Slideshow: Where Bartenders Drink in Chicago

Alexander Bachman of Yusho
Alexander Bachman of Yusho
Favorite Cocktail Bars: Longman & Eagle; Scofflaw

That's a tough call, but I love our neighbors in Logan Square; Longman & Eagle and Scofflaw would both be at the top for me. Danny and his crew [at Scofflaw] can roll with the best of them—his Negroni prep is one of the best I have ever had. Their respect for base spirit and consistent execution of drinks with great concentration and balance is something that I really admire. Longman & Eagle, too, with guys like Derek Alexander and Charlie Schott, they crank out some serious drinks. Whether on their menu or a dealer's choice, it's hard to go wrong. I was a really big fan of their Lemon Hart daiquiris during the summer months, along with the Violet Buck and a stirred rye drink they had called The Last Exit to Brooklyn. Myself and the rest of the team do spend a good deal of time there, after work or on our days off, and we have all come to have a great deal of respect for the service and products that they provide.

Longman & Eagle: 2657 North Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-276-7110; longmanandeagle.com

Scofflaw: 3201 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-252-9700; scofflawchicago.com

Favorite Dive Bar: Danny's Tavern

Danny's in Bucktown, hands down. Terry Alexander and Michael Noon own this killer bar identified by the iconic Schlitz sign over the front door. It sits on a narrow tree-lined stretch of Dickens off of Armitage. Looks and feels more like a house party you actually want to be at more than a bar most of the time. The bar sits right inside the front door and they are always quick on the trigger for what you are in the mood for. It opens up to small dance floor with additional seating in smaller adjacent rooms and hallways. Quality beer selection, killer soul music during the middle of the week, and Fernet is enough for me on a day off. They have featured DJs through the week and the dance floor has become an endless source of entertainment for us, especially when one or more of our intoxicated team members decide to try and cut a rug.

1951 West Dickens Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-489-6457

Favorite Bar for Beer: Local Option

So many great beer bars in Chicago, but Local Option in Lincoln Park is at the top for me. I remember hopping on beermenus.com my first week back in Chicago last year, trying to find a place to drink some Cantillon and didn't believe it when 10-plus selections showed up along with Fantome, Westvleteren, 3 Fonteinen, and every other rock star Belgian beer around. I called a friend of mine and went into something of joyful and inquisitive rant about when this once typical Lincoln Park watering hole I remembered turned into a beer nerd's paradise. To call the people who work there knowledgeable is a gross understatement; I still find myself having no idea what they are talking about half the time, but I know their really isn't a bad beer in the mix. LOVE IT!

1102 West Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-348-2008; localoptionbier.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Rootstock

Rootstock in Humboldt Park is my go-to for wine. Tonya, Jamie, Duncan, and John run not only one of the best wine bars in Chicago, but one of the most welcoming service environments that you can easily find yourself in for four to five hours—it's happened to me many times. An extremely well chosen and priced wine list, among the best in the city, and they are great lovers of Old World wines with driven acidity and high-toned aromatics. Grüner and Riesling find their homes here; last time I was there we drank '07 Spätlese from Carl Schmidt Wagner for 40 something a bottle, among other selections from producers such as Donnhoff, Leitz, and Nikolaihof. The food is equally well done; Duncan Biddulph's food is extremely well composed and the flavor profiles you find certainly speak to someone who has a strong understanding of beverage pairing. The menu changes with a great pace, with the exception of the mussels and burger, due to the fact that they might have a small riot on their hands if they tried to pull them. Hanger steak and mackerel also stand out along with their cheese and charcuterie selection. The only thing I would advise is have at least two other people with you if you are going try and take a run at their charcuterie plate.

954 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-292-1616; rootstockbar.com

[Photograph: Matthias Merges]

Stephen Cole of The Barrelhouse Flat
Stephen Cole of The Barrelhouse Flat
Favorite Cocktail Bar: The Whistler

I would have to say my favorite cocktail bar in Chicago would be The Whistler in Logan Square. Great live music, amazing cocktails, and an open patio in the back. The entire staff is super nice and all of them are friends of mine. If it's a nice sunny day and I still have a lot of work to do, it's almost a guarantee that I'm on the back patio, working on my computer, having a Mezcal Last Word, cigarette, and a smile on my face.

