Six bars that are restaurants, and vice versa
Moody’s Pub In summer, this beer garden is one of the best in Chicago (as long as you can deal with ass-to-elbow crowds). But it’s just as great in the winter, when you can snag a table at this beer-and-burger haven and get cozy with your date. Just remember to bring a flashlight to read the menu; the place is dark enough that you could carry on an affair while your spouse is sitting across the room. 5910 N Broadway (773-275-2696). El: Red to Thorndale. Bus: 36, 84. Mon–Fri 11:30am–1am; Sat 11:30am–2am; Sun noon–1am. Average beer: $3. Cash only.
Piece Every Thursday, drunken wanna-be rock stars elbow for space against just-post-college frat-types to choose from the karaoke book’s 20,000 songs. Brave it, or head in early in the week to sample the great brews made on premises alongside New Haven–style thin-crust pizzas. 1927 W North Ave (773-772-4422). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Thu 11am–1:30am; Fri 11am–2am; Sat 11am–3am; Sun 11am–1am. Average beer: $4.
Pops for Champagne Years after relocating to River North, this sleek, grown-up bar remains Champagne central. But recent additions from wine director W. Craig Cooper make it just as fine a destination for a sparkling cocktail (the Chute de Shooni, made with Calvados and five-spice; the Avenue A, a mix of bourbon, cava and Giottine Cherry) or a plate of oysters, charcuterie or frites. 601 N State St (312-266-7677). El: Red to Grand. Bus: 22, 36, 65. Sun–Fri 3pm–2am; Sat 1pm–2am. Average glass of wine: $15.
rodan It’s tough being young and fabulous. Why else would the fashionable crowd at the equally fashionable rodan be throwing back so many cocktails? Oh, right—with the revamped menu of late-night bites from new chef Dave Gebhardt (Japonais, L2O) and the launch of weekend brunch dim sum like pork-sausage dumplings, you’d be sucking down the potent but fruity cocktails as if they were going out of style, too. 1530 N Milwaukee Ave (773-276-7036). El: Blue to Damen. Bus: 50, 56, 72. Mon–Fri 6pm–2am; Sat 5pm–3am; Sun 5pm–2am. Average cocktail: $6.
Skylark This speakeasy-esque space—a vacuous room, lined with booths and sprinkled with tables and chairs—is a nightly respite for local artists, whether they just want to drink or have a full dinner. The Tater Tots are a greasy must-have, and the menu hides gems like killer fried chicken. Wash everything down with a $2 Pabst, and don’t miss the photo booth tucked in the back corner before heading out. 2149 S Halsted St (312-948-5275). El: Orange to Halsted. Bus: 8, 18, 21. Sun–Fri 4pm–2am; Sat 4pm–3am. Average beer: $3. Cash only.
The Tasting Room Out of the way? Yeah. A tad snobby? Sometimes. Still a great wine bar? For sure. You’d be hard pressed to find another wine bar with a better list. And even harder pressed to find one with as great a view of the skyline. For winter, the menu features rabbit-sausage arancini, bacon-wrapped dates, an apple crisp for two and an Homage to Charlie Brown cocktail made with vanilla-infused spiced rum. 1415 W Randolph St (312-942-1313). El: Green, Pink to Ashland. Bus: 9, X9, X20. Mon–Thu 4pm–1am; Fri, Sat 4pm–2am (closed Sun). Average glass of wine: $10.