Arts districts, museums and community arts organizations tend to make the biggest splash the first two Fridays of every month. Classic institutions favor the more common “First Fridays,” while the alternative art scene schedules their happenings for the second Friday of each month. All of these events typically come with the booze already built-in, but if you’re looking to end your night with something other than a cold can of PBR or a white wine in a plastic vessel, we’ve selected some nearby establishments to help you round out your night of culture.
Underground Wonder Bar

(Credit: Underground Wonder Bar)

Underground Wonder Bar

If you’re checking out: MCA Chicago First Fridays
Head to: Underground Wonder Bar

The MCA’s First Fridays are rather well known as a “meet market” disguised as an arts event, so if you don’t find a new friend during this monthly outing, Underground Wonder Bar is the perfect place to drink, dance and blow off some steam. Just a little gritty with solid drink specials and music cranked way up, the crowd of baby-faced 20 somethings and middle-aged management types mingle happily in this River North establishment.

Underground Wonder Bar
650 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266 7459
Hours: Sun-Fri 7pm-2am, Sat 7pm-3am

Angels & Kings

(Credit: Angels & Kings)

Angels & Kings

If you’re checking out: After Dark The Art Institute of Chicago
Head to: Angels & Kings

Formerly the hotel’s “Base Bar,” the Pete Wentz-owned establishment moved from its somewhat out-of-place location in the Viagra Triangle to the more sensible bottom of the iconic Carbide and Carbon Building (you might recognize it in the skyline as the green building that looks like a bottle of champagne), known these days as the Chicago location of the Hard Rock Hotel franchise. Near the Art Institute of Chicago, the drinks at Angels & Kings (itself =franchise) are at the level you’d come to expect of a downtown bar geared toward the young professional crowd; the real reason to go? The music is better than almost any bar you’ll find in the Loop.

Angels & Kings
230 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 345 1000
Hours: Mon-Fri 3pm-2am, Sat 11am-3am, Sun 12pm-12am

Green Door Tavern

(Credit: Green Door Tavern)

Green Door Tavern

If you’re checking out: RiNo Gallery District First Fridays in River North
Head to: Green Door Tavern

The Green Door Tavern has been a River North mainstay since 1921, but hasn’t lost any of its polish in the years since. After tooling around with the well-heeled art crowd in River North, Green Door Tavern is a little more unbuttoned, with plenty of neon and dark wood to make you feel like you’re in your favorite neighborhood spot. It’s also one of the only places in down to offer you a sweet treat when you get the check: even late at night, your bill is produced alongside a few mini chocolate chip cookies.

Green Door Tavern
678 N Orleans St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 664 5496
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2am, Sat 11:30am-3am, Sun 12pm-9pm

(credit: Simone's Bar)


If you’re checking out: 2nd Fridays Gallery Night in Pilsen/Bridgeport
Head to: Simone’s

Refreshing craft cocktails are this South Side bar’s specialty, with many of the herbs and ingredients used in the drinks grown right on the roof of the building. Simone’s large space has a part edgy-industrial, part down-home neighborhood vibe and is sectioned off in a way so that you can enjoy noisy chatter at the bar, a sprawling row of tables with friends, or a cozy low-lit booth for two. A short walk from the Pilsen/Bridgeport art district, Simone’s offers tasty food in addition to the artisans drinks. If you make a stop in, the sweet potato or the portabello fries are a must.

960 W 18th St (Morgan St)
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 666 8601
Hours: daily from 11:30am-2am

The Fountainhead

(Credit: The Fountainhead)

The Fountainhead

If you’re checking out: Lill Street First Fridays in Ravenswood
Head to: The Fountainhead

Just a few doors down from the Lill Street Art Center in Ravenswood, The Fountainhead is the stop to make if you want to satisfy craft beer snobs, wine drinkers and whiskey swillers alike. The former director of Sheffield’s Beer School keeps and impressive stock of craft spirits behind the bar, with the menu selection–heavy on the savory side of flavor–earning just as high of marks. The bar also houses two hand-pumped beer casks, a somewhat rare find among bars in the city. The engines run out fast, so if you’re angling for that specific beer, call ahead to check on availability.

The Fountainhead

1970 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 697 8204
Hours: Mon-Thurs 4pm-2am, Fri 3pm-2am, Sat 12pm-3am, Sun 12pm-2am

Kim Bellware is a writer, producer and print maker living in Ukrainian Village. Her non-writerly pursuits involve soccer, perfecting Spanish tapas recipes and spending more time seemingly fixing her bike than she does actually riding it.