Part of being a true Chicagoan is the ability to survive a frigid winter. Not only a frigid winter, but a very, very long, frigid winter. As the temperature dips below zero, sometimes our spirits go with it. One way to beat the winter blues is to take advantage of Chicago’s upbeat bar scene. I ran into Jennifer in the Loop recently, on her way from work to meet up with friends for a drink in River North. I figured she’d be a great person to talk to about the city’s bars! Luckily she bared the cold long enough to offer me a few tips about Chicago’s winter bar scene.

Name: Jennifer
Age: 28
How long have you lived in Chicago? 6 years
What area of the city do you reside in? Lincoln Park
Occupation? Production editor

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Where do you tend to hang out during Chicago’s colder months? I pretty much frequent the same bars regardless of the month: Sidebar, O’Callaghan’s, and Rockit are my top three downtown.

What does your company do for its holiday party? My company now doesn’t celebrate too much – just a lunch before the holiday. In the past, I’ve worked at companies where there are big galas at hotels with staff awards and elaborate catering. Other fun activities have included food fests and gift exchanges at the office. My last company helped families in need by having staff members pitch in to provide presents for underprivileged kids.

What bars normally have the best holiday decorations this time of year? Halligan and Galway Arms are both always full of décor for the holiday’s.

What drinks do you order most in the winter time? I am a pretty boring drinker and stick to my favorites all the time regardless of the season or bar. Bud Light, Blue Moon, Pinot Grigio or an Effen Black Cherry/soda.

Are you less willing to bar hop because of the colder weather? I usually head out to one area and stick around there so moving around to a couple bars, even in the cold, isn’t too bad.

Favorite venue for live music during the colder months? Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park. They have a ton of live music – mostly blues and jazz.

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What do you plan to do for New Year’s this year? Last year I went to O’Malley’s on Lincoln, which was a lot of fun! Good friends and a good atmosphere. This year my plans are up in the air.

What’s a great date bar in December in the city? Dunlay’s on Clark, also in Lincoln Park. Can you tell I stick to my neighborhood? [laughs]

What bar do you always take friends to when they come in for a visit around the holiday season? Bin 36, a nice wine bar in River North with floor-to-ceiling windows and a great atmosphere.

If you’re not in the mood to go out to a bar on a Saturday night, what do you do like to do instead? Watch a movie and order takeout.

Do you have any special Chicago traditions around this time of year? I like to ice skate in Millennium Park, see the Zoo Lights in Lincoln Park and Christmas shop on the weekends!

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What is your favorite thing about Chicago in the wintertime? How pretty Michigan Ave. is at night with all the lights. We really do live in a beautiful city! We just need to slow down sometimes and take a look around.

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Amanda Look lives in Chicago and works for an academic association doing event coordination. She blogs about city living and never gets tired of exploring its neighborhoods and events.