Chicago is famous for its tavern culture and its vibrant community of dive bars. These unpretentious establishments have served as a welcome respite for generations of locals looking for a cheap drink or “third place” outside home and work for celebrations and commiserations. These local institutions now face immense challenges as a result of the pandemic — their close quarters are ill-suited to social distancing, and patrons who used to wile away the hours perched on a barstool now are limited to two-hour slots. The city has also prohibited bars that don’t serve food from serving alcohol indoors.
Still, dive bar owners who have the space and resources are working to give themselves a fighting chance by offering outdoor seating. Below, a list of Chicago dives that have open-air seats and more than enough Malört to go around.
A number of Chicago restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.Read More