50 unknown bars: Unsung but lovable dives, lounges and taverns.
Chicago dives, lounges and taverns.
Don’t call it a comeback. At Artis’ Lounge, the soul era never left. Decked out with photos of old-school celebs who frequented the place—think Michael Jordan with a gold chain and knee-high socks—this tiny watering hole ramps up on Sundays and Mondays when blues bands take the small stage, but stays lively during the week thanks to an all-soul and R&B jukebox, nattily dressed regulars and bartenders. Extra shot Thursday nights beckon steppers to the dance floor from 6pm–2am. 1249 E 87th St (773-734-0491).—Christina Couch
HAM TREE INN
Not a grizzled contractor or 20-year Ham Tree vet? Prepare for some curious stares. This is a neighborhood joint where regulars suck down Old Style and Miller while yelling at the football game or each other. Still, the space is huge and open—the better for making use of the cork dartboards. Get the regulars debating the bar name’s origin (“In the ’20s, it was a Polish deli in front and a speakeasy in back,” says one; “When you leave, you’re happy…and sometimes there’s ham,” decrees another) and you’re in like Honey Baked. Extra shot In warmer months, hang out in the beer garden in back. 5333 N Milwaukee Ave (773-792-2072).—Angela Barnaby
A vestige of the pre-Macy’s era, this sports bar in the basement of the State Street store still bears the play-on-words name it acquired about seven years ago during a Marshall Field’s lower-level makeover. Before that, it was known as Hinky Dink’s, after the turn-of-the-century saloon-keeping, racket-running alderman Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna. Tucked away in a corner off the basement-level food court, it’s a clean, contemporary sports bar that bustles during lunch, after work and during game time. Extra shot InField’s sports a framed Marshall Field’s basketball team uniform from the ’30s. 111 N State St, lower level (312-781-3192).—John Dugan
GILHOOLEY'S GRANDE SALOON
Arts organizations are used to getting a boost from wealthy patrons, but a student bar? Indeed, renowned philanthropist Richard Driehaus donated Gilhooley’s to Saint Xavier University in 2005 (students can even use meal cards for pub grub). The illuminated stained-glass windows hint at Driehaus’s rep as one of the world’s top Tiffany collectors, and they complement the gargoyles, Greek-inspired statues and two fireplaces. Extra shot Try all 80 craft, import and other brews and earn a glass mug inscribed with your name to hang on the Hall of Foam between visits. 3901 W 103rd St (773-233-2200).—Martina Sheehan
Young Koreans—laughing, eating and drinking Hite beer—fill this Lincoln Square storefront’s seven small tables. No matter: You want to sit at the bar, anyway. There, a supersweet woman who goes by “K.” is mistress of the ten-year-old Korean pub’s grill. Masterfully wielding scissors and tongs, she dices and fries chicken, beef and pork, and intestines both large and small. She warns the “FIRE” chicken is “really, really, really” spicy; she easily could add one more “really.” Extra shot Order the soju, but drink wisely: The rice-barley liquor is quite easy to quaff…and 19 percent alcohol. 5114 N Lincoln Ave (773-878-2400).—Novid Parsi