2421 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-227-3530; whistlerchicago.com

Favorite Dive Bar: Danny's Tavern

Danny's Tavern was the first bar that I went to when I moved to Chicago almost seven years ago. This place has great beer and a decent whiskey collection. Every night they have a DJ spinning vinyl and the music varies every night. Hell, one night DJ Shadow was in there, and I heard that the year before that Bjork song. Almost a year ago I moved crawling distance to here, which was the best and the worst idea that I could ever have.

1951 West Dickens Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-489-6457

Favorite Bar for Beer: The Publican

I'm going to go with Publican on this. My good friend Michael McAvena put together a great beer program. The place is massive and they have some of the best food in the city.

837 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-733-9555; thepublicanrestaurant.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Telegraph Wine Bar

My girlfriend knows too much about wine, so I trust her taste on places to go to. Probably our favorite in the city is Telegraph.

2601 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-292-1616; telegraphchicago.com

[Photograph: Jesse LiRola]

Robby Haynes of The Violet Hour
Robby Haynes of The Violet Hour
Favorite Cocktail Bars: Scofflaw; Won Kow Restaurant

This is a tough one. I make and taste so many drinks, usually the last thing I want to do on my night off is have a cocktail. I imagine it's what a Major League Baseball player would feel like going to the batting cages after a game or how a doctor feels when he meets up with a buddy after work and the buddy says, "So I have this rash, can you take a look at it?" This isn't always the case though. Last weekend I went to Scofflaw, and it's pretty terrific. They have an awesome swizzle on the menu and the pork loin sandwich is about as good as it gets. And then there's Won Kow in Chinatown. I heard it's been around since the '20s. They have some amazing tiki drinks, umbrellas, volcano bowls, Fog-Cutters, Scorpions. I imagine whoever came up with that list is long gone. If not, and you see this, COME BY THE BAR AND SAY HELLO. First one is on me. Won Kow!

Scofflaw: 3201 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-252-9700; scofflawchicago.com

Won Kow:2237 South Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 (map); 312-842-7500; wonkowrestaurant.com

Favorite Dive Bar: The Charleston; Danny's Tavern

The Charleston/Danny's combo in Bucktown is my favorite. I'm not sure if I would call either of these "dives" though. More like great neighborhood bars with awesome music and staff. The move is to grab a couple of drinks at the Charleston (and maybe a shot or two), then hike it up the street to Danny's, take another shot and "dance." Full disclosure: I CANNOT dance, but for some reason that's okay. The dance floor is tight and packed, the lights are low enough, and, after a few drinks, I'm pretty sure no one notices or cares that for the last thirty minutes, I've been continuously shuffling my feet and swaying side to side out of rhythm while holding my beer and trying to look indifferent and sexy at the same time. Once, I even broke a sweat!

The Charleston: 2076 North Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-489-4757; charlestonchicago.com

Danny's Tavern: 1951 West Dickens Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-489-6457

Favorite Bars for Beer: The Publican; Map Room

It seems like just about everyone has a good beer list these days. Beer and oysters at the Publican is a good way to start an evening. Map Room also has a ton of good beers. If you’re out west there's the Burlington. Honestly though, the best place to have a good beer is at my house. Alone. It's underneath the El but there's a fridge and a couch and easily the best coffee table in the city. Last time I had some people over to play poker, I lost 40 bucks. My buddy Andy left a couple of Hi-Lifes though and I'm pretty sure there's still one in the fridge. I have a TV and an X-Box and Netflix and someday soon, when I have the time, I'm gonna park my ass on couch, kick my feet up, turn on the TV and drink that Hi-Life. Now that’s a good beer.

The Publican: 837 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (map); 312-733-9555; thepublicanrestaurant.com

The Map Room: 1949 North Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-252-7636; maproom.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Rootstock

I bet I drink about 10 glasses of wine each year, mostly on Thanksgiving. The only other time I drink wine is when I go to Rootstock. I love this place. My ex-girlfriend and I used to come here all the time. We broke up and she moved right down the street from it. That was pretty rough; I didn't go there for a year. I got the TV, and she got Rootstock. We are friends now, which is great. I went back to Rootstock for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was even better than I had remembered.

