Rush & Division Bars
Happing Hot Spot Has The Best Bar In America After 2 A.M.
The Lodge is where Chicagoans go for thier late-night partying.
Right off the Magnificent Mile are several swanky bars and restaurants located in what is known as the Gold Coast area. This is where Chicago's rich and famous live and play.
But this is Chicago, not L.A., so those neither rich or famous will not feel out of place here. There are a lot of great bars in the area and everything is within walking distance. Drinks and dinner are a bit more expensive than in other parts of town, but all types of of interesting people come here, making it one of Chicago's most scenic scenes.
Here's a look at the best bars in what is known as Chicago's Gold Coast area (not to be confused with Australia's Gold Coast, of course!).
A good place to begin is the Signature Room Lounge at the top of the John Hancock Building. The view is the best in the city and the atmosphere is as soothing as a massage. The bar area is small and there is often a wait for window seats, but it provides an unforgettable drinking experience.
Although a restaurant, Club Macanudo is a great place to have a few drinks and smoke a few cigars before hitting the town. It has the best selection of cigars in Chicago. This is a very upscale establishment, so dress accordingly.
Right up the street is Whiskey Bar which is owned by Cindy Crawford's husband. This place is exclusive to VIPs so most people are only able to check out the action as they pass by the door.
Harry's Velvet Room is a fashionably trendy place where a lot of single people mingle over martinis. It's a very dark and romantic bar with great music.
Before martinis were the cool drink among Generation X, the Martini Ranch (311 W. Chicago) was shakin' up cocktails for the locals for decades. This is another great place to pre-party and gets our vote as Best Martini Bar in Chicago.
Follow the yellow brick road in Ruby Slipper into the Land of Oz. This bar has a Wizard of Oz theme and plays great house music and acid jazz.
The tri-level and bustling Hunt Club is one of Chicago's best night spots.
Pub Club's vote for one of the best bars in the city is Hunt Club (1100 N. State). It is located in an area that is in the middle of some of the city's finer restaurants. There is great people-watching in this busy alcove. On nights when the White Sox are not playing, star player Frank Thomas is usually seen having a few drinks at the bar.
The Hunt Club is a three-level bar with a dance floor upstairs and pool tables in the basement. The main level serves food and has more of a sports bar feel to it. There is always a great crowd and everyone is very friendly.
Rush and Division
Rush and Division has cool bars, traditional spots and hot clubs.
Traditionally, Division Street has been where the suburbanites and tourists always hung out because there were 15 bars within a two-block stretch. Eventually, the tourists won out, the locals having retreated to the friendlier confines of other areas.
Lately, however, Rush and Division has experienced a rebirth. New, trendy bars have joined the traditional haunts and a lot of locals are revisiting the area and finding it quite fun. There is something for everyone here, which makes Division Street the place to go for large groups. Only the trendier bars have a cover charge, so people can freely roam from place to place and pick their favorites.
There are the traditional places such as Mother's and Shenanigans, but the real fun is at the newer clubs.
The best place to start is P.J. Clarke's. It's crowded nearly every night of the week and is SRO after work on Fridays, filled with young and professional patrons.
BAR Chicago will remind you of the best frat party you ever attended. Girls are dancing on the bars to party songs from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Expect to hear everything from Rick Springfield to Guns N Roses. The bar is small and it gets very crowded, but guests are guaranteed to have a blast and relive those carefree college-age days.
Right next door is the Leg Room, which is very trendy and has lots of funky lounge furniture. There is a good mix of people and they are definitely here to people-watch and hook up.
The Lodge (21 W. Division) is a Chicago tradition. Looking somewhat like a ski lodge, it is a favorite haunt of longtime barflies and frequent Chicago visitors, many of whom don't arrive until 2 or 3 in the morning because it stays open until 5 on weekends. That makes it the Best Bar in America Aftter 2 a.m. The Lodge serves free chili and peanuts and has a miniature bowling alley, which alone is worth a visit.
Alumni Club has long been a favorite sports fan hang out, although it can mix it up pretty good on the weekends with dance music and party favorites.