The Best Chicago Bars To Visit In Winter

Christmas ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo  | © WikiCommons
Christmas ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo | © WikiCommons
Photo of Elizabeth Newhart
30 November 2016

If you’re in need of some quick holiday cheer, duck into one of these welcoming Chicago bars this winter. They’ll keep you sheltered from the snow, sleet and frigid temperatures whilst maintaining the Christmas magic with signature Chicago cheer.

Butch McGuire’s

Bar, Restaurant, Irish, $$$
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Since 1961 Butch McGuire’s has been serving up a healthy dose of Christmas spirit on the Gold Coast. All year round they’re a fantastic Irish bar with delicious food and a friendly atmosphere, but the winter is something special. Every year they decorate the bar with ‘a stunning array of lights, garland, quirky mobiles, and two double-decker trains that run throughout the main bar and antique room,’ in what has become a definitive Chicago Christmas tradition. Don’t miss it.

Streeter’s Tavern

Bar, Pub Grub
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There’s no cozier feeling than stepping off the Magnificent Mile after a twinkling light-led stroll and descending into an underground tavern. Streeter’s on Chicago Avenue is quaint, wood-paneled, tucked away and a whole lot of fun. Come here for great throwback music, giant jenga, pool, beer pong, foosball and cheap drinks to warm you up.

Sidetrack

Bar, Nightclub, Gay Bar, American, $$$
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Sidetrack is a fan-favorite gay bar in Boystown that fully commits to the Christmas lifestyle. The bar and nightclub complex is comprised of three levels and 11 different areas for drinking and dancing. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but every year they hire a designer to cover it in Christmas cheer from head to toe. It’s usually themed and includes statues, lights, ornaments and outdoor decor. This year they even included their championship neighbors the Cubs into the design.

The Red Lion Pub

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, British, American, $$$
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Escape from Chicago and transport yourself to the English countryside. This authentic British pub comes with all the bells and whistles. Come to the Red Lion Pub to lounge in a cushy armchair by the fireplace during the day, grab a traditional, hearty English dinner with friends, or stay late into the night drinking all the imported ale and cider you can handle. It has two full levels of lounge and dining space, so there’s plenty of room for everyone to heat up near one of their three roaring fires.

Augie’s Booze and Schmooze

Bar, American
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In West Lincoln Park is Augie’s low-key neighborhood hangout. They go all out with decorations for every major holiday, making them a worthy stop on Valentine’s Day, Halloween and the like, but Christmas is their crowning joy. Fake snow, miniature winter villages, blow-up holiday figures, running toy trains, hanging ornaments and as many twinkling lights as they can possibly fit stuff the bar with holiday cheer all throughout the season. It’s a great place to toss back a drink with friends and plan your Christmas photo op.

Pippin’s Tavern

Bar, American
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One of the best ‘dive-y’ bars downtown is definitely Pippin’s. At just one block west of Michigan Avenue, you’d never expect to find an Irish pub so comforting in such a ritzy part of town. Grab a wiener next door from Downtown Dogs and cozy up at one of their small tables. The multicolored lights that hang outside all year round fit right in with your holiday spirit.