954 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-292-1616; rootstockbar.com

[Photograph: Eden Laurin]

 Erin Hayes of Perennial Virant
Erin Hayes of Perennial Virant
Favorite Cocktail Bar: Scofflaw

Scofflaw is maybe the most comfortable, welcoming, and cozy cocktail bar I have ever been to. Danny Shapiro's cocktails are incredible, and he and his staff are fun to watch and engaging. They are gin-focused but offer a great selection of other spirits, beer, and wine so there is something for everyone. Most nights when I leave work I find my mouth watering for a Veranda Way or one of Danny's Old Fashioneds.

3201 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-252-9700; scofflawchicago.com

Favorite Dive Bar: Whirlaway Lounge

This bar looks like my grandparents' basement in the best way possible. Couches, board games, and photo collages of regulars from throughout the years line the walls. Decent selection of beer and generous pours of whiskey are always nice, but what keeps me going back is Maria. Maria is the owner and is pretty much always behind the bar; she is the sweetest woman in the universe. Even if I haven't been in for months she remembers me, and genuinely wants to hear about what's new. She remembers every person who sits at her bar and loves us all like her kids, how's that for hospitality?!

3224 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-276-6809; whirlaway.net

Favorite Bar for Beer: Hopleaf

It's well worth the trek from my neighborhood to get to Hopleaf if I am looking for some excellent beer. Consider yourself lucky to get a seat at the bar. Ridiculously awesome (and HUGE) selection of craft beers from local and international breweries on tap and in bottle. Always a fun crowd, the staff is super knowledgeable and the food is delicious as well!

5148 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 (map); 773-334-9851; hopleaf.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Telegraph Wine Bar

They have a huge selection of small production and non-traditional wines from all over the world. I can go there and try something I've never heard of or tasted before. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and gracious, always willing to talk through parings and offer tastes of unfamiliar wines. Price points range all across the board, but you can certainly drink great wine and have awesome food within a reasonable budget.

2601 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-292-1616; telegraphchicago.com

[Photograph: Perennial Virant]

Lynn House of Blackbird
Lynn House of Blackbird
Favorite Cocktail Bar: The Drawing Room

There are so many amazing cocktail bars in this city: The Violet Hour, Sable, Barrelhouse Flat, The Whistler...however I must admit the cocktail bar that has the fondest place in my heart is The Drawing Room. I was one of the original three Master Bartenders and was there from day one and watched it grow into a nationally acclaimed bar. The staff is always friendly; they are professional without any pretense. It's a bar I can show up to by myself and always have a good laugh. The cocktails are pretty great, as well.

937 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611 (map); 312-266-2694; thedrchicago.com

Favorite Dive Bar: L & L Tavern

Inexpensive, great beers, and always a place to sit.

3207 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60657 (map); 773-528-1303

Favorite Bar for Beer: The Fountainhead

They have an amazing bottle, can, and draft selection. The all-can list on the upstairs deck is fantastic, and I love the atmosphere. It also does not hurt that it's just two blocks down the street from my house.

1970 West Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613 (map); 773-697-8204; fountainheadchicago.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Webster's Wine Bar

Webster's is by far the best place in town to get a great glass of wine. Their bottle list is fabulous, but I love exploring and experiencing different wines throughout the course of a night. Their glass pour list has always been delicious and full of fun discoveries. The staff is friendly, approachable and possess an amazing wealth of knowledge. Their passion about wine is always apparent.

1480 West Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-868-0608; websterwinebar.com

[Photograph: Clayton Blaha]

 Jenny Kessler of Masa Azul
Jenny Kessler of Masa Azul
Favorite Cocktail Bar: Rodan

Rodan was the first bar I went to when I moved here 10 years ago and it's cool to see the evolution. Eric [Chaleff] is doing really rad drinks and has a low-key attitude about it. He is always experimenting, creating syrups/bitters, and working with things I would never think of. Eric knows his shit, love that guy.

1530 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-276-7036; rodanchicago.com

Favorite Dive Bar: Zakopane

Hmm, I wouldn't call it a dive bar, but I like Zakopane on Division. It is great for people watching and music. Never a dull moment.

