Best Historically Significant Bars In Chicago

July 9, 2015 7:00 AM

(Photo Credit:

When it comes to a night out on the town, you and your friends could check out that new place just down the block — or you could have a glass at a bar that’s been around for more than a century. In the Chicago area, those who like to combine a bit of history with their happy hour won’t lack for options, as you can find plenty of places that have been around for a while. Raise a glass or two at these historically significant bars in the Chicago area.
(Photo Credit: The Berghoff's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: The Berghoff’s Facebook)

The Berghoff
17 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 427-3170

Grab a beer and a bratwurst at The Berghoff while cooling your heels after a long day at work or sightseeing. The establishment, which first opened its doors in 1898 and is located in Chicago’s Loop, received liquor license No. 1 by the City of Chicago after Prohibition. The iconic venue still serves beer today, including those brewed by The Berghoff. A full food menu is available, with brats, meatloaf and roasted chicken among the items. Can’t decide on what to order? Beer flights of The Berghoff’s beer are available.

The Green Door Tavern
678 N. Orleans St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 664-5496

If it’s history you want, then it’s history you’ll see at The Green Door Tavern. Considered the oldest tavern in Chicago, the Near North Side locale was built in 1872 and established in 1921. The bar still has a green door, which is a reference to the time when speakeasies were painted green during the Prohibition. The Green Door serves up an assortment of beer and cocktails, including the tavern’s own Summer of Aviation and GDT Punch. A full food menu is available, with options for brunch, a late night snack and dinner, and even a children’s menu.

(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
4802 N. Broadway St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 878-5552

Sip a cocktail or two in the same lounge that Al Capone and his crew frequented by taking a gander at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. Located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, the jazz lounge opened in 1907 and today boasts a wide selection of performers taking the stage every night with the Patricia Barber Quartet, The Fat Babies, jam sessions and more are all on the calendar. Heads up: The Green Mill is cash-only. For more information on the lounge’s colorful history, take a look at this article in Chicago Reader.

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Shinnick’s Pub
3758 S. Union Ave.
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 376-3525

Shinnick’s Pub has been owned by the Shinnick family since the 1930s, making it the relatively newest pub on the list. The pub is located in a building constructed in the 19th century, making it a long-standing fixture in the neighborhood and a favorite for those who pop in for a pint or two. Shinnick’s offers an assortment of beer and cocktails, and has hosted a few live musical performances, too. The pub is within walking distance of U.S. Cellular Field, so it’s a reat destination for pre- and post-game drinks for White Sox fans.

The Village Tavern
135 Old McHenry Rd.
Long Grove, IL 60047
(847) 634-3117

It may be hard for some to believe, but there’s history outside of the 773 and 312 area codes, too. The Village Tavern, located in the northwest suburb of Long Grove, is billed as the oldest restaurant and tavern in Illinois. The tavern was established in 1847 and is filled with antiques and artwork, giving it a friendly and home-like atmosphere. The Village Tavern serves up favorites like hamburgers, sandwiches and full dinners, and has an extensive list of beer and wine. Stick around for the live entertainment, with different acts scheduled almost every evening.

Related: Best Pet-Friendly Restaurants In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at

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