For years, Rush Street and Division Street in Chicago’s swanky Gold Coast neighborhood has been a popular hangout for all sorts of crowds, especially on the weekends. On any given night, you can count on plenty of partying alongside college kids, bachelor and bachelorette parties, older businessmen from out of town enjoying the city, and of course all of those that come in from the ‘burbs.
Here you’re not going to find any fancy high-end nightclubs selling $10 beers and $500 bottles of Grey Goose Vodka. The whole block is lined with relatively small, homey, local bars where everyone shares the same intentions: to have some drinks, socialize, people-watch, and have a good time. If you’re heading to Chicago for a night out, check out a few of my top 10 picks for the best places to party around Rush and Division — guaranteed to give you a good time out in the Windy City.
#1 The Leg Room
My #1 choice for a great night out. It’s definitely a step up from the typical watering hole. Here you’ll find funky lounge furniture, a free-floating bar, and a free jukebox to enjoy along with your martinis. The average drink in this semi-classy establishment is still only around $6. Don’t be surprised if you wind up running into some of the city’s best known sports players or even a few opponents in town for a weekend series. Several times when I was enjoying a weekend night out, I ran into Brian Urlacher. How cool is that?!
#2 The Lodge at 21 W. Division
For those that are out to drink beer and hang out with friends, The Lodge is a Chicago tradition. Patrons can enjoy free chili and an unlimited supply of peanuts (feel free to leave the shells anywhere you wish). There’s even a mini bowling alley for those that want to show off their skills, or lack thereof.
#3 Butch McGuire’s
Butch McGuire’s has long been known as the place to go if you’re single. It’s a casual Irish pub that features a huge beer list, a beer of the month, and food and drink specials every day of the week.
#4 The Hangge-Uppe
Get there early or you’ll be waiting in line. Inside there are five bars spread out over two floors. The lower level is for those that prefer a mix of 50?s through 80?s rock and disco, while upstairs you can dance to modern hits. Unlike most of the bars on Rush and Division, The Hangge-Uppe charges a $5 cover, but it’s well worth it. I have been there for many bachelorette parties, and I have always had a blast.
This is a great place to relax with a group of friends, listen to live music, sing karaoke, or dance the night away. Mothers was even featured in the 1986 classic About Last Night with Demi Moore and Rob Lowe.
#6 She-Nannigans House of Beer
This hot-spot has big dance floors and even allows bar-top dancing for those that crave attention. Partiers can dance all night to just about every type of music you can imagine.
#7 Mahoney’s Pub
Here you can play the Wii, shoot pool, challenge your friends or other bar guests to a game of shuffleboard, or play some Golden Tee. It’s not an easy place to leave — many come for lunch and end up making an entire night out of it.
#8 Finn McCool’s
This is a pretty cool pub that serves up awesome traditional Irish food and spirits.
#9 Dublin Bar and Grill
It’s a very cool place with loads of outdoor seating, perfect for people-watching in the summer. The drinks are stiff and the staff is awesome.
Expect to be lured in with the offering of free shots. Who can resist that? The DJ plays Top 40 hits and actually takes requests, unlike most of the other places around.
There’s definitely a lot of fun to be had in the Gold Coast. Whether you live in Chicago or are just in for the night, give one of these party places a try. You won’t be disappointed.