1734 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-486-1559

Favorite Bar for Beer: Jerry's Sandwiches

Nick [Bondhi] is always bringing on new beers and everyone who works there can explain every beer and they always let you sample before you commit. I love to try new things, excellent beer and people.

1938 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-235-1006; jerryssandwiches.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Rootstock

Great vibe and they make the decisions before you walk in the door regarding their wine list. It's rare you hand the keys over and let people drive for you. Rootstock can always take me on a wine trip.

954 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-292-1616; rootstockbar.com

[Photograph: Ashton Reyes]

Mike Ryan of Sable Kitchen & Bar
Mike Ryan of Sable Kitchen & Bar
Favorite Cocktail Bars: The Barrelhouse Flat

At the moment, my favorite cocktail bar in Chicago is probably The Barrelhouse Flat. The attention to detail, comfortable surroundings, great food, and incredibly friendly staff make for a wonderful experience whether I'm in the mood for a well-constructed cocktail or a late night beer and shot.

2624 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-857-0421; barrelhouseflat.com

Favorite Dive Bars: Richard's; Rose's Lounge; Rossi's

I do love dive bars. Richard's, on Milwaukee and Grand, has long been a favorite of mine; as is Rose's, on Lincoln. At the moment though when I crave the simplicity of cheap beer and loud music I usually find myself at Rossi's, on State Street—probably the last real dive bar left in River North. Solid jukebox, impressive lineup of beers, and a rowdy crowd, how can you go wrong?

Richard's: 491 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654 (map); 312-733-2251

Rose's: 2656 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-327-4000

Rossi's: 412 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654 (map); 312-644-5775

Favorite Bar for Beer: Bangers & Lace; Bar Deville

Almost anywhere! That's kind of amazing, really, that you can get truly great beer in almost any half decent bar in the city. My favorites right now are Bangers & Lace, which absolutely lacks pretension and sports a regularly rotating selection of local and craft brews, and Bar Deville, which is also just a great gathering place and straddles that line between local watering hole and destination bar.

Bangers & Lace: 1670 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-252-6499; bangersandlacechicago.com

Bar Deville: 701 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 312-929-2349; bardeville.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Rootstock

I'll confess that I'm less of a wine drinker these days, being more of a spirits and cerveza kind of guy, but Rootstock, on California, is my current go-to for a glass when I'm feeling classy; last time I was there they had a Cabernet Franc from Barboursville Vineyards in Virginia, off the by the glass list—one of my favorite American reds and surprisingly tasty.

954 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-292-1616; rootstockbar.com

[Photograph: David Sampson]

 Danny Shapiro of Scofflaw
Danny Shapiro of Scofflaw
Favorite Cocktail Bar: The Whistler

Creative drinks, a welcoming vibe, and diverse musical programming. My favorite nights to go: Relax Attack Jazz Series, Movieoke, and Lawrence Peters' Country Throw-Down. Bottom line: the people who work at The Whistler care about The Whistler and it shows.

2421 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-227-3530; whistlerchicago.com

Favorite Dive Bar: Loncar's Liquors

Perfect hole in the wall: no windows, no frills, and most importantly, no risk of running into anyone who you know. Come for cheap beers and solace, stay for the wacky personalities and fried things. Wednesday nights offer special crispy tacos for a whopping buck fifty a piece.

3201 East 92nd Street, Chicago, IL 60617 (map); 773-734-3933

Favorite Bar for Beer: Map Room

Talk about beer selection and beer knowledge—I don't know any place better. There are some others like Hopleaf and Fountainhead that are in the same league, but Map Room is my No. 1.

1949 North Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (map); 773-252-7636; maproom.com

Favorite Wine Bar: Rootstock

Wonderful service and a wonderful selection to boot. I don't know nearly as much about wine as I'd like, and the staff here, time and time again, has had no problem educating me in a kind and patient manner. And the food! Do not forget about the food. Their charcuterie and cheese game is on point. Such a beautiful place in an unexpected land. Clearly, I'm a huge fan of these oasis-type destinations.

954 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-292-1616; rootstockbar.com

[Photograph: Shelby Allison]