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It might have something to do with the long winters, but Chicago is a great town for nightlife. Whether you want a classy nightcap or a really good happy hour, you have all kinds of options that don’t have to hurt the next morning, at least when it comes to your bank account. Save money on decadent craft cocktails, local craft beers, and drinks with a view with this guide to the best cheap bars in Chicago.
230 N. Clark Street (The Loop)
The tagline at AceBounce sums things up nicely: The greatest moments happen around a table. We’re not talking about a bartop here. This is a ping-pong bar. If you think it will take a while to perfect your serve, be sure to visit during happy hour for cheap mixed drinks and select beers for three hours.
If you’re here to play, games are reasonably-priced. Ping pong, beer pong, shuffleboard, and Wonderball are all just $8 per person for up to 90 minutes of play. Wondering about Wonderball? It’s essentially ping pong played as a video game. It’s very interactive and very fun, especially if you try one of AceBounce’s glow-in-the-dark cocktails at the same time!
Happy hour is 4 PM to 7 PM Monday-Friday.
What to Order: Mixed drinks are cheap and generous, but it’s hard to say no to A Little Sumpin' Sumpin from Lagunitas Brewing when you’re playing ping pong.
All Together Now
2119 W. Chicago Avenue (Ukrainian Village)
This bistro and wine shop specializes in natural wines. Pop in for some provisions to take home with you for an at-home wine tasting or stick around for a while, especially if you visit during their generous happy hour. Select wines are just $5 a glass.
If you’re really loving that cheap wine and want some equally delicious cheap eats, their impressive cheese counter should be your first stop. The daily board comes with three delicious cheeses and equally yummy tiny little pickles. Round that out with a side of olives and fresh baguette and all of a sudden it’s like you’re on the French Riviera. It’s just much, much cheaper.
Happy hour is 3 PM to 6 PM Tuesday through Thursday and 2 PM to 5 PM Sundays.
Price: Enjoy $5 glasses of wine or beer during happy hour.
What to Order: You want the wine here. Menus vary, but you’ll find red, white, and sparkling on the specials list.
4716 N. Kedzie Avenue (Albany Park)
The low lighting starts to make a little more sense when you learn what the name of this vibey Albany Park bar means. It’s Japanese for the blurry effect used in photographs to make certain parts of an image more out-of-focus than others. Don’t try to take photos of your cocktails here. They’ll likely come out blurry, and not at all on purpose.
Focus on the drinks, instead. The ingredients in their dimly-lit concoctions are always seasonal. As temperatures drop, expect dark rums, bitters, and warm-up drinks meant to take the edge of that winter chill. And for an edgy, vibey cocktail bar the prices are pleasantly low.
Visit during happy hour 5 PM to 6PM and 11 PM to midnight Sunday-Thursday.
Price: Expect seasonal cocktails for $6, select wines for $5, and $2 Old Style tallboys at happy hour.
What to Order: Order the seasonal cocktail on special that day. In the fall, that may be their brandy Tweed Jacket.
1800 W. Belle Plaine Avenue (North Center)
The beers at Dovetail Brewery are already well-priced, but pop into this casual North Center hangout and enjoy $2 off drafts of some of their most popular pours. The master brewers here met in Munich, so their menu is German-inspired. Their Dunkel (a lager style German beer) is exceptional, with notes of chocolate, salted pretzel, and spice in perfect balance. Bring your own food or purchase snacks on-site from one of their rotating partners. Charcuterie boards from artisanal shop Beautiful Rind are usually available.
Happy hour is 2 PM to 6 PM Fridays.
Price: Short pours start at $4, but most beers fall in the $7-$9 range. Take $2 off during happy hour on their “Core 4” beers. That includes their Helles, Hefeweizen, Lager, and Vienna.
What to Order: If you’re here for the deal, the Vienna is rich, malty, and perfect for the cold months.
