Chicago Nightlife

Chicago's entertainment varies from loud and loose to sophisticated and sedate. You'll find classic Chicago corner bars in most neighborhoods, along with trendier alternatives like wine bars and lounges. The strains of blues and jazz provide much of the backbeat to the city's groove, and an alternative country scene is flourishing. As far as dancing is concerned, take your pick from cavernous clubs

to smaller spots with DJs spinning dance tunes; there's everything from hip-hop to swing. Wicker Park/Bucktown and River North have the hottest nightlife, but prime spots are spread throughout the city.

Shows usually begin at 9 pm; cover charges generally range from $3 to $20, depending on the day of the week (Friday and Saturday nights are the most expensive). The list of blues and jazz clubs includes several South Side locations: be cautious about transportation here late at night, because some of these neighborhoods can be unsafe. Drive your own car or ask the bartender to call you a cab.

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Fodor's Choice


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Lakeview and the Far North Side 36

Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and Bucktown 33


Lincoln Park 9

Near North and River North 33

The Loop, Including West Loop and South Loop 7

Pilsen, Little Italy, and Chinatown 1


Pilsen 1

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Bars/ Pubs 57

Brewpubs/ Beer Gardens 1

Cafes–Nightlife 5

Comedy Clubs 6

Dance Clubs 6

Music Clubs 32

Piano Bars/ Lounges 6

Wine Bars–Nightlife 1

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Gay and Lesbian 8

Trendy 2


Chicago Nightlife

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  • Fodor's Choice


  • Music Clubs

The best thing about B.L.U.E.S. is that there isn't a bad seat in the joint. The worst thing? The crowds—come early if you want to...

Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret

  • Piano Bars/Lounges

Davenport's, a sophisticated cabaret booking both local and touring acts, brings a grown-up presence to the Wicker Park club scene. The...

Debonair Social Club

  • Bars/Pubs

In the historic Flat Iron Building, the Debonair Social Club combines visual arts, music, and late-night dining. Upstairs, curated video...


  • Bars/Pubs

A rare dive bar amid Lincoln Park's tonier establishments, Delilah's is dark and a bit grungy. But the bar has a friendly, unpretentious...

Double Door

  • Music Clubs

Double Door is a hotbed for music in Wicker Park. The large bar books up-and-coming local and national acts from rock to acid jazz. Unannounced...

East Room

  • Bars/Pubs

This unmarked "secret" bar carries through with its speakeasy theme—the only sign you’re in the right place is the red light above...

Emporium Arcade Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

Two of America’s favorite pastimes—drinking and playing classic arcade games—come together here. You can do both affordably, too.

FitzGerald's Nightclub

  • Music Clubs

Although it's a 30-minute schlep west of Chicago, FitzGerald's draws crowds from all over the city and suburbs with its mix of folk,...


  • Bars/Pubs

Full of sports fans and former frat boys, Gamekeepers has more than 40 TVs, three projection screens, and complete satellite sports coverage...

Happy Village

  • Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

Located in Ukrainian Village, this neighborhood institution is known for its cheap beer, Ping Pong tables, and, when the weather cooperates...