The Best Polish Bars in Chicago

Polish beer
Polish beer | © Sven van Bellen / Pexels

Alongside its array of Polish restaurants, Polish bars dot Chicago’s west and north neighborhoods, where locals wash down pierogis with imported beer and vodka. Most Polish restaurants have a decent selection of Polish drinks but close early, so these are the best bars, pubs, and clubs for an authentic Polish night out in the city. Na zdrowie!

1. Karolinka Club

Bar, Polish, Beer

Right next to Chicago’s Midway Airport, the Karolinka Club has a friendly atmosphere and staff that will make you feel at home as they pour you a drink. Polish beers include Stawski, Okocim, and Zywiec, and there are Polish liquors too. The food is also authentic, so order some traditional Polish pierogi, Polish sausage and potato pancakes with your drink.

2. Podlasie Club

Bar, Polish, Beer

The Podlasie Club in Logan Square is not only another great Polish dive bar, but it’s one of the best places to hear some authentic polka on a Saturday night. Polka music and dancing originated in Eastern European countries such as Poland in the 19th century and became especially prevalent in the Midwest, with the International Polka Association based in Chicago.

3. Bim Bom Lounge

Bar, Polish, Beer

With a strange and extravagant sheet metal exterior, you’d never suspect that inside Bim Bom Lounge is a Polish dive bar with foosball, pool, and a killer jukebox, but it’s all part of a heavy metal theme by a local Polish artist. Attracting a younger Polish crowd than most places, it’s also famous for the porno-covered bathroom walls and its big selection of Polish beer and liquor.

4. Ola’s Liquors

Bar, Polish, Beer

Open early and late, Ola’s Liquors, a liquor store, also has a dive bar offering a small selection of Polish and American draft beer at dirt cheap prices, so grab a drink even if you were just picking up something from the store. Located between Ukrainian Village and Noble Square, it’s a more straightforward proposition than many bars in this gentrifying neighborhood. The Zimne Piwo sign outside is Polish for cold beer.

5. Zakopane

Bar, Polish, Greek

This Division Street institution ticks all the typical dive bar boxes, from the slightly off-putting smell and the out-of-date décor to the pool table and jukebox. However, Zakopane still attracts Chicago’s Polish community, as well as a random mix of others, and there’s a well-stocked bar that includes Polish beer and spirits. Drinks are super cheap, but don’t forget that the bar is cash-only.

6. Smakosz Restaurant and Lounge

Restaurant, Polish, European

Out in Portage Park, Smakosz is a low-key, family-owned place full of locals and regulars enjoying a traditional experience. You’ll hear as many customers speaking Polish as English, and the menu is offered in both languages. They have Okocim Polish beer on draft, and Zywiec, Lech, and Perla by the bottle, as well as Sobieski and Zubrowka vodka and grzaniec, Polish spiced wine.

7. Staropolska Restaurant

Restaurant, Polish, American, European

While predominantly a restaurant and one of Chicago’s best for Polish food, Staropolska on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square has a well-stocked bar with a decent Polish selection. The décor is like a lodge with the spoils of hunting, giving it an old-world feel and making it almost a theme bar. If you get hungry, the great food is an obvious bonus.

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