clock menu more-arrow no yes
The Barrelhouse Flat mixes up great drinks past 2 a.m.
Facebook

Chicago’s 13 Essential Late-Night Bars, Mapped

For when it’s 2 a.m. and it’s not bedtime yet

View as Map
The Barrelhouse Flat mixes up great drinks past 2 a.m.
| Facebook

The city that works often works late, and those workers need a place to go blow off steam after midnight. Chicagoans are fortunate as a select number of bars are granted late-night liquor licenses so they can serve alcohol until 4 a.m. six days a week and until 5 a.m. as Saturday turns to Sunday.

Now, city officials are reluctant to hand out these licenses. The bar owner is vetted, and aldermen with clout make their cases why a late-night drinking establishment would be good for their district. It’s also worth noting that most late-night bars are on the North Side or downtown.

But all most people want to do is keep the party going after most bars call last call. So check out these picks for the late-night bars in Chicago, and sound off in the comments if your favorite isn’t included. The bars are listed geographically by west to east.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Owl

Copy Link
2521 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 235-5300
Visit Website

Logan Square has several wonderful bars, but this cavernous dive—the middle sibling from the group behind Estelle’s in Wicker Park and Remedy in Bucktown—features potent drinks and a dance party erupting in the back every weekend.

The Owl
The Owl

2. The Continental

Copy Link
2801 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 292-1200
Visit Website

The cool kids and industry frequent this two-level bar with a large back patio on the quiet corner of Chicago and California in Humboldt Park. DJs spin edgy tunes and bartenders serve beers and simple mixed drinks. This is where to go when drinkers are sick of pop music, bros, and trixies.

The Continental
Four Square

3. Hidden Cove

Copy Link
5338 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 275-6711
Visit Website

One of the longest-running karaoke bars in the city, Hidden Cove is a North Side neighborhood bar through and through that invites guests to belt out a tune into the wee hours of the night. Don’t look for anything complicated drink-wise, just enough to keep the party going.

Hidden Cove
Hidden Cove
Yelp

4. Estelle's

Copy Link
2013 W North Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 782-0450
Visit Website

A Wicker Park stalwart on North Avenue just west of the Damen and Milwaukee nexus, Estelle’s is a tiny, dark little bar with surprisingly decent greasy food cooked on a little griddle and fryer behind the bar, though late-night food isn’t their forte. It’s a tight squeeze, so try to lockdown one of the booths in the back of the bar. The jukebox is solid if patrons have the patience and endurance to wait for their song, TVs show throwback movies in lieu of sports, and cheap drink deals are aplenty.

Estelle's
Estelle’s
Facebook

5. Exit

Copy Link
1315 W North Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 395-2700
Visit Website

Punk rockers and goth kids rely on Exit, one of the most-beloved and sometimes misunderstood bars in Chicago. The neighborhood is probably still considered Lincoln Park, but unlike other sports in that ‘hood there are few Big Ten grads sporting garb inside. The first floor is more laid-back, where patrons bob their heads to tunes from Fugazi and other punk bands of that ilk. Upstairs is where visitors unleash their dance moves. The secret is Exit is friendlier than you think — just don’t be a jerk about it.

The Exit
Facebook

6. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

Copy Link
4802 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL
(773) 878-5552
Visit Website

Chicago’s most legendary jazz bar is where Al Capone used to hang out in Uptown. Green Mill is one of the loveliest Chicago bars with a beautiful bar that stretches from east to west in addition to historic art deco sculptures, fixtures, and an iconic neon sign beckoning. Live jazz bands perform most of the time, giving night owls a unique option after 2 a.m.

Green Mill Green Mill

7. Smart Bar

Copy Link
3730 N Clark St
Chicago, IL
(773) 549-0203
Visit Website

The bar that neighbors the Metro, the popular concert venue in Wrigleyville/Lakeview, promises Chicagoans something different each and every night. It’s a popular club for industry members, as guests can take a circular walk through the dance floor and scout the location for new friends. And if you’re lucky the night’s act from the Metro will be hanging out. Just beware the cover charge.

