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A small paved outdoor patio with tables and stools
Dive bars like Simon’s Tavern are setting up patios for outdoor service.
Naomi Waxman/Eater Chicago

Where to Find Dive Bars With Outdoor Seating in Chicago

Many of these local institutions are fighting for survival

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Dive bars like Simon’s Tavern are setting up patios for outdoor service.
| Naomi Waxman/Eater Chicago

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Simon's Tavern

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5210 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 878-0894
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Andersonville bar Simon’s Tavern, considered one of the best dives in the city, has returned with a smallish “glögg garden,” behind the bar. It’s equipped a handful of shaded tables and frozen glögg, a cold twist on the traditionally hot Scandinavian mulled drink.

2. Nisei Lounge

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3439 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 525-0557
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Wrigleyville’s delightfully no-frills bar Nisei Lounge has some picnic tables and umbrellas in back.

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Champions drink here.

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3. Reed's Local

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3017 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(872) 806-0520
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Avondale dive destination Reed’s Local has a small, secluded patio where customers can sip its popular “adult Capri-Sun” cocktails.

4. Liar’s Club

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1665 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

Allegedly haunted dive Liar’s Club near Lincoln Park and Bucktown is back open with an outdoor bar and picnic tables out back.

5. Neon Wilderness

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1270 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Wicker Park tavern Neon Wilderness rides the line between classic shot-and-beer bar and trendy cocktail lounge, and its outdoor patio reflects that ethos. It’s spare and somewhat spacious, but features string lights and a few plants.

6. Phyllis Musical Inn

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1800 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 486-9862
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The classic Ukrainian Village dive has opened its beer garden, which is nice enough to use even during non-pandemic circumstances. It’s a private space that neighbors the bar.

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1. Price of a beer - $2.50 for a can of Hamm’s, top notch with the current situation ✅ 2. Bar Staff – Top fella working on his todd, great chat and even dishing out some free shots of Mitch! ✅ 3. Carpet – Na no carpet. Don’t think I’m gonna stumble across any in a beer garden. Did have a look inside when I used the pisser and couldn’t see any ❌ 4. Toilets – Does the job. Some nutty Irish fella had taken a massive pony before I went in, but the gaff can’t control that ✅ 5. Free pub grub – Free ice cream sandwich, beautiful. First time I’d had one of them, ice cream all over me boat ✅ 6. Cash only – Yes, only takes the sausage. Good stuff ✅ 7. Juke box – Some proper old school 90s radio on blast in the garden. The geezer behind the ramp said he wants to get some live music going in a few weeks ✅ 8. Pool table/ Darts – Never saw either when I popped inside. Does have a couple arcade games and basketball hoop outside ❌ 9. Hours –‪ Not quite sure when the boozer opens but it’s currently shutting at 11 with the lockdown. Later than most places I’ve been to be fair‬ ✅ 10. Punters – Seemed like a lot of locals, hard to have any rabbit shouting across the social distance tables ✅ Overall – This was a cracking find, no issue getting a table on a hot Sunday afternoon. Gonna be spending a lot of time here. Cheap as chips, top bar man. What more do you want? - 8️⃣.2️⃣/ . . . . #divebarsofchicago #divebar #phyllismusicalinn #chicago #geezer #divebarchicago #cheapaschips #wickerpark #lockdown

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7. GOLD STAR BAR

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1755 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 227-8700
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A recent ownership change brought tweaks to this dive bar. It’s reopened with a new sidewalk patio off Division Street.

8. Innertown Pub

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1935 W Thomas St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-9795
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Ukrainian Village’s Innertown Pub ultimately prevailed in its fight for a backyard patio and now has a mellow space for customers to sip cheap beers.

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1. Simon's Tavern

5210 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

Andersonville bar Simon’s Tavern, considered one of the best dives in the city, has returned with a smallish “glögg garden,” behind the bar. It’s equipped a handful of shaded tables and frozen glögg, a cold twist on the traditionally hot Scandinavian mulled drink.

5210 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640

2. Nisei Lounge

3439 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Wrigleyville’s delightfully no-frills bar Nisei Lounge has some picnic tables and umbrellas in back.

3439 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

3. Reed's Local

3017 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Avondale dive destination Reed’s Local has a small, secluded patio where customers can sip its popular “adult Capri-Sun” cocktails.

3017 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

4. Liar’s Club

1665 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Allegedly haunted dive Liar’s Club near Lincoln Park and Bucktown is back open with an outdoor bar and picnic tables out back.

1665 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

5. Neon Wilderness

1270 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Wicker Park tavern Neon Wilderness rides the line between classic shot-and-beer bar and trendy cocktail lounge, and its outdoor patio reflects that ethos. It’s spare and somewhat spacious, but features string lights and a few plants.

1270 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

6. Phyllis Musical Inn

1800 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

The classic Ukrainian Village dive has opened its beer garden, which is nice enough to use even during non-pandemic circumstances. It’s a private space that neighbors the bar.

1800 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

7. GOLD STAR BAR

1755 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

A recent ownership change brought tweaks to this dive bar. It’s reopened with a new sidewalk patio off Division Street.

1755 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Innertown Pub

1935 W Thomas St, Chicago, IL 60622

Ukrainian Village’s Innertown Pub ultimately prevailed in its fight for a backyard patio and now has a mellow space for customers to sip cheap beers.

1935 W Thomas St
Chicago, IL 60622

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