When you’re in the mood for a night out in Chicago, Illinois, there are a few neighborhoods that should come right to the top of your head. If you don’t already have a handy-dandy mental list, let us provide one for you.
These are all the best neighborhoods for bar-hopping in Chicago.
Whether you hail from the neighborhoods or you’re a pure downtowner, no one can dispute the level of crazy that Hubbard Street in River North reaches. Be it a weekday or the weekend – doesn’t matter. For anyone that’s ever been there past 8 pm, you know that if someone suggests stopping at a bar in this part of town, you’re in for a wild night. This area of River North is a great location to go bar hopping with friends.
The scene is mostly concentrated on Hubbard from State to LaSalle. El Hefe, Howl at the Moon, Mother Hubbard’s, O’Callaghan’s, Joy District, Hubbard Inn, and Three Dots and a Dash are typically the most popular spots in this area to go bar hopping. This part of River North attracts everyone, from hip young professionals to traveling businessmen, industry night owls to freshly turned 21-year-olds looking to celebrate their coming-of-age in Chicago’s top nightlife district. Hubbard Street in River North is the perfect location to go bar hopping and enjoy a “night on the town” with friends.
Then there’s good old Wrigleyville, and on Clark to be exact—the street that couldn’t be ignored even if you tried. Seriously, try walking here on a Saturday night after 10 pm. And during a Cubs game? Madness.
This area might be one of the longest clusters of bars in the entire city. From Belmont all the way past the Field to Grace Street, you’re bound to see residents or tourists enjoying the bar hopping scene.
The hotspots? Where do we start… There’s Irish Oak, Deuce’s and the Diamond Club, Sluggers, Merkle’s, Old Crow, HVAC, The Cubby Bear, Gman Tavern, Smart Bar. The list goes on. With throngs of die-hard Cubs fans and post-grad 20-somethings who haven’t quite left their “bro” days behind, it’s pretty easy to get rowdy in this part of town.
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Of course, we can’t forget about the Six Corners in Wicker Park, because North Milwaukee Avenue has a very distinct place in the world of Chicago nightlife.
Like getting a little weird when you go out? The eclectic mix of bars, clubs, and pubs that line Milwaukee Avenue are sure to keep you on your toes. Some of the must-hits include Whiskey Business, SWIG, Debonair, Links Taproom, The Flat Iron, The Revel Room, and High Noon Saloon. The community is just as eclectic as its bars – you’ll see artists, musicians, and your everyday hipsters participating in bar hopping activities in this area of Chicago.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the other stretch of this street that knows how to party. Continue north on Milwaukee for about 15 minutes and you’ll reach Logan Square’s bar scene, where we have to give a shout out to spots like Emporium, East Room, Slippery Slope, Revolution, The Radler, The Owl, and The Rocking Horse.
Whether you’re gay AF, straight as an arrow, still in the closet, or something in between, everyone can feel welcome in this colorful part of town.
North Halstead from Grace to Belmont is probably the most popular area in Boystown to frequent. Starting with The North End, a historic gay bar since the 1980s, you’ll continue south on Halstead to hit up Bobby Loves, Charlie’s Chicago, Cell Block, and Kit Kat Lounge. You’ll hit a bit of a break between Waveland and Addison, and then out of nowhere appear the most banging bars around: The Twisted Vine, Hydrate, Elixir Lounge, Replay, Roscoe’s, Progress Bar, Sidetrack, D.S. Tequila Company, and Scarlet Bar. Take a detour to the corner of Belmont and Sheffield for a wild night at Berlin, if you want to get real crazy until 5 am on Saturdays.
North Broadway also has something to offer if you want to stray from the main streets and get a little more intimate. Bars like Jacqueline’s, The Closet (open until a whopping 4 am), and Wang’s offer low-lighting and a chill vibe for winding down the night.
Last but certainly not least, another of Chicago’s most bar-populated neighborhoods is Lincoln Park, particularly on Lincoln Avenue from Wrightwood to Fullerton. The vibe around here is generally more casual, but not any less fun.
This part of Lincoln Park has tons of bars in close proximity to one another, such as Red Lion Pub, Lincoln Avenue Social, The Barrelhouse Flat, Lincoln Tap Room, Elbo Room, Delilah’s, and Prost. The music venue Lincoln Hall is also located here, so catching a concert is always an option.
DePaul students and well-to-do 30-somethings tend to frequent these haunts, but mainly, this street is filled with people who are just looking for a good time. Which is all you really need.