2013 W. North Avenue (Wicker Park)
Estelle’s is a classic when it comes to cheap drinks in Chicago. Enjoy half off any drink (except shots) every weeknight and daily specials on top of that too. On Tuesdays, it’s $5 for drafts from Short's Brewing Company, a microbrewery out of Michigan. Sip on $8 house cocktails on Wednesdays. It’s $6 tequila drinks on Thursdays. On Sundays, a High Life and Four Roses shot combo is just $7.
Pair your cheap drinks with daily food specials, too. Estelle’s gets extra busy on Mondays, also known as half-price burger night.
Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 4 PM to 6 PM.
Price: You can get a beer for under $5 or one of their specialty cocktails starting at $6 thanks to their generous happy hour deal.
What to Order: Try one of Estelle’s seasonal cocktails to make your happy hour a special one. If you’re here in winter, expect a heavy holiday theme on the cocktail menu.
Old Town Pour House
1419 N. Wells Street (Old Town)
A super long draft list showcasing Chicago beers and an enormous HDTV wall with surround sound make this Old Town sports bar very popular on game days. If game day happens to fall during their weeknight happy hour, enjoy $2 off any local drafts and local flights, select hard seltzers, well drinks, and glasses of wine.
Old Town Pour House has additional locations in the Chicago suburbs and Maryland, but it’s this Chicago location that has gotten quite a few accolades as one of the best beer bars in the country. The food is tasty, too. Snack on fried cheese curds or their Kung Pao cauliflower as you root on your favorite team.
Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4 PM to 6PM.
Price: Regular pours of beer start at $7. Take $2 off during happy hour.
What to Order: You’re here for beer. Choose a local draft or order their Backyard Flight if you’re feeling indecisive. The flight includes four different tasters of local beer.
2101 N. California Avenue (Logan Square)
If you’re staying a little further out of downtown, you still have some great cheap rooftop bar options! Lonesome Rose is well-known as the spot for elevated tacos in Logan Square with a view. Craft cocktail insiders know that this is also the spot for budget-friendly flavored margaritas.
All of their margaritas are made with mezcal, Curacao, lime, and the rotating flavor of the day. If you’re feeling festive, you can order a frozen swirl with two flavors blended together. If you don’t have any plans after happy hour, their speakeasy-style bar down below, Golden Teardrops, opens by 6 PM Wednesday-Sunday. You won’t find any deals down there, but it’s a scene.
Happy hour is 3 PM to 6PM Sunday-Thursday.
Price: Frozen margaritas are $6 apiece and Lone Star lagers are only $2 at happy hour.
What to Order: You can’t beat Lonesome’s frozen margaritas. They serve them strong, even when they’re cheap.
Tradition Gastro Pub
160 N. Franklin Street (The Loop)
Tradition Gastro Pub is a favorite with the business set, but don’t let that dissuade you if you’re hanging out downtown on a budget. It just means the business set knows where to find a good deal, and the deals here are daily. Order half-off wine bottles on Tuesdays, Moscow Mules for $9 on Wednesdays, and infusion call drinks — those are mixed drinks using specific spirits — for $9 on Thursdays. Their Friday deal covers $10 margaritas or $6 shots of The Busker whiskey.
They also have seasonal specials from time to time, like cheap pints during Oktoberfest or a few bucks off their hot toddies during the winter. Add one of their meal deals to your drink order and you can have yourself quite the budget-friendly afternoon.
Price: Cocktails start at $11 outside of happy hour.
What to Order: Order a cocktail with an infusion, like their Deep Eddy Vodka with strawberry and cucumber.
Keep Your Next Trip Budget-Friendly
Now that you know where to get the best cheap drinks in Chicago, you need to make sure you have a budget-friendly place to sleep it off once it’s time to hit the hay. You don’t need to spend a lot on quality accommodations, especially when you get some help from the travel team at SuperTravel. We can help you access special rates you won’t find on the usual booking sites. Save up to 50% on hotel stays to keep your Chicago trip affordable from start to finish.
Disclaimer: Super created this blog for general informational purposes only. The contents of this blog do not constitute professional financial advice. We strive to keep this information accurate and up to date to the best of our knowledge; however, we cannot guarantee continuous accuracy. Contents of the blog are subject to change without notice.