Five dependable 4am bars
Carol’s Pub (4659 N Clark St, 773-334-2402)
A honky-tonk in Sheridan Park with $1.50 domestics on Mondays, country-western karaoke on Thursdays and the house band Diamondback on weekends, featuring sassy little Reba singin’. A pool table in back, greasy grill turning out late-night burgers and Hank-filled jukebox round out the grit fest. Mon, Tue 9am–2am; Wed–Fri, Sun 11am–4am; Sat 11am–5am.
Green Mill (4802 N Broadway, 773-878-5552)
This jazz institution is legendary for three things: It was once a Capone hangout, it’s supposedly haunted, and the no-nonsense staff is known to shush you and the visiting friends who dragged you in during live jazz sets. Have trouble keeping your mouth shut? Go during the Uptown Poetry Slam on Sunday nights. Sun–Fri noon–4am; Sat noon–5am.
Marie’s Rip Tide Lounge (1750 W Armitage Ave, 773-278-7317)
The legendary silver fox for whom this 4am bar is named (Marie Wuczynski) has made less frequent appearances in her tired years, but the lounge is never quite the same without her. If you luck out and find her behind the bar, she’ll be the one alternating Jäger shots and jokes that use kitty synonyms for punch lines. Sun–Fri 8am–4am; Sat 8am–5am.
Berlin (954 W Belmont Ave, 773-348-4975)
This freak-friendly dance destination in Lakeview built its reputation back in the mid-’80s with a mix of German new-wave music, art installations and even transvestite shows. These days, it’s still quirky but more retro, with Prince-tribute, disco and ’80s nostalgia nights. Goths and gays are extra welcome, but the scene here is made up of almost everyone. Sun–Tue 10pm–4am; Wed–Fri 5pm–4am; Sat 5pm–5am.
The Closet (3325 N Broadway, 773-477-8533)
This teeny taproom is a good stone’s throw from the hustle and muscle of Halsted Street’s rowdy boy bars—and that’s just the way this clientele likes it. Plenty of ladies hang here until the midnight hour, but the boys crash the party shortly thereafter, creating one of the few truly mixed queer scenes in the city. Don’t let superfox bartender Karen Holden give you a hard time; she’s secretly a softie. Mon–Fri 2pm–4am; Sat noon–5am; Sun noon–4am.