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© The Chicago Bar Project   Written by Sean Parnell

Best Chicago Bars of 2009

Best of Chicago Bars 2009

Drum Roll, Please:

Best Bar By Locale:

Best Bar By Type:


Best Chicago Bar

  1. Hopleaf Bar largest tap beer selection and best mussels in Chicagoland
  2. Duke of Perth proving once again that if it's not a Scottish pub, it's crap!
  3. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge – top-notch jazz in Al Capone's old hangout
  4. Sheffield's Wine & Beer Garden – popular beer garden, brews, barbecue & RUI
  5. Kuma's Corner – legendary burgers and mac & cheese with an intriguing beer list

Honorable Mention: Touch iBar – an experiment in interactive meat market technology

Best Downtown Bar

  1. Miller's Pub
  2. 17 West at the Berghoff
  3. Gage
  4. Elephant & Castle
  5. Brando's Speakeasy

Best Near West Bar

  1. Beer Bistro
  2. Stanley's Kitchen & Tap on Racine
  3. Lumen
  4. Bottom Lounge
  5. Fulton Lounge

Best Near South Bar

  1. Schaller's Pump (Bridgeport)
  2. Jazz Showcase (Printers Row)
  3. Skylark (Pilsen)
  4. Bullpen Bar (Comiskey Park)
  5. Hackney's (Printers Row)

Best River North – Magnificent Mile Bar

  1. Billy Goat Tavern
  2. Redhead Piano Bar
  3. Signature Lounge
  4. Pops for Champagne
  5. English

Best Gold Coast Bar

  1. Butch McGuire's
  2. Zebra Lounge
  3. Underground Wonder Bar
  4. BackRoom
  5. Trader Vic's

Best River West – Goose Island Bar – Noble Square Bar

  1. Emmit's Pub
  2. Twisted Spoke
  3. Matchbox
  4. Chipp Inn
  5. Red Canary

Best Ukrainian Village – Humboldt Park Bar

  1. Empty Bottle
  2. Old Oak Tap
  3. California Clipper
  4. Rainbo Club
  5. Inner Town Pub

Best Wicker Park Bar

  1. Double Door
  2. Club Lucky
  3. Violet Hour
  4. Smoke Daddy
  5. Handlebar

Best Bucktown Bar

  1. Hideout
  2. Quenchers Saloon
  3. Map Room
  4. Gallery Cabaret
  5. Charleston

Best Logan Square – Avondale Bar

  1. Kuma's Corner
  2. Chief O'Neill's Restaurant & Pub
  3. Mutiny
  4. Orbit Room
  5. Whirlaway

Best Old Town Bar

  1. Twin Anchors
  2. Olde Town Ale House
  3. Fireplace Inn
  4. Bricks
  5. Corcoran's

Best Lincoln Park Bar

  1. John Barleycorn's Memorial Pub
  2. Goose Island Brew Pub
  3. Webster's Wine Bar
  4. Stanley's Kitchen & Tap
  5. Sterch's

Best Lakeview Bar

  1. Duke of Perth
  2. Southport Lanes & Billiards
  3. Toons
  4. Cullen's
  5. Lincoln Tap Room

Best Wrigleyville Bar

  1. Wrigley Field
  2. Irish Oak
  3. Gingerman
  4. Murphy's Bleachers
  5. Guthries Tavern

Best North Center – Lincoln Square Bar

  1. Chicago Brauhaus
  2. Lashet's Inn
  3. Resi's Bierstube
  4. Chicago Joe's
  5. Grafton Pub & Grill

Best Andersonville Bar

  1. Hopleaf Bar
  2. Simon's Tavern
  3. Edgewater Lounge
  4. Ravenswood Pub
  5. Marty's Wine & Martini Bar

Best Far North & Northwest Side Bar

  1. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  2. Moody's Pub
  3. Heartland Café
  4. Candlelite Chicago
  5. Cunneen's

Best Suburban Bar

  1. Hala Kahiki (River Grove)
  2. Tommy Nevin's Pub (Evanston)
  3. Pete Miller's (Evanston)
  4. Walter Payton's Roundhouse & America's Brewpub (Aurora)
  5. FitzGerald's (Berwyn)

