By Mason Johnson

Listen, I’m not here to make funny jokes, or unfunny jokes, or even puns. This article here, this article is dead serious. There are some nights, one in particular that happens every four years, that you need a drink.

Election night is one of them.

You’re not gonna hear me talking about bars that will keep you up-to-date with the poll statistics as you slowly sip on a glass of pinot WHO-THE-HECK-CARES (a nice vintage wine). The bars below are bars you can go to and drink so much you’ll forget that there are elections or, heck, even presidents. If you were looking for a place you could talk politics with the other patrons, then leave now. This is not the article for you. If you feel like you need a place to hide, then I know a few spots for you…

(Also, if you’re wondering, I’m voting for MATT Romney. Obviously. Mittens and Obummers can go screw up somebody else’s country!)

Cole’s patrons laugh at something AWESOME on the Cole’s stage (Credit: Mason Johnson)


2338 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, Il 60647

Cole’s is relaxing. The kinda place you can go to shoot the, well, whatever it is you shoot when you talk to people. It feels like your dad’s neighborhood bar, but without your dad groaning about how important/wasteful unions are (depending on his political affiliation). Cole’s, with its nice, little stage in the back, is also host to some of the best bands you can see for free in the city, along with two of the best open mics in the whole entire world. Yes. The world.

Important: Cole’s doesn’t have a TV! There will be no election coverage! That is great! What WILL there be? Roots music. Something familiar from your past that sounds good. You know what’s great about music from the past? It has nothing to do with the present.


Cal’s Bar

400 South Wells Street
Chicago, IL

Cal’s is the last dive in the loop and, from the sound of it, Cal’s won’t be around that much longer. This is why, despite their declaration that they’ll be watching the results of the election unfold throughout the night, I’m suggesting you go there.

Seriously, you won’t find a more comfortable and cheaper bar in the heart of the city. Plus, Cal’s doesn’t attract the same kind of clientele that many other loop bars get. If you’re tired of watching frat guys turned businessmen ogle hostesses, then have a seat on one of Cal’s stools and talk to real people.

Ice cream! (credit: Lisa H./Flickr)

Margie’s Candies

1960 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, Il 60647

What’s that? Margie’s isn’t a bar? Wow, how astute of you. You must have been the head of your class in kindergarten.

Alcohol is great, people. It does a great job of, as they say, drowning your sorrows. Only the amazing powers of ice cream and chocolate can heal though. If you’re looking to be healed, or happen to be under 21 or in a 12 step program, Margie’s is the place to go.

They’re open till midnight, so chances are, you can have some homemade ice cream–maybe an ice cream sundae–in front of your face as you find out whether your candidate won or lost. Whether the election results break your soul or restore your faith in humanity, you’ll have a smile on your face if you’ve got some of Margie’s ice cream in front of you.

I really like ice cream.

Simone’s! (Credit:

Simone’s Bar

960 W 18thh
Chicago, IL 60608

Simone’s is a nice big place, with a great beer selection and awesome food. Plus, they have this new wavey, retro feel to them. Though it’s hard to place exactly where Simone’s stole their interior design from, the place kind of feels like a mix of an Andy Warhol gallery, a spaceship, a bowling alley, and your little brother’s room from 1990.

The real question: will politics be able to sneak their way into Simone’s to ruin your BBQ chicken pizza?

Probably not. Whenever I’ve gone in there, they’ve had like, Ninja Turtles cartoons on the TV. I highly doubt anyone would forgo episodes of TMNT for election coverage.

If we could explain to you why these men were arm wrasslin’ in Hungry Brain, we would, but we can’t. (credit: Matt Rowan)

The Hungry Brain

2319 W. Belmont
Chicago, Il 60618

The Hungry Brain is a great bar to make your “regular” place. Some nights are perfect for sittin’ at the bar and having a conversation about anything at all with one of the bartenders – they’re all nice. Other nights, watch a band perform on their tiny stage. The place is relaxing, and the opposite of pretentious – whatever the heck that happens to be.

Tonight the Hungry Brain is welcoming writers, yes, writers, on their stage for the monthly reading series Two Cookie Minimum. If you’d rather hear interesting stories and laugh than watch news pundits screw up election coverage, then this is the place to be.

Two Cookie Minimum is hosted by Johnny Misfit. Readers will include Stuart Ross, Patrick Andrews, Hillary Stone, and Matt Rowan. The show starts at 9 SHARP!

Fred puts on an impromptu puppet show (Credit: Mason Johnson)

Alice’s Lounge

3556 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

Alice’s has karaoke on Tuesday nights. Seriously, what can better make you forget about two rich guys who want to both ruin your country in different ways than karaoke?

Plus, Alice’s happens to have some of the best karaoke in the city. Just ask Fred, the KJ, who makes sure everyone has fun. And it being a Tuesday and all, Alice’s won’t be so packed that you’ll literally have to swim through a crowd of Meat Loaf fans just to get to the bar (please, stop singing “I’d Do Anything For Love”).

So go! Go sing your heart out! And, whatever you do, don’t cry if your guy loses the election. Alice’s doesn’t allow crying.

Where will you be tonight? Let us know in the comments.

Mason Johnson doesn’t vote. Not because of principal; he’s a felon.