For most post-work revelers, happy hour is a marriage of convenience. After work, watering holes aren’t typically picked for their trendy menus or dazzling drinks but their proximity to your home or office; in some cases, adequate bar food and some dirt cheap drink selections are all you need. If you have a bar you visit after work, but aren’t sure it’s the right spot for you, worry not: there’s a happy hour out there for everyone. To help you find your match, let us suggest a few spots that might make you want to settle down.
Ed & Jean’s
2032 W. Armitage
Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 489-6509
Mon – Fri 3pm – 2am
Sat 3pm – 3am
Sun 12pm – 2am
This endearing Bucktown dive doesn’t have happy hour specials per se, but the drinks are so cheap you’re getting a bargain any hour of the day. Most patron’s won’t pick Ed & Jean’s for a snack stop—options are irregularly stocked Slim Jim’s and bagged nuts—but rather the kitschy, cozy, no-BS surroundings that make you feel like you’re slinging a beer in your aunt’s basement. When you need a reprieve but can only handle a no-frills order, drink, pay routine, this is your place. If you happen to catch one of the eponymous owners though, be sure you make time for a long chat.
901 W. Jackson
Chicago, IL 60607
Jack’s Tap is close enough to the Loop to be convenient, but far enough away to let you leave the day at the office behind. Causal but by no means gritty, the bar is a comfy place to catch a Chicago sports team while sharing a bucket of beers with some friends. If you need to unwind with something a little tastier than bargain beer, Jack’s beer selection is impressive, catering to all but the snobbiest of beer lovers. The food has a few unexpected options peppered in with the typical pub fare, and Jack’s definitely gets the standard picks right. Service tends to be as laid back as the vibe, so visit this place when you aren’t on your last nerve from a rough day on the job.
McCormick & Schmick’s
1 E Wacker
Chicago, IL 60601
(Happy Hour: 3:30PM-6:30PM & 9:00PM-10:00PM)
(Happy Hour: 3:30PM-6:30PM)
McCormick & Schmick’s happy hour is practically a no brainer, already a go-to pick for the business crowd and Metra commuters. While a regular meal at the seafood chain is a bit spendy for the typical happy hour pocket, the special menu from 3:30 – 6:30 pm has all the quality of their main menu dishes and rings up between $1.95 and $5.95 a bite. Ho-hum fare is dished out elsewhere at same or higher prices, so it’s hard to argue against a juicy half pound burger or tempura roll that’s cheaper than a full-price beer.
2609 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
If you take your (cheap) drinks with twist—and we don’t mean citrus—the Bob Inn welcomes you with open arms. Attracting a colorful crowd from the neighborhood and beyond, red-nosed day drinkers mingle with sports fans, unassuming neighbors and hard-core partiers. The jukebox is perpetually dusty despite heavy use, and the cash-only bar is well stocked enough for cocktails, but low-brow enough to keep only the gnarliest beers on tap (Busch, anyone?). Along with budget friendly drinks, something—or someone—interesting always seems to be one bar stool over.
2051 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
Mon-Fri, Sun 5pm-2am
Bookending an always-busy stretch of bars and restaurants on the Division strip in Ukrainian Village, Innjoy has something worth stopping in for every day of the week. Daily specials are set for both bar grub standards—burgers, wings, pizza, nachos—and drinks. The drinks are nice enough to make you feel like you aren’t slumming too hard, but still cheap enough to justify multiple visits in a week. If you stay long enough to outlast happy hour, the always-friendly crowd shifts focus later in the evening to a ball game, DJ set or dance party going on inside.