The Run Down

Every neighborhood has that one classic Chicago corner bar that everyone loves. For this guide, we're visiting three neighborhoods and their corner dives for an epic night of cheap drinks, pool, and good times. Here are the details.

1. Beer and a Shot @ Archie's Tavern

2. Cocktails @ Inner Town Pub

3. Nightcap @ Chipp Inn

1. Archie’s Tavern

Our evening starts at this shot and beer bar in Humboldt Park. Like each of the places we’re visiting tonight, Archie’s Tavern has a long history that dates back more than 75 years.

Now four generations in, Katrina Arthur, the great-granddaughter of the original owner, runs the show behind the bar.

After you cross through the panel of red neon lights that guard the front door, you’ll find yourself in a place that seems unfazed by time. How it looks today is pretty much how it looked two decades ago. There’s a pool table, a few tables and chairs, and somebody behind the bar willing to sell a beer and a shot of whiskey for $6.

In terms of beer, while Hamm’s is the drink of choice for most, their selection also includes a nice roundup of craft beers from local places like Pipeworks, Half Acre, and Spiteful Brewing.

A few last notes about the place.

– It’s cash only, but they have an ATM in the back if needed
– Dog-friendly, so bring your buddy along with you
– Free pool
– Old school jukebox next to the ATM
– Bring Your Own Food

2. Inner Town Pub

Our next stop is Innertown Pub, about a 5-minute cab ride from Archie’s. It’s in the neighboring Ukrainian Village neighborhood and tucked away in a quiet residential side street. While Archie’s and Inner Town Pub are both technically considered corner bar dives, the vibe here is completely different.

The modern-day Inner Town Pub was founded in the 1980s as a bar for artists and creatives looking for a space to sling back a few drinks. That ethos is still intact today, and it grips you right when you walk through the doors. The bar itself acts as one giant canvas with string lights and tiffany-stained glass, painting the space in a soft technicolored glow. 

If you’re looking to switch things up from beer, their bartenders make a mean fancy cocktail. One of their specials is the Oaxacan Tail, a coffee cocktail made from mezcal, artisanal, cynar, ancho liquor, house-made clarified espresso liquor, xocolatl mole bitters, and orange peel. Not something you’d expect from a dive, but this was much appreciated.

If the art and antiques weren’t enough, know of any other dive bar screening Kurosowa’s ‘Seven Samurai’ in the background?

A few more things to note, which is basically a copy and paste of Archie’s:

– It’s cash only, but they have an ATM in the back if needed
– Dog-friendly, so bring your buddy along with you
– Free pool in the back (you can sort of make it out in the picture below)
– Juke Box
– Bring Your Own Food

3. Chipp Inn

This is the last corner bar of the night. We’re at Chipp Inn, the oldest of the bunch, and clocking in at over 100 years old. As you make your way here, the last couple of blocks have you going through these narrow residential side streets that double as an alleyway at certain parts.

If it’s your first time coming here, you might think you’re going the wrong way, but trust Google Maps, and you’ll soon find yourself at this wonderful tiny dive bar.

Like Archie’s, this is a cash-only beer and shot bar where you can stretch $10 into a pretty decent nightcap to close out the evening. However, unlike Archie’s and Inner Town Pub, Chipp Inn won’t let your dog hang out inside. Keep that in mind if you were thinking about bringing your pal along.   

If you couldn’t get a game of pool in at our previous stops, maneuver past the bar, and you’ll find a backroom with a $0.50/game pool table available for play.

Don’t have enough money for a game? Ask your friends to ‘chip in’…..That pun may not be funny now, but I assure you it will kill with your friends at the end of this dive bar crawl.