Streetside city swilling | Beer Garden Guide
bin wine café True, this spot’s technically a wine bar and yes, Bin 36 sommelier Brian Duncan is behind the genius boozy grape-juice selections, but the tiny kitchen kicks out such a tasty brunch, we can’t help but also think of it as equal parts restaurant. Still, the simple sidewalk patio offers a perfect vantage point for watching the action along one of Wicker Park’s busiest stretches, whether you’re pretending to look at your ricotta pancakes or not. 1559 N Milwaukee Ave between Honore St and North Ave (773-486-2233). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Thu 5–10pm; Fri 5–11:30pm; Sat 10am–11:30pm; Sun 10am–10pm. Average glass of wine: $8.
Cans Take all the action inside this Bucktown bar, open up a few windows, push it out onto the sidewalk and you’ve just about got the debauchery that is alfresco drinking here. As the name suggests, canned beer is offered in scores, but we’re thinking there’s also a little double entendre going on judging from the tank-top clad servers and patrons who juggle more than just drinks. 1640 N Damen Ave between North and Wabansia Aves (773-227-2277). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Fri 4pm–2am; Sat 10am–3am; Sun 10am–2am. Average beer: $5.
Harry Caray’s Tavern The bro-tastic meat market that was Hi-Tops is gone, and in its place is this classy Cubs pub. The doors between the 30-seat patio and the bar open wide in summer, so you can still catch the games being played on indoor TVs. Not into the teams? Shift your view to Wrigley and the bronze statue of this bar’s bespectacled namesake. 3551 N Sheffield Ave between Cornelia Ave and Addison St (773-327-7800). El: Red to Addison. Bus: 8, 22 (24hrs), 152. Wed–Fri 11am–2am; Sat 10am–3am; Sun 10am–2am. Average beer: $7.
Jilly’s Piano Bar It can get pretty crazy inside this long-running piano bar—big spenders in loosened ties trading Sinatra verses with wide-eyed tourists while fierce cougars prowl the room looking for a boy toy to sink their claws into. Skip all that, or at least cut it down to a low roar, by grabbing one of the few tables on the sidewalk patio. The people-watching is well worth the tab for pricey cocktails. 1007 N Rush St between Oak St and Bellevue Pl (312-664-1001). El: Red to Clark/Division. Bus: 36 Broadway, 70 Division. Sun–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat 5pm–3am. Average cocktail: $7.