Best Anglophile Pub

  1. Duke of Perth
  2. Elephant & Castle
  3. Globe Pub
  4. Moody's Pub
  5. Ole St. Andrew's Inn

Best Bar Brunch

  1. Stanley's Kitchen & Tap
  2. Duffy's Tavern Grille
  3. Four Moon Tavern
  4. Twisted Spoke
  5. Kuma's Corner

Best Bar Tradition

  1. Goose Island Brew Pub – MBA program (Master's of Beer Appreciation)
  2. Kingston Mines – two alternating blues acts from 9pm to 3am (4am Sat)
  3. Big Joe's 2 & 6 Pub – Friday night turtle races
  4. Ravenswood Pub – Thursday night Rock-Paper-Scissors tournaments
  5. Southport Lanes – beer pong takes over the pool tables on Thursday nights

Best Barbeque

  1. Twin Anchors
  2. Gale Street Inn
  3. Miller's Pub
  4. Smoke Daddy
  5. Chicago Joe's

Honorable Mention: not a bar but the best Chicago barbecue at Smoque requires a listing

Best Beer Garden

  1. Wrigley Field
  2. Castaways
  3. Mickey's
  4. Moody's Pub
  5. Kirkwood

Best Rooftop Beer Garden

  1. Roof
  2. ZED451
  3. Vertigo Sky Lounge
  4. Citizen Bar
  5. Pegasus Restaurant & Taverna

Best Beer Selection

  1. Hopleaf Bar (308)
  2. Map Room (277)
  3. Quenchers (254)
  4. Twisted Spoke (190)
  5. Beer Bistro (136)

Best Blues Joint

  1. B.L.U.E.S.
  2. Kingston Mines
  3. Rosa's Lounge
  4. Buddy Guy's Legends
  5. New Checkerboard Lounge

Honorable Mention: Lee's Unleaded Blues, one of the last old-school South Side joints

Best Booze Selection

  1. Twisted Spoke – no less than 318 types of whiskey, half-price on Wednesdays
  2. Delilah's – more bourbon than you can shake a stick at
  3. Duke of Perth – 77 types of single-malt Scotch
  4. Five Star 102 types of whiskey, bourbon & single-malt Scotch
  5. Salud – 80 types of tequila

Best Burger

  1. Kuma's Corner – not only the best, but with death metal and the best mac & cheese to boot
  2. Moody's Pub – "Moody Bleu"
  3. Hackney's – the "Hackneyburger"
  4. Billy Goat Tavern – "Cheezborger! Cheezborger! DOUBLECHEEZ!!!"
  5. Twisted Spoke – "Fatboy"

Best Christmas Pubs

  1. Butch McGuire's
  2. Cork & Kerry
  3. Miller's Pub
  4. Marie's Riptide
  5. Simon's Tavern

Best Cocktail Lounge

  1. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  2. Violet Hour
  3. Red Canary
  4. Chaise Lounge
  5. Coq d'Or (Drake Hotel)

Best Dive Bar

  1. Weeds Tavern
  2. Simon's Tavern
  3. Old Town Ale House
  4. Crabbby Kim's Bikini Bar
  5. Billy Goat Tavern

Best Fireplace

  1. Fireplace Inn
  2. Moody's Pub
  3. Fireside Restaurant & Lounge
  4. Wilde Bar & Restaurant
  5. Reagle Beagle

Best Folk Music

  1. Old Town School of Folk Music
  2. Hideout
  3. Abbey Pub
  4. Martyrs'
  5. Schuba's Tavern

Best Former Speakeasy

  1. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  2. Club Lucky
  3. Twin Anchors
  4. Rainbo Club
  5. Green Door Tavern

Best German Bar

  1. Chicago Brauhaus
  2. Resi's Bierstube
  3. Mirabell Restaurant & Lounge
  4. Laschet's Inn
  5. Huettenbar

Best Haunted Bar

  1. Webster's Wine Bar
  2. California Clipper
  3. Gold Star Bar
  4. Excalibur Nightclub
  5. Edgewater Lounge

Best Irish Pub

  1. Irish Oak
  2. Mystic Celt
  3. Tommy Nevin's (Evanston)
  4. Cullen's
  5. Chief O'Neill's Pub & Restaurant

Best Jazz Club

  1. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  2. Jazz Showcase
  3. Andy's Jazz Club
  4. Pops for Champagne
  5. BackRoom

Best Late-Night Bar

  1. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  2. Marie's Riptide
  3. Redhead Piano Bar
  4. Underground Wonder Bar
  5. Carol's Pub

