occupies is stylishly designed, and the atmosphere is friendly and warm.  Electric music blares from the jukebox seven days a week, and the weekend nights, with DJs spinning modern tunes, can get quite packed,

The limited food menu at the Hopleaf Bar includes a great selection of oysters and steamed mussels, as well as a variety of burgers and sandwiches that pair well with their awesome collection of tap and bottled brews.

Billy Goat Tavern

Located underground, beneath the Chicago Tribune headquarters, the most important newspaper publication in the city, the Billy Goat Tavern takes its name from the (now-broken) “curse of the Chicago Cubs baseball team,” which, as you will remember, had a Billy Goat at the heart of the story.

The Billy Goat Tavern—a bar and trendy eatery—has long been an oasis for reporters and journalists, some of whom can be seen slaving over a deadline as they sip a local Chicago ale and munch down a quick burger lunch.  One of the most legendary bars in the city, the tavern is a very popular stop among tourists, making the Goat, as it is familiarly known, hopping both day and night, seven days a week.

The Billy Goat Tavern offers a full cocktail menu; nearly 100 varieties of bottled beer, and roughly 30 tap beer selections that are rotated on a regular basis.  The food menu includes favorites like burgers, hot dogs, wings, fries and onion rings, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.

The Billy Goat Tavern is located at 430 N. Lower Michigan Avenue in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Sheffield’s Wine and Beer Garden

Situated at 3258 North Sheffield Avenue, Sheffield’s Wine and Beer Garden is a gorgeous space—a space that was recently remodeled to reflect the changing trends in Chicago’s architectural styles.  An indoor-outdoor space, Sheffield’s is particularly popular during the warmer months, when Happy Hour revelers are known to gather after work on the bar’s spacious patio to relax and unwind after a long day.

With a full cache of Top Shelf spirits, dozens of beer varieties and an extensive wine list, Sheffield’s Wine and Beer Garden is guaranteed to carry your libation of choice, and their kitchen specializes in classic and mouthwatering Chicago barbecue favorites and pizza.  The bar is a popular meeting place for both locals and city visitors, and regularly hosts various literary events and art shows.  Although not the cheapest bar in the city by any means, you definitely get what you pay for here, including a level of attentive and friendly service that is hard to come by these days.

Goose Island Pub

Chicago’s Goose Island pub is one of the most unanimously loved pubs in the entire city, and a great place to catch up with old and new friends.  Although there are two bars in the city that bear the name Goose Island Pub, this original location, located at 1800 N. Clybourn Avenue, is still the best.  Here you will find a seemingly interminable selection of hand crafted beers and ales, served up eagerly in ice-cold pint glasses.  These ales pair perfectly with the signature food menu at the Goose, which includes inventive meals and snacks that take advantage of the city’s local meats and produce.

Located in the part of town known as Chicagoland (the other location is in Wrigleysville), the Goose Island Pub boasts friendly and attentive bartenders on every shift, and amiable servers who are right on top of you as your beer gets low.  Pool tables, dart boards and arcade-style games, including the very popular Golden Tee Golf game, are located in the pub’s back room, and high-def TVs, showing the best in local sports, are positioned high above the bar.

Duke of Perth

Located at 2913 North Clark Street in Chicago, the bar known as the Duke of Perth is a Scottish-themed bar that will make you feel as if you arrived in the heart of Edinburgh.  One of only two Scottish drinking establishments in the entire city (the other is the St. Andrew’s Inn), the Duke of Perth is a “true pub,” a place where you’ll find no televisions, just great booze and conversation.

The Duke of Perth offers a wide selection of draft beer and ale from around the world, as well as over 85 varieties of bottled brew.  Its back bar is stocked with the finest spirits, including nearly a hundred blends of single malt scotch, more than any other bar or restaurant in Chicago.  Their food menu is dominated by simple snack foods, with the most popular order being their $8, all-you-can-eat fish and chips platter.

The décor and furnishings at the Duke and Perth, which is open daily from Noon until 2:00 AM, are as assuming as the friendly crowd, drinks and food menu, and the bartenders and (cute) servers complete the great package.

Chicago skyline by Unsplash/Pixabay CC0 license

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