Monday, November 05, 2007

Chicago's Greatest Dive Bars

Chicago is definitely a drinking town. It's hard to walk down any block without stumbling into some local bar. And there are a lot of quality dive bars. So in honor of the Wicker Park dive I discovered Saturday, called Rainbos, I present my favorite dive bars.

1 - Old Town Alehouse
Located across from Second City, this Old Town classic has been the home to many celebrities before they became famous. In fact, you can still find actor Michael Shannon frequently in this bar in his down time. The jukebox has a great jazz selection. The tap is always stocked with PBR and Old Style. And Johnny the bartender is always there to make you feel at home. Definitely my favorite bar and one of my favorite places in general.

2 - Jake's
A slightly more hipster dive bar but one of my favorites. The jukebox is loaded with classic indie tunes, which just adds to the ambience. There is a huge selection of beers. So while I might be fine with the PBR people in search of more "sophisticated" beers like Delerium will also be satisfied. To top it off, there have been some very hot bartenders, which is rare for a dive bar.

3 - Delilah's
Whether you go for punk rock on Mondays or old school country on Wednesdays, Delilah's just has a great vibe. Again, it can get a little hipster here for those people who only feel at home with the frat boy crowd. But I enjoy it. And it's the type of place that screams PBR. Doubt I've ever got anything besides while at Delilah's.

4 - Galway Bay
Ahhhh, Galway Bay. So many nights and so many memories. From the 3 Wisemen to the Ms Pac-Man to the yellow Legos to the Irish Car Bombs, Galway Bay has never let me down. Truely a great bar, though maybe not the most technically dive bar on the list. But since all the cool people would head next door to Yakzies and it is located below ground, I consider it a dive bar. And for this bar Guiness is my beer of choice.

5 - Lange's
There's just something to be said about a place where the bar is in the round, located in the middle of the bar. And it just feels like home. Where else can you make fun of the frat boy Cubs fans with the bartenders after home games? And with Cyrus working the door, always up for a shot of whiskey, well, it just feels like home.

6 - L&L
On some national lists as a top 10 dive bar, this bar is small and dark and non-descript. In some ways, it is the definition of a dive bar. Where else can you possibly get yelled at by the bartender for not tipping enough? Plus, it was involved in one of the funniest days of my life. But that's a story for some other time.

7 - Rainbos
Probably would be higher on my list if I had been there prior to Saturday. It helped that I was with some very fun people on Saturday. Still, I was slightly nervous when approaching. The outside is very sketchy and the inside is not much better. Rumor has it that the photo booth inside was used for a Liz Phair CD. I guess that's a plus. But what definitely is a plus is the $2 PBRs I can drink.

8 - Wrigleyville North
For the longest time we just referred to it as the corner bar. We actually did not think it had a name. It also comes with a country band made up of some older gentlemen. We would listen to those guys while having pitcher races. It does drop some spots now that I don't smoke. We could only last a few minutes last time we entered.

9 - Richocets
Not sure if this is truly a dive bar. But it's my favorite bar in my neighborhood. It's a little too bright but it has PBR on tap. I enjoy being able to sit down at the bar and enjoy a PBR. And this bar works.

10 - Carol's
I used to spend my Thursday nights singing karaoke at this place with Cheeseburger Charlie and Craig and whomever else. It was a blast! On the weekends there was a pretty kickass country band and dancing. Sure, it was slightly hipster hangout. But that doesn't mean it wasn't cool. Not sure why but I haven't been there in years. I really need to go back.

Just Missed - Long Room, Huettenbar, North Park Tap, Bucktown Pub, Old Town Pub, Green Door Tavern


*Chicago*dive bars*Tom G*Old Town Alehouse *Jake’s*Delilah’s*Lange’s *L&L*Ricochets*Wrigleyville North*Rainbos *Carol’s


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