Best Literary Pub

  1. Woodlawn Tap
  2. Lottie's Pub
  3. Danny's Tavern
  4. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  5. Sheffield's Beer & Wine Garden

Best Neighborhood Joint

  1. Old Towne Ale House
  2. Schaller's Pump
  3. Sterch's
  4. Gingerman
  5. Charleston

Best Nightclub with Contributor Cindy Kim

  1. Enclave
  2. Lumen
  3. Sound-Bar
  4. Bon V
  5. Neo

Best Piano Bar

  1. Redhead Piano Bar
  2. Zebra Lounge
  3. Underground Wonder Bar
  4. Hugo's Frog Bar
  5. Davenport's

Best Place to See a Cover Band

  1. Joe's Sports Bar & Grill
  2. Cubby Bear
  3. McDunna's
  4. Uncle Fatty's
  5. Castaways

Best Place to See a Fight

  1. Kincade's
  2. Liar's Club
  3. Wrigley Field
  4. Big City Tap
  5. Zella

Best Pool

  1. Southport Lanes & Billiards
  2. Seven Ten Lounge
  3. City Pool Hall
  4. G-Cue Billiards
  5. Dave & Buster's on Clark

Best Pub Game

  1. Turtle Racing: Big Joe's 2 & 6 Pub
  2. Bocce Ball: Cody's
  3. Cornhole: Joe's Bar on Weed Street, John Barleycorn Memorial Pub and Weeds Tavern
  4. Shufflepuck: Toons and Wellington Tap
  5. Board Games: Guthrie's Tavern, Beachwood Inn, Blue Frog, Patsy's Place, Other Side

Best Pub Grub

  1. Kuma's Corner
  2. Bricks
  3. Gage
  4. Twin Anchors
  5. Buffalo Wild Wings

Best Rock/Alternative Music

  1. Empty Bottle
  2. Hideout
  3. Double Door
  4. Elbo Room
  5. Beat Kitchen

Best Slam Poetry

  1. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  2. Weeds Tavern
  3. Funky Buddha Lounge
  4. Estelle's Café & Pub
  5. Trace

Best Sports Bar

  1. Joe's on Weed Street
  2. Casey Moran's
  3. Red Ivy
  4. ESPN Zone
  5. State Restaurant & Café

Best Sunday Night Bar

  1. Stanley's Kitchen & Tap
  2. Cullen's
  3. Long Room
  4. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  5. Double Door

Biggest Tourist Trap

  1. Howl at the Moon
  2. Blue Chicago
  3. House of Blues
  4. Kingston Mines
  5. Dick's Last Resort

Farthest Back in Time

  1. Schaller's Pump – oldest bar in Chicago
  2. Marge's Still
  3. 17 West at the Berghoff
  4. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
  5. Kasey's Tavern

Funkiest Bar/Club

  1. Liar's Club
  2. Funky Buddha Lounge
  3. Delilah's
  4. Neo
  5. Hungry Brain

Most Fun Cheeseball Palace

  1. Hangge Uppe
  2. Irish Eyes
  3. Burwood Tap
  4. Butch McGuire's
  5. Marie's Riptide

Most Underrated Beer Garden

  1. Resi's Bierstube – Chicago's oldest beer garden
  2. Twisted Spoke
  3. Southport City Saloon
  4. Weeds Tavern
  5. Happy Village Pub

Most Underrated or Unknown Bar

  1. Quencher's
  2. Toons
  3. Edgewater Lounge
  4. Ten Cat
  5. Half Shell

Most Unique Bar

  1. Signature Lounge Hancock Building
  2. Billy Goat Tavern – Cubs curse, Mike Royko hang, Saturday Night Live
  3. Castaways – the boathouse at North Beach... in the shape of a boat
  4. Silver Palm – train car
  5. Roof – popular 27th floor rooftop lounge with a suspended, glass-enclosed "Hangover" table

Smallest Bar

  1. Matchbox
  2. Zebra Lounge
  3. Dram Shop
  4. Half Shell
  5. Matisse

Weirdest Crowd

  1. Friar Tuck
  2. Clark Street Dog Bar
  3. Delilah's
  4. Charleston
  5. Dram Shop

Bars We Miss the Most

  1. Playboy Club
  2. Red Lion Pub
  3. Brother Jimmy's
  4. Lounge Ax
  5. Bamboo Bernie's

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