Smart Bar
Yelp

8. The Barrelhouse Flat

Copy Link
2624 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL
(773) 857-0421
Visit Website

Sometimes a shot and beer just doesn’t do it. Barrelhouse Flat in Lincoln Park goes beyond with many impressive craft cocktails to begin or cap a great night out. Mixologist types will be in heaven, as is undoubtably one of Chicago’s best cocktail bars, which is rare for a late-night spot. There’s also food until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Barrelhouse Flat
The Barrelhouse Flat
Facebook

9. Kingston Mines

Copy Link
2548 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL
(773) 477-4646
Visit Website

While Chicago has plenty of other places to listen to blues—especially on the South Side, which many consider the birthplace of electric blues—Kingston Mines near DePaul/Lincoln Park provides an accessible jumping-off point for folks new to the musical genre. It also sells barbecue and crispy French fries for great drinking food, and multiple stages provide a unique experience regardless of the hour.

The music at Kingston Mines keeps the party going.
Facebook

10. Old Town Ale House

Copy Link
219 W North Ave
Chicago, IL
(312) 944-7020
Visit Website

A variety of characters fill-up longtime favorite Old Town Ale House, which opened in 1958 on North Avenue, as the bar has remained the same as the neighborhood gentrified. Check out the obscene, yet corny paintings that decorate the dive, which is a favorite of Anthony Bourdain and packed with true Chicagoans willing to chat up Second City patrons and pretty much anyone.

Old Town Ale House
Yelp

11. Celeste

Copy Link
111 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL
(312) 828-9000
Visit Website

Late night doesn’t mean spending time inside a dive. Celeste on River North’s nightlife-heavy Hubbard Street strip brings sophistication to the 4 a.m genre, keeping the “craft cocktail supper club” open after the rest of Hubbard Street shuts down. Four beautiful floors offer four experiences: a laid-back bar with great cocktails (first floor), a 20s-inspired art deco supper club with full dinner until late (second floor), a 70s-inspired nightclub (third floor), and a rooftop garden.

Celeste
Marc Much

12. Clark Street Ale House

Copy Link
742 N Clark St
Chicago, IL
(312) 642-9253
Visit Website

Craft beer lovers have a great place to hang out until the early morning at the Clark Street Ale House in River North. The bar even has hand-pulled beer pumps for cask-conditioned beer. It’s a great place for a barrel-aged night cap.

Clark Street Ale House
Yelp

13. Boss Bar

Copy Link
420 N Clark St
Chicago, IL
(312) 527-1203
Visit Website

This infamous River North bar recently underwent a face-lift in 2014, expanding with more seating and a new kitchen. It’s been around since 1987 and is an everyman bar that harkens back to the days when the area was much sketchier. Also a solid happy hour spot for basic mixed drinks and domestic brews — named after Mayor Richard J. Daley’s nickname that’s immortalized in Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko’s famous biography <i>Boss</i>—Boss Bar draws a variety of folks from office workers to local politicians.

The Boss Bar
Facebook

1. The Owl

2521 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
The Owl
The Owl

Logan Square has several wonderful bars, but this cavernous dive—the middle sibling from the group behind Estelle’s in Wicker Park and Remedy in Bucktown—features potent drinks and a dance party erupting in the back every weekend.

2521 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL

2. The Continental

2801 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
The Continental
Four Square

The cool kids and industry frequent this two-level bar with a large back patio on the quiet corner of Chicago and California in Humboldt Park. DJs spin edgy tunes and bartenders serve beers and simple mixed drinks. This is where to go when drinkers are sick of pop music, bros, and trixies.

2801 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL

3. Hidden Cove

5338 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL
Hidden Cove
Hidden Cove
Yelp

One of the longest-running karaoke bars in the city, Hidden Cove is a North Side neighborhood bar through and through that invites guests to belt out a tune into the wee hours of the night. Don’t look for anything complicated drink-wise, just enough to keep the party going.

5338 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL

4. Estelle's

2013 W North Ave, Chicago, IL
Estelle's
Estelle’s
Facebook

A Wicker Park stalwart on North Avenue just west of the Damen and Milwaukee nexus, Estelle’s is a tiny, dark little bar with surprisingly decent greasy food cooked on a little griddle and fryer behind the bar, though late-night food isn’t their forte. It’s a tight squeeze, so try to lockdown one of the booths in the back of the bar. The jukebox is solid if patrons have the patience and endurance to wait for their song, TVs show throwback movies in lieu of sports, and cheap drink deals are aplenty.

