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The Most Fun College Bars in Chicago

Chicago is the biggest metropolis in the Midwest and a world-class destination for museums, architecture, restaurants, and nightlife. It’s also home to prestigious universities like the University of Chicago, Loyola University, and Northwestern University.

college students having fun at one of the best college bars in chicago

College students congregate at numerous bars around campus and in the city center to blow off steam and party.

If you’re a college student looking to grab drinks with people your own age in a fun and high-energy atmosphere, look no further than the following list of College Bars in Chicago.

Streeter’s Tavern

50 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 944-5206
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Located between the Loyola University main campus and Loyola University Law School, Streeter’s Tavern is a friendly neighborhood pub.

They have pool tables, and the bar is lined with flat-screen TVs broadcasting your favorite sports games. 

The bar has a rotating tap list of domestic brews and a great Happy Hour from 4-6 with cheap domestic beer and bottles of wine.

Kelly’s Pub

949 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 281-0656
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Kelly’s Pub is a Lincoln Park institution, founded by the Kelly family in 1933. It has a cozy, old-school interior with a wide selection of beer and spirits along with a full menu of tasty pub fare.

They also have a lovely outdoor patio beer garden where college kids and young adults congregate during the summers. I think they make one of the best Reuben sandwiches in town. I order it with a pint of local artisanal beer.

LP’s T.A.P. House

2251 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 348-5100
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Located a few blocks from DePaul University in Lakeview East, LP’s T.A.P. House is a colorful, casual, and quaint bar and gastropub.

LP’s is every college student’s dream establishment as they offer both Chicago-style pizza and a full menu of authentic tacos to accompany a large selection of beer and cocktails.

The kitchen is open as late as the bar is, so you can soak up a night of drinking with a delicious plate of tacos, sandwiches, burgers, or pizza.

McGee’s Tavern & Grille

950 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 549-8200
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Another Lincoln Park haunt located a few blocks from DePaul University, McGee’s Tavern & Grille has been a favorite for decadent pub fare and heavily poured drinks for 35 years.

The quirky atmosphere and friendly service only add to their popularity. The food at McGee’s Tavern is their forte, with all your favorite American gastro food, from wings to over-the-top sandwiches.

Ph.D Pub

1257 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: (312) 226-1010
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Even if you’re an undergrad, they’ll still let you drink at this University Village bar. Ph.D Pub has a laid-back atmosphere, with darts boards, ping pong tables, and an outdoor patio.

They appeal to academics of all ages due to their creative and sophisticated cocktail menu.  Their tap list also features some of the best artisanal micro-brewery beers.

Despite their high-brow menu, they have some of the cheapest prices in town.

Glascott’s Saloon

2158 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 281-1205
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Glascott’s Saloon is a cozy Irish pub with wooden walls, a carved ceiling, and skeet ball games in the back. It’s another DePaul favorite, located in Lincoln Park, down the road from McGee’s Tavern.

Glascott’s is one of the oldest pubs in Lincoln Park, opening in 1937. They have 16 beers on tap, including all the Irish favorites along with a full Greek food menu. I loved their gyros dinner.

Roscoe’s Tavern

3356 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: (773) 281-3355
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Located in Wrigleyville a quick drive from Wrigley Field, Roscoe’s is an LGBTQ bar and restaurant with a drag queen show and weekend dance parties.

They pride themselves on their inclusivity. Roscoe’s has a full cocktail menu as well as lunch, brunch, and dinner. I went for their bubbles and brunch package and ordered a bloody Mary and breakfast burrito.

Woodlawn Tap

1172 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615
Phone: (773) 643-5516
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Woodlawn Tap is a dive bar in Hyde Park and a favorite for University of Chicago students. Opened inside the University of Chicago’s old Theology building, students call the bar Jimmy’s after founder Joseph Sittler’s nickname.

Woodlawn Tap has a small menu of beer and Polish bar fare. You can count on encountering students debating philosophy over beer and Polish sausages late into the night.


2771 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 472-2771
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Delilah’s is a hip bar in the Wrightwood Neighbors neighborhood, specializing in artisanal beer and whiskeys. They have Dj sets nightly, making them a great spot for dancing and drinking.

Every nightly Dj set at Delilah’s comes with a drink special. I went for a fun Juke Box spins set, fueling my dance moves with 3$ Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Labatt Blue.

Old Town Ale House

219 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (312) 944-7020
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Named for the neighborhood in which it has served since 1958, Old Town Ale House is one of Chicago’s most iconic dive bars. Its old-school interior is lined with painted portraits of famous patrons.

Old Town Ale House has been a favorite haunt for all walks of life, from students to traveling musicians. Its rich history, cheap drinks, and lively atmosphere have garnered centerpiece articles in notable national newspapers. 

Liar’s Club

1665 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 665-1110
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Located in Lincoln Park inside a nondescript old building front, Liar’s Club is a dingy dive bar with plenty of personality.

Its neon-lit interior is decked out in music posters, with a stage offering a full lineup of live music and karaoke events.

If you’re into punk rock, Liar’s Club is the best music venue in town, with a friendly staff and cheap beer, well drinks, and cocktails.

The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash

435 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: (312) 610-4220
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The Bamboo Room is an upscale Tiki Bar in a beautifully designed tropical space in River North. Three Dots and a Dash is a bar and restaurant of its own, with The Bamboo Room as its best-kept secret with an almost undetectable entrance.

They offer a wonderful atmosphere with stunning Tiki drinks, embellished with orchids, umbrellas, and even dry ice.

The exquisite food and drink menu has earned The Bamboo Room Esquire Magazine’s vote for the best bar in America.


412 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: (312) 644-5775
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Another River North favorite, Rossi’s is a funky dive bar cluttered with pieces of kitsch and covered with old-school posters.

They have some of the cheapest beer specials in town, with a vast tap list and bottle menu. Rossi’s is a great place to share a pint or a pitcher with friends.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for an Irish pub, a beer garden, or a Tiki Hut, my list of the best College Bars in Chicago has something for every occasion.

After drinking your way through my list of bars, let me know which one you enjoyed most in the comments below!

College Bars in Chicago, Illinois

  1. Streeter’s Tavern
  2. Kelly’s Pub
  3. LP’s T.A.P. House
  4. McGee’s Tavern & Grille
  5. Ph.D Pub
  6. Glascott’s Saloon
  7. Roscoe’s Tavern
  8. Woodlawn Tap
  9. Delilah’s
  10. Old Town Ale House
  11. Liar’s Club
  12. The Bamboo Room at Three Dots and a Dash
  13. Rossi’s

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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