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Celeste
Photograph: Courtesy of Celeste

The best late-night Chicago bars open until 4am

Still up and ready to drink at 2am? You'll need to move the party to one of Chicago's 4am bars.

Zach Long
Jeffy Mai
Written by
Zach Long
&
Jeffy Mai
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When the clock hits 2am in Chicago, your night on the town doesn't have to end. While most bars in the city have to close up shop two hours after midnight, a few local watering holes are able to stay open until 4am each night (and until 5am on Saturdays!). These late–night establishments are scattered throughout the city, but you'll find dive bars, a few karaoke bars and some nightclubs where you can keep the party going until just before the sun comes up. Have a cup of coffee and peruse our list of the best Chicago bars that stay open until 4am or later.

RECOMMENDED: Find the best late-night restaurants in Chicago

Late nights bars in Chicago

Estelle’s
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Wicker Park
  • price 1 of 4

Not feeling Subterranean’s music for the night? Can’t take the hipper-than-thou crowd at Rainbo? Head to this low-key sanctuary in the Milwaukee-North-Damen intersection. No one’s trying to out-cool anyone here (though late at night, they’re definitely trying to pick each other up), so feel free to strike up a conversation with a stranger over some tasty late-night bar eats.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Old Town
  • price 1 of 4

Among the framed drawings cluttering the wooden walls of this saloon-style staple are posters boasting that you’re in “le premiere dive bar” of Chicago. This was one of Anthony Bourdain's favorite bars in the city—the kind of spot where you'll find Second City students and company members mingling with the Old Town bar crowd. If you want to meet some interesting people at 3am on a Saturday night, this is a good place to start.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Avondale
  • price 1 of 4

Look for the red awning at the corner of Belmont and Central Park and stumble into one of the city's most popular spots for late-night karaoke. The booze here is cheap, the surroundings are dive-tastic and the sing-alongs can become deafening in the wee hours of the morning. The queue for karaoke typically fills up early in the evening, so don't show up at 2am expecting to belt out “Don't Stop Believin” before last call unless you're prepared to generously tip the DJ.

  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 1 of 4

This Lincoln Park club has an unusual setup—two different bands in two different rooms on two different stages, with performances that run late into the evening. Expect to find local rock and blues bands playing standards such as "(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man," though the club occasionally books out-of-town acts as well.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • River North
  • price 3 of 4

4am bars aren't exactly difficult to find in River North, but few boast the refined atmosphere of Celeste. You can come here and drink beer if you like, but the cocktails are the star of the show—if you've already tied one on, coming here after 2am is only going to increase your chances of a debilitating hangover.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Rush & Division
  • price 2 of 4

As soon as you walk into this place it’s obvious that everyone has had enough drinks to consider you their best friend—and they know every single lyric to every single song. The first floor caters to the hip hop and Top 40 crowd, while the lower level gives you sing-a-long ’80s rock. If you can maneuver your way through the late-night dancing crowd, you’ll agree: This place always delivers a good time.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Logan Square
  • price 1 of 4

Weeknights are low-key at this retro dive from the Estelle’s folks, but the room fill up by midnight on weekends and stay packed until the 4am closing time (5am on Saturdays). Cheap drinks and less-cheap craft beers abound at all times, hipster tunes rule the jukebox, there’s a dance floor in back lined with mirrors and, if all that doesn’t do it for you, there’s a waterfall—a waterfall!—behind the bar.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Wrigleyville
  • price 2 of 4

Originally on the fourth floor of the magnificent Wrigleyville building that houses Metro, this venerable club now ushers revelers to its subterranean home. Smart Bar's 4am license means that parties and DJ sets can stretch into the morning, with headlining acts sometimes taking the stage well after midnight. Show up Thursday through Sunday for sets from local selectors as well as touring DJs from around the world.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Humboldt Park
  • price 1 of 4

In its past life as Hiawatha (a.k.a. Pizza Lounge), the only thing you’d pick up here was a six-pack of cheap beer to lug next door for a chicken dinner at Feed. Now, the 100-year-old dive has transformed into a slick little enclave for the late-night crowd to scope each other out and suck down the last liquor of the night to the tune of the DJ’s all-rock repertoire.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • South Shore
  • price 2 of 4

The entry process is rather rigorous, but it’s worth it for strong drinks and a friendly LGBT vibe. We've watched crowds groove to hip hop and house while also chatting and canoodling on the sidelines. Plus, it's one of the few bars with a 4am license on the South Side.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Lincoln Square
  • price 1 of 4

Young and old, dregs and misfits, singers and drunkards—all break out their best shower voice at this Lincoln Square spot for karaoke five nights a week. You’re as likely to hear Young MC’s “Bust a Move” as you are Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year.” The same kind of juxtaposition puts watermelon shots next to Manhattans on the weekly specials board. Deee-lish.

Elixir
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Lake View
  • price 3 of 4

At this shoebox of a cocktail bar, the drinks are skillfully prepared, the crowd is kept to a minimum by the doorman, and the music never gets so loud that it drowns out your insights on Jean Genet. The clientele is mixed in age but not in gender, and everyone is on their best behavior, which makes it an altogether more sophisticated and adult experience than Elixir’s next-door sister, Hydrate.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Wicker Park
  • price 1 of 4

The rumble of the train drowns out your conversation in the beer garden every five minutes, but that’s a small price to pay for a laid-back day sipping beer in the sun. Servers are attentive, and the crowd outside is pretty chill—the only shit-talking going on is at the pool table. That is, until most of Wicker Park’s other bars close at 2am and the line outside waiting to get in gets unruly.