2013 W North Ave
Chicago, IL

5. Exit

1315 W North Ave, Chicago, IL
The Exit
Facebook

Punk rockers and goth kids rely on Exit, one of the most-beloved and sometimes misunderstood bars in Chicago. The neighborhood is probably still considered Lincoln Park, but unlike other sports in that ‘hood there are few Big Ten grads sporting garb inside. The first floor is more laid-back, where patrons bob their heads to tunes from Fugazi and other punk bands of that ilk. Upstairs is where visitors unleash their dance moves. The secret is Exit is friendlier than you think — just don’t be a jerk about it.

1315 W North Ave
Chicago, IL

6. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

4802 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL
Green Mill Green Mill

Chicago’s most legendary jazz bar is where Al Capone used to hang out in Uptown. Green Mill is one of the loveliest Chicago bars with a beautiful bar that stretches from east to west in addition to historic art deco sculptures, fixtures, and an iconic neon sign beckoning. Live jazz bands perform most of the time, giving night owls a unique option after 2 a.m.

4802 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL

7. Smart Bar

3730 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
Smart Bar
Yelp

The bar that neighbors the Metro, the popular concert venue in Wrigleyville/Lakeview, promises Chicagoans something different each and every night. It’s a popular club for industry members, as guests can take a circular walk through the dance floor and scout the location for new friends. And if you’re lucky the night’s act from the Metro will be hanging out. Just beware the cover charge.

3730 N Clark St
Chicago, IL

8. The Barrelhouse Flat

2624 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL
Barrelhouse Flat
The Barrelhouse Flat
Facebook

Sometimes a shot and beer just doesn’t do it. Barrelhouse Flat in Lincoln Park goes beyond with many impressive craft cocktails to begin or cap a great night out. Mixologist types will be in heaven, as is undoubtably one of Chicago’s best cocktail bars, which is rare for a late-night spot. There’s also food until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

2624 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL

9. Kingston Mines

2548 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL
The music at Kingston Mines keeps the party going.
Facebook

While Chicago has plenty of other places to listen to blues—especially on the South Side, which many consider the birthplace of electric blues—Kingston Mines near DePaul/Lincoln Park provides an accessible jumping-off point for folks new to the musical genre. It also sells barbecue and crispy French fries for great drinking food, and multiple stages provide a unique experience regardless of the hour.

2548 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL

10. Old Town Ale House

219 W North Ave, Chicago, IL
Old Town Ale House
Yelp

A variety of characters fill-up longtime favorite Old Town Ale House, which opened in 1958 on North Avenue, as the bar has remained the same as the neighborhood gentrified. Check out the obscene, yet corny paintings that decorate the dive, which is a favorite of Anthony Bourdain and packed with true Chicagoans willing to chat up Second City patrons and pretty much anyone.

219 W North Ave
Chicago, IL

11. Celeste

111 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL
Celeste
Marc Much

Late night doesn’t mean spending time inside a dive. Celeste on River North’s nightlife-heavy Hubbard Street strip brings sophistication to the 4 a.m genre, keeping the “craft cocktail supper club” open after the rest of Hubbard Street shuts down. Four beautiful floors offer four experiences: a laid-back bar with great cocktails (first floor), a 20s-inspired art deco supper club with full dinner until late (second floor), a 70s-inspired nightclub (third floor), and a rooftop garden.

111 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL

12. Clark Street Ale House

742 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
Clark Street Ale House
Yelp

Craft beer lovers have a great place to hang out until the early morning at the Clark Street Ale House in River North. The bar even has hand-pulled beer pumps for cask-conditioned beer. It’s a great place for a barrel-aged night cap.

742 N Clark St
Chicago, IL

13. Boss Bar

420 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
The Boss Bar
Facebook

This infamous River North bar recently underwent a face-lift in 2014, expanding with more seating and a new kitchen. It’s been around since 1987 and is an everyman bar that harkens back to the days when the area was much sketchier. Also a solid happy hour spot for basic mixed drinks and domestic brews — named after Mayor Richard J. Daley’s nickname that’s immortalized in Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko’s famous biography <i>Boss</i>—Boss Bar draws a variety of folks from office workers to local politicians.

420 N Clark St
Chicago, IL

Related Maps