In honor of the 100-year anniversary of Prohibition, it seemed only appropriate to mention some of my favorite – and now legal – happy hour spots in the city. The happiest hour of the day traditionally began during Prohibition as a secret pregame after work and before heading to the speakeasies, according to the Huffington Post. Although drinking is now legal (for those over 21) and the allure of sneaking away to a speakeasy for your favorite drinks is no longer something we can experience, the excitement of finding out that your favorite restaurant offers cheap steals for your favorite food and drinks comes close. Here are some of my favorite spots in the city to head to for happy hour.
456 N. Clark St., River North
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 5-6 p.m.
Although the prices of Roka Akor’s regular menu might seem exorbitant, the happy hour specials offered on their patio and lounge are anything but. This chic Japanese fusion restaurant offers an extensive happy hour menu, with Sapporo Draft starting at $3 and some of their most popular dishes featured in smaller bites, usually under $10. I suggest heading there on a Tuesday afternoon when you need a pick-me-up, to grab a few one-dollar oysters with the chef’s choice happy hour cocktail of the day, usually under $10.
841 W. Randolph St., West Loop
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.
This fun West Loop restaurant opened this past summer, and offers a small, but truly terrific happy hour menu as of October. Rosé is $5, cocktails are $8, bar bites are half off and cans and bottles of beer are $4. They also offer a “Danger Zone” shot menu, with shots like a Flaming Dr. Pepper Kamikaze, that is, in fact, set on fire, for $5 each.
“The aesthetic is cool, there’s an outdoor patio, good music and good food,” said Cailynn Mishcke, a South Chicago native.
2263 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park
Happy Hour: Wednesday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.
The new replacement to Lincoln Avenue’s beloved LA Social (may it rest in peace), The Dime offers a surprisingly affordable and fun happy hour menu. The restaurant and bar presents a few sports bar staples, like cheese curds and spinach artichoke dip. However, the real allure here is that your drink is literally only 10 cents with the purchase of any food. Cheers to that.
5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West, Hyde Park
Happy Hour: Monday-Thursday 5-6 p.m., Friday-Sunday 4-5 p.m.
Located in Hyde Park, this stylish restaurant that doubles as a music venue offers an equally classy happy hour menu. Some of the restaurant’s most popular Mediterranean and American fusion bites are provided on this menu, such as the chickpea fries or smoked feta. Pair a dish (or two) with a $7 glass of wine or cocktail. Classy.
2024 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park
Happy Hour: Daily, 4-6 p.m.
A North Side staple, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! does not disappoint with its happy hour menu. You can grab a few of their most popular tapas for just a few dollars a plate, like their roast dates with bacon for $3.25, the spicy potatoes for $2.50 or meatballs for $3.25. Pair it with a few $2.95 bottles of Estrella Damm or a $16 pitcher of their classic sangria to share with friends and you’ll find yourself staying long after happy hour is over. It’s guaranteed you will leave this Spanish-style tapas restaurant tipsy and full.
