The Best Dive Bars in River North


River North boasts the cultural heart of the city. With some of the finest shopping, museums,  and theaters around, it is easy to spend a classy night out with friends or wine and dine with your loved one. But sometimes you just want to keep things simple and throw back a shot of whiskey and a beer.

Here are the top three River North dive bars to help you get back to your roots:

The Green Door Tavern/ The Drifter

This one is a two-fer: an upstairs/downstairs situation.

First off is the Green Door Tavern. This classic Chicago watering hole has been wetting whistles since 1921, and it retains a lot of the charm of that bygone era. With timeless Americana kitsch adorning the walls, a night in The Green Door is like a step into the past. Dig in to traditional bar fare and one of 55 beers or over 100 whiskeys!


If you’re looking to get a little wilder, head downstairs to The Drifter. Located in an authentic prohibition era speakeasy, this little joint features vaudeville style entertainment and mixed drinks just like Capone used to enjoy. Sip a Sidecar and take in a burlesque or jazz show as you bask in Chicago yesteryear.


Rossi’s Liquor

While Rossi’s is easily the diviest bar on this list, they offer a vast selection of beers and wines, along with a charming and friendly atmosphere. Don’t let the run-down exterior keep you away. Once you step inside, you will feel like you’ve been coming for years. Although you won’t be able to enjoy dinner here (no kitchen), you will be able to find a new favorite brew, and even take a six-pack home with you. This place is truly one of a dying breed of simple neighborhood beer joints.


Billy Goat Tavern

Cheeseborger, cheeseborger, cheeseborger…. This Chi-town staple was made immortal in the iconic “Olympia Café” sketch on SNL starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The Billy Goat’s menu is a little more extensive than Belushi would have you believe, as it is not limited to only cheeseburgers, chips (no fries), and Pepsi (no Coke). Grab a double cheeseburger and an Old Style and watch the Cubbies like the locals do.


Of course it’s fun to get dressed up and sip martinis or enjoy a perfectly grilled New York Strip, but sometimes, a cold beer and a greasy burger are exactly what you need.

Did we miss your favorite River North dive bar? Let us know your favorite place to tip back a cold one on Twitter and Facebook.

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