CHICAGO HAPPY HOURS The Best Places to Indulge After Work

From 1989 to 2015, Happy hour drink specials had been banned under Illinois law. But, Happy Hour Days are here again; Prohibition is over. For the last two years, Chicago bars have not only embraced the return of the classic, celebratory after-work drinking time, but reinvented it. Happy hours now offer an array of craft beer, wine, cocktails and chef-driven food. Then again, if one wants to eat chicken nuggets and down a shot of bourbon, Chicago is still your kind of town.

Happy Hour: Mon - Thurs, 5pm - 7pm

Who says you have to be a kid to get chicken nuggets? For one single dollar, you can enjoy nuggets in West Town and then wash it down with either a Crooked Tree IPA ($3) or Rolling Rock ($2). Additionally, indulge in the Deep-Fried Deviled Egg ($4) and a cocktail made with bourbon, Benedictine, and Amaro ($5).

Headquarters Beercade
Happy Hour: 5pm - 8pm

What could be better than drinking beer and playing arcade games? Each day of the week guests can enjoy something new like Can You Dig It? Tuesdays where all canned beers are just $4 or the always entertaining Savage Bingo on Wednesdays.

Happy Hour: Mon - Fri, 4pm - 6pm.

Lawry’s SideDoor—located next door to the main restaurant—always has great beer and cocktails on-hand to complement its delicious food. During happy hour, the cozy gastropub satisfies imbibers by providing half priced draft beers, half priced bartender’s call seasonal cocktails, and half priced select wine.

Happy Hour: Tues - Thurs, 5pm to 8pm; Fri - Sat, 5pm to 9pm.

For five dollars, you can have either a Tallboy or Well Drink during Happy Hour. Additionally, on Friday and Saturdays, hang on just an hour longer for the rotating DJ’s that start at 9pm, or to head downstairs to The Rec Room.

I|O Godfrey (Godfrey Hotel)
Happy Hour: Mon - Fri, 3pm - 6pm

The retractable glass roof over the I|O Godfrey patio makes it an all-season indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge. Happy hour specials include Prime Beef Sliders with bacon jam, blue cheese, and fries ($9) and a Spicy Tuna Maki with chili oil, tobanjan, and spicy mayo ($6). Guests may also sip on select wines and Absolut cocktails for just six dollars!

Marshall’s Landing at Merchandise Mart Plaza
Happy Hour: Mon - Thurs, 4:30pm - 6:30pm (Friday 1pm - 6pm)

The recently opened 12,000-square-foot, slick-looking lounge inside the MART presents Happy Hour guests with $5 select drafts and $5 bar snacks like Angry Chicken Fries with Sriracha and ranch and Deviled Eggs with tuna and BBQ Pickles. Thirsty Thursdays include a chance to indulge in unique Spirits Flights: Macallan Scotches ($25), Japanese Whiskeys ($35), and Gins ($15). Or, try the Sparkle & Pop, a glass of brut or rose sparkling and a bowl of truffle popcorn ($8). Meanwhile, cocktail lovers will enjoy Basil Hayden's Cocktails ($10).

Old Town Pour House
Happy Hour: Mon - Fri, 4pm to 6pm

The immense beer selection at Old Town Pour House screams “happy hour,” and don’t forget to check out the old-school game room downstairs. There are Apps & Taps specials ($4), or bring a big group and share the 1.5 lb Bavarian Giant Pretzel. Guests can also enjoy the day’s selections of tap beers or red or white wine at half price and enjoy menu items such as pretzel bites with IPA gouda cheese sauce; beer battered fried pickles, cheese curds; and its Firecracker Rolls with 'spiedie' marinated spicy Cajun chicken.

The Boundary
Happy Hour: Mon - Fri, 5 pm - 7 pm

The $4 Apps & Taps specials consist of tap beer from the day’s rotating selection or a red or white wine at half price. Four bucks also gets you some pretzel bites with sea salt and beer cheese sauce, cornmeal battered cheese curds, mac & cheese squares and baked spinach dip with artichokes and parmesan cheese.

Happy Hour: Mon - Thurs, 5pm to 7pm

The River North, globally-inspired cocktail bar offers fans a House Old Fashioned “at the bartender’s whim, fingers crossed” ($8), Rotating Seasonal Mule “bartenders playing with vodka” ($6) or the El Chingadera, a rotating and seasonal punch ($7). Guests can also enjoy Arbella’s selection of international street food during happy hour with Flatbreads ($5) on Mondays, Crispy Shrimp Tempura Tacos on Tuesdays ($6), Korean Fried Chicken on Wednesdays ($8) and Shrimp and Pork Cha Gio on Thursdays ($7).

The Gwen
Happy Hour: Daily from 4pm to 6pm

The slick-looking bar upstairs at The Gwen offers craft beer ($6) and cocktails or wine ($9). While drinking, snack on curated bites such as the $6 Edamame Hummus ($6) or Burrata Flatbread ($9). Wednesdays (5:30 - 8:30pm) feature live jazz, while DJs guide the fun on Fridays and Saturdays (5:30 - 8:30pm).

Lobby Lounge at JW Marriott Chicago
Happy Hour: Mon - Fri, 5pm - 7pm.

Though located in the financial district, it doesn’t take an economist to know that $5 appetizers are a good deal. Enjoy fresh flatbreads and Spice Honey Truffle Chicken Bites, to name a few. Drink specials include craft beer on Monday or all draft beer on Thursday ($6), craft cocktails on Friday ($7), and wine on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

20 East
Happy Hour: Mon - Fri, 3pm to 6pm

Found within the newly renovated Talbott Hotel, the new 20 East caters to every type of diner with its modern take on American fare. Enjoy beer from such breweries as Allagash, Half Acre, Brooklyn and Lagunitas. Or, for something more refined, 20 East offers half-priced select glasses of bubbles and boards that include the Delice de Bourgogne Cheese Board with strawberry preserves and fines herbs and Burrata with fresh tomatoes, garlic bread, extra virgin olive oil, and basil.

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