Chicago's bar scene is, in a word, democratic. It runs the gamut from the humblest shot-and-a-beer neighborhood dives to some of the most august and innovative craft cocktail destinations in the country. Award-winning brewpubs and tap-lined bars put forth ambitious craft beer programs, and a relatively small but growing set of smart, sommelier-driven spots are turning their wine-enthusiast patrons onto exciting new juice.
With all this variety, there's bound to be a place that can satisfy your thirst while also appealing to your sensibilities. But, man, there are a lot of bars here! To help make sense of the current scene, we've polled 10 of Chicago's most well-respected cocktail bartenders to find out what are their favorite watering holes—the places they choose to patronize when they're off the clock.
All told, they cited more than 30 venues, several of which were "favorited" by more multiple bartenders (much love to Rootstock!)—and a few more that may have been flying under your radar for years (Won Kow—say what?). Check out the slideshow to see what they had to say about what makes their favorite bars so near and dear to their hearts.
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