  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • River North

River North’s longrunning nightclub is a reliable place to catch sets from touring DJs and potentially spot some local athletes shelling out for bottle service. Need a way to pass the time before the doors open? Head to the ’20s-themed Underground Cocktail Club located in the same building for fancy mixed drinks in a speakeasy-inspired space.

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  • Clubs
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

This slick, modern, multilevel Euro-style club in River North opened to much fanfare in 2004 and has kept clubbers busy ever since, hosting big-name touring progressive house and techno DJs on a regular basis. With a solid lineup of resident DJs, costumed dancers and a powerful sound system, this multiroom venue always seems to boast a spectacular scene.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Rogers Park

A construction theme dominates this Rogers Park gay bar, where a grab bag of dudes cram the dance floor on weekend nights. Head downstairs to the Hole if you want to get sweaty in close quarters or slip outside to the patio if you need a chance to cool down.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Bucktown
  • price 2 of 4

Located within walking distance of the Western Blue Line stop, Remedy Bar is one of the only 4am bars in the neighborhood. Anyone in Bucktown who doesn't want to dive into crowded Wicker Park bars after 2am is probably heading here, so expect a crowd if you're showing up late.

Berlin
  • Clubs
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

This freak-friendly dance destination in Lakeview built its reputation back in the mid-’80s with a mix of German new-wave music, art installations and even drag shows. These days, it’s still quirky, blending modern electro with retro, with nights devoted to Madonna, Björk, Depeche Mode and Robyn. Goths and gays are extra welcome, but the scene here is made up of almost everyone.

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  • Bars
  • Wicker Park

As the name suggests, expect plenty of whiskey to be flowing at this bar and concert venue in Wicker Park. On the first floor, you can play pool, darts and arcade games or dance to tunes spun by DJs until as late as 5am on Saturdays. Upstairs, there’s a full stage and sound setup for live musical acts.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

Look for the glowing neon martini glass hanging above the entrance to this Lawrence Avenue bar, which proudly advertises its late-night hours. Uptown Lounge is a popular destination for folks heading to concerts at the Aragon and the Riviera—if there's a show at either venue, there's likely to be a crowd. Stop by for late-night karaoke (and maybe a martini or two).

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Irving Park
  • price 1 of 4

The decor that graces this spacious karaoke and darts bar is reminiscent of roller rinks circa the 1980s: Pink and aqua neon signage, wood paneling, fantastic mullets and all the nachos and pizza you can handle. Drinks are ridiculously cheap, plus there’s a dedicated karaoke stage and song book chock-full of corny ’70s and ’80s hits, making this place a natural choice for getting drunk and stupid with large groups of people.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

We’ve seen people at this dim, homey, Near North pub hang out without ever ordering a drink, but we just can’t follow suit. We envy the friendly neighbors who drop onto wooden stools just to chat up the bartender. But when we spy two-dozen beers on tap, we feel like settling in and getting our drink on.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Rush & Division
  • price 1 of 4

The party (almost) never stops at this Irish pub in the heart of Viagra Triangle, which is open until 4am (5am on Saturdays) 365 days a year. Once you’ve had your fill of dirty martinis at a nearby steakhouse, make your way here for a nightcap. You’ll find a crowd of regulars, Gold Coast elites and 20-somethings all mingling into the wee hours of the morning.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Gold Coast
  • price 1 of 4

Even when it gets packed with the typical Division Street crowd, this Irish pub has an old soul. Antique beer paraphernalia and model ships hang from the ceiling, framed paintings of Chicagoans past dot the walls, and beers are served in frosted glass mugs.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Edgewater
  • price 1 of 4

Ravenswood locals flock to this bar for its namesake’s warmth (everyone loves the covered, heated patio) and coziness. Bartenders tend to pour heavy here—we've ordered a Scotch on the rocks and found ourselves drinking from a full highball glass—so some food from the adjoining restaurant will be in order to soak it all up, especially if you're sticking around until close.

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Gold Coast
  • price 1 of 4

Legend has it that the Velvet Underground once rocked the stage at Mother’s, which opened its doors in 1968. But don’t come here looking for avant-garde rock. These days, Mother’s is all about pleasing the sweat-drenched, booze-soaked Division Street masses who pack the dance floor into the early morning hours hoping to grind against Mr. or Ms. Right—or at least Mr. or Ms. Tonight.

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  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • River North

This two-tiered nightclub brings the party to Lincoln Park... just across the street from the Whole Foods. You'll find big-name DJs like Steve Angello and Afrojack dropping beats, plus parties featuring local and regional selectors behind the decks. PRSYM boasts three bars, plenty of tables for your bottle service splurges and a VIP suite that you can rent out if you're feeling extra flush.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

This subteranean Lincoln Park bar has everything you expect from a dive in the area: Free popcorn, beer specials, Black Crowes blasting from the speakers and post-frat boys high-fiving the night away. But, if you need a place to hole up for an extra two hours at the end of the night, there are certainly worse 4am bars that you could end up at.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • West Ridge

Over in West Rogers Park, this family-owned lounge has been a late-night haven for over 60 years. Neighborhood locals come to play pool or darts—there’s even a pool league Monday through Thursday—until 4am most evenings. It can get crowded after midnight and when there’s karaoke going on so plan accordingly.

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