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The Best Dive Bars in Chicago

By Sam Greszes Updated on 9/20/2019 at 4:27 PM

Inner Town Pub Est. 1983 | Ukranian Village
Warm, inviting, and full of music
Though it’s far from the Old Town School of Folk Music, the Inner Town Pub has become a hangout for folks who teach there, so if you’re hoping some of their talent will rub off on you, pay them a visit. There’s live music there every other Tuesday, and a monthly open mic that consistently features some of the best talent in the city. And that’s to say nothing of the inspired crafted cocktails, the amazing homey/spooky decor, or the fact that the bartenders are all wonderful. Seriously. Catch them on a slow night and converse.

Chicago Tribune 3/24/2017: Everyone has a favorite Chicago dive bar. This one’s mine

 Inner Town is like a longtime friend with benefits. It's not the most beautiful, but it has an ensnaring charm.​

The allure begins with the Chicago Handshake, a pint of Old Style followed by a shot of Malort, just $5 for the pair. I've been to modern bars where $5 won't even buy you a Miller High Life — but hey, did you see that the floor is made of reclaimed wood from a sunken ocean liner?

No thanks. I'll be at Inner Town by the pool table, which is worn but respectable and, the best part, free.

The 20 Essential Dive Bars in Chicago

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Come for the open mic nights and stay for the grunginess. The Innertown Pub has the look and feel of an old timer with its colorful décor and ‘60s artwork. The basic beer selection is cheap, and the free pool table and dartboards will keep drinkers entertained until the wee hours.

Chicago Reader 6/22/17: Bars on residential streets are Chicago’s ‘great good places’ 

The eclectic decor that defines the Innertown Pub is, if not ubiquitous among bars on residential streets, definitely not unusual. If these places are short on anything, it's not character. I sometimes get the sense that I've stumbled into the basement of someone's eccentric grandma, board games and all. A lot of these places just feel like home. Better, even—they're sanctuaries away from home. "Hospitality" is a concept common in the bar and restaurant industry, but I've never met warmer bartenders than the ones at the out-of-the-way bars I've visited.

Other fun facts:

Are you a fan of the thriller 'Gone Girl'?   Author Gillian Flynn was nice enough to put the ITP in the acknowledgements and one our our signature winter drinks, 'Christmas Morning'

Any pinball aficionados out there?  Well, keep an eye out for some original art work from Dave Christensen, one of the preeminent pinball artists from the golden age of pinball art.  While working for Bally Gaming in the 1970s, he created some of the most iconic art of its time.  Our sign out front and 3 works in the bar are DC originals.

Press and Fun Facts: About
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