The Best After-Hours Bars in Chicago

Chicago is one of those cities blessed with late-night bar licenses, and it’s not unusual for bars to remain open through 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on Saturdays (even later, in some instances). Plan on pacing yourself: The following are excellent for drinking after the workaday crowds have long thinned. —Lauren Viera

  • 1

    Analogue

    Newer to Logan Square’s booming bar and restaurant landscape, Analogue is a stripped-down spot that marries delicious craft cocktails with casual New Orleans-inspired fare. Helmed by two veterans of The Violet Hour, the bar boasts a constantly rotating menu of drinks, "purls" (beers with bitters) and shots in a room that feels like a polished ode to an '80s rock club. Add great Cajun food to all this and you've got one of Chicago's most idiosyncratic—and lovable—new bars.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • singles scene
    • dancing
    • full menu
  • 2

    The Burlington

    Founded as a tribute to its owner’s boyhood summers in Burlington, Wisconsin, this rock 'n' roll bar is dark, loud and low-key. Vintage church pews line the walls, a cluster of bare bulbs barely illuminate the bar and a retro wall decal of a woodsy, autumnal scene sets the Midwestern mood. In the back room, bands play for the price of a few pints, most of which are local or regional (both the bands and the beers). If you must, there’s a full stock of liquor, but anything other than shots or a whiskey and ginger is likely to raise an eyebrow. Unlike most of Logan Square’s bars, The Burlington is refreshingly ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • live music
  • 3

    Carol's Pub

    The clientele at this rowdy 4 a.m. country bar is unlike any other in Chicago. Old winos, yuppies, cougars, college kids and urban hillbillies all come together to dance and drown themselves in cheap booze, especially on weekends, when a live honky-tonk band plays. It’s been like this since 1973, and it’s irresistible—all wobbly barstools and wobblier patrons. Other proof of Carol’s bona fides: the Haggard-heavy jukebox, greasy burgers and a grumbly old doorman who’s been shot multiple times.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • live music
    • late-night
    • cheap date
    • dive
  • 4

    Late Bar

    We like to think of this watering hole as everything to everyone. It’s a bar; it’s a lounge; it’s a low-key place to have a Martini; it’s a sweaty late-night spot to get your dance on. Really, it all depends on the day of the week, who’s DJing and how late you’re willing to stay out (you’re welcome until 4 a.m. weeknights and 5 a.m. Saturday nights).

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    KNOWN FOR

    • singles scene
    • dancing
    • craft beer
  • 5

    Rainbo Club

    During the week, the Rainbo effortlessly defends its reputation as a timeless, maroon-vinyl-boothed tribute to 1980s post-punk cooldom, luring generations of hipsters who know a legit dive when they smell one. Sadly, come Saturday nights, it’s a victim of its own geography: an untouchable icon whose Damen & Division address was once dodgy, and is now unfashionably yuppie. Still, it’s worth stopping in for a round, even if the cheap beer and cheaper liquor are more means to an end than anything else.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • singles scene
    • historic
  • 6

    Skylark

    The sister bar to Wicker Park’s Rainbo Club, Skylark is by far the coolest bar in Pilsen. It’s a timeless Chicago haunt: long wooden bar, cracked vinyl booths, faded linoleum, minimal lighting and questionable bathrooms. It all lends just enough charm to lure its patrons to stay longer than planned, aided by good music and solid crowd. There’s a better-than-average bar menu, too.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • cheap date
    • singles scene
    • bar food
    • craft beer
    • games
    • historic

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