Save | Beer gardens that won't make you go broke
At a great beer garden, you want to stay all night. The prices at these outdoor patios let you do just that.
Boiler Room Thanks to local design crew Alter Ego, this Logan Square pizza bar looks like the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars collided with the local transportation department—seat belts, CTA doors and all. Nobody expects great pizza from a bar, so while we’ve had good luck with the meatballs-and-giardiniera pizza, chalk up any gaffes to the Jameson on tap—a shot of the stuff with a PBR tall boy and a slice of pizza rings up at $7.50, and cones of Jameson soft-serve are $3. 2210 N California Ave (773-276-5625). Mon–Fri 4pm–2am; Sat noon–3am; Sun noon–2am. Average beer: $5.
Duke of Perth You’ll never know how relaxing Celtic music can be until you spend an afternoon at this Scottish ale house. Listen closely as you hang out on the serene outdoor patio, eating fish-and-chips (they’re all you can eat on Wednesdays and Fridays) and drinking from one of the best Scotch lists in the city—soon you’ll be humming along. 2913 N Clark St (773-477-1741). Mon 5pm–2am; Tue–Fri, Sun noon–2am; Sat noon–3am. Average beer: $6.
Old Oak Tap Pity the bars that share a zip code with this impressive neighborhood joint. The friendly service, extensive beer list, gorgeously sleek interior, huge patio (enclosed in winter) and menu of bar eats make this place awfully hard to compete with. Stop by on Tuesdays for $2 tacos and $2 Tecates. 2109 W Chicago Ave (773-772-0406). Mon 5pm–2am; Tue–Fri 11am–2am; Sun 10am–2am; Sat 10am–3am. Average beer: $5.
The Orbit Room From the music on the speakers (Nat King Cole et al.) to the rat-pack decor and carefully shaken martinis, this Logan Square corner bar is surprising all the twentysomething post-hipsters who flock here. It’s not just that the bar is a far cry from the dive that preceded it; really, it’s a far cry from anything that’s been built since 1940. And if you’ve never tried Malort, start your Saturday night out right with the $2 shot special. 2959 N California Ave (773-588-8540). Mon–Fri 4pm–2am; Sat noon–3am; Sun noon–midnight. Average cocktail: $9.
Toons Bar & Grill This sleeper hit on the edge of Wrigleyville draws in neighbors for billiards and shuffleboard, televised sports with a cheering crowd, pulled-pork sandwiches and po’ boys, and a dose of Kansas City–style hospitality. Excellent food deals (like $4 burgers on Wednesdays) and sunny sidewalk tables make it even more irresistible to stop in. 3857 N Southport Ave (773-935-1919). Mon–Fri 11:30am–2am; Sat 11am–3am; Sun 11am–2am. Average beer: $5.50.
West on North Over the lines at Big Star? Not feelin’ the vegan cyclists at Handlebar? Head a few blocks west to this low-key Humboldt Park tap, where seats in the charming garden are plenty. The food is goofy (deep-fried pickles, peanut-butter and bacon on Texas toast) and cheap, from 25-cent wings on Wednesdays to half-price apps (like crunchy onion rings) on Mondays. 2509 W North Ave (773-278-7710). Mon–Fri 4pm–2am; Sat 11am–3am; Sun 11am–2am. Average beer: $5.