The Bars of Lincoln Park & Wrigleyville!
Nightlife Guide To These Top Chicago Party Spots
You never know who – or what – you might run into partying in Chicago.
By Chicago Native Coleen Nielsen
The Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville areas are home to Chicago's yuppie population as well as the Cubs. People here know how to party and there are a lot of great bars in both of these areas.
Unless you like to torture yourself, don't drive to either of these areas. There are no parking garages and street parking is mostly by permit. Take a cab instead (or the "el" if it's daytime). Once in the area, most bars are within walking distance of one other.
In Lincoln Park, most of the bars are located on Lincoln Street. It has everything from sports bars to dance clubs.
Joe's on Weed Street is Pub Club's vote for Best Sports Bar in Chicago. Catering specifically to sports fans, its absolutely huge and even a beer garden with TVs, so people can sit outside and catch the games. By dark, local bands entertain the crowd and there is a large stage area so everyone is not crammed on top of each other. A note to women: This bar attracts a lot of single men and is a great place to meet 'normal' guys who just want to go out and have a few beers.
Crobar is just around the corner from Joe's. This place used to get a lot of attention when the city's favorite bad boy, Dennis Rodman, played for the Bulls. When he wasn't hanging time,he was hanging out at Crobar. It has everything from drag queens (hey, wait a minute; maybe he is still here) to suburbanites. The DJs play all the hottest club music and the dance floor is jam-packed. Sunday is gay night and attracts a great crowd.
Glow (1615 N. Clybourne) is a sexy little club where people go to be seen. The bar is a two-level loft and the music is always great. For progressive and classic house music, stop by Fuse (738 N. Clark).
The fishbowl-sized drinks at Bamboo Bernies bite like a barracuda.
Bamboo Bernie's is a great tropical bar where people indulge in drinks served in fish bowls. Be careful though: they bite!!
Across the street from Bernie's is the Big Nasty. This is quite possibly the most creative club in Chicago. It is a two-level bar. On the first level the bar stools have been removed and replaced with swings where 24-ounce bottles of beer are served and silly string is sold. Upstairs is a dance club. A lot of bachelorettes celebrate their last night of freedom here by doing the "big nasty" on the dance floor.
John Barleycorn is a great hangout with a lot of history. Built in 1890, it was originally owned and operated by an Irish immigrant named John Barleycorn who moonlighted as a Chicago cop. John Dillinger frequented the place during the '20s when it was operated as a speakeasy. Now it's an atmospheric pub that plays classical music, shows art slides on screens around the bar and displays a collection of handmade ship models. Be sure and check out the outdoor patio where there are waterfalls on the wall.
This area of Lincoln Park holds a lot of history and is where Al Capone and all the mobsters of the Roaring 20s ran their businesses. Watch out for Al Capone at John Barleycorn, a former speakeasy!
Irish Eyes gets our vote for Best Place for a Pint of Guinness. It's music is courtesy of a loveable old Irishman named Whitey O'Day whose drinking songs whip the fun crows into a sing-along frenzy.
Waterloo is also a favorite PubClub hangout. The bartenders are very nice and there are usually local bands on the weekends.
Gin Mill is a sports bar that gets packed on Saturday afternoons in the fall with people watching college football games. Gamekeepers also attracts sports fans and those who avoid the dance clubs. Bordo's is a trendy little hangout that serves up some delicious bar food. Not just your typical burgers and chicken either; it has trendy California-style appetizers to share among a group.
For those into the goethe scene – the punk look is alive and well in Chicago – a stop at Delila's is required. It has one of the largest selections of hard liquor in the city. Be sure and check out the upstairs bar.
DeJa Vu is the late-night hangout for those who enjoy singing along to a bit of retro after a long night of drinking. Katakomb is another great late-night bar and lives up to it's name. The decor of this place is very cool and worth the wait to get inside.
Good Bar also lives up to it's simple name and gets packed Thursday through Saturday. It has more of a laid-back casual crowd. On Friday nights, Jack Sullivan's (2147 Clybourne) is the place to go. The place is hoppin' with loads of single men looking for a date for the weekend.
For a taste of Chicago Blues, Kingston Mines on Halsted has wide variety of local and national acts on stage every night of the week.
Cubbies fans love hanging out in Wrigleyville.
America's Best Ballpark is Wrigley Field.
The best time to hang out in Wrigleyville is before and after Cubs games. It's one giant party from three hours before the game until three hours after the final out.
Wrigley Field has been called the largest singles bar in Chicago and the bars in the area have that same reputation.
Before the game, Murphy's Bleachers is packed with people preparing themselves for the worst (a Cubs loss) or getting a head start to celebrate the impossible (a Cubs win). It is a huge indoor/outdoor bar and is the place to scalp tickets if the game is sold out.
The Captain Morgan bar is another pre-game party spot and it gives you a stamp to go in and out of the game, too.
The most notorious bar is the Cubby Bear directly across the street from the main entrance of Wrigley Field. After games, the entire Bleacher section wind up here. The DJ plays all the crowd favorites and there is a video cam which broadcasts the craziness of the dance floor to the others in the bar across the TV screens. This is a very diversified crowd ranging in age from 21 to 75. Its' a guaranteed good time and a trip to a Cubs game is not complete without a stop at the Cubby Bear. On weekends, its usually showcases local bands after the Cubs fans have left the area.
Another after-game spot is Bernie's.
Sluggers is the other big hangout after the games. It plays Top 40 hits from the past 20 years and the crowd can get pretty crazy.
High Tops is a favorite among the locals all year 'round. The dance floor usually gets pretty nuts and people will start dancing on top of tables with the slightest of encouragement.
It's a bit offbeat, but the best souvenirs in Wrigleyville are the pens at the Wrigleyville Tap. The bar is a dive, but the pens say "Stolen from Wrigleyville Tap," on them, which makes for interesting conversations back home.
A great Saturday night hang spot is Redmond's. There is a small outdoor patio that is awesome for people-watching. This bar has great bartenders and a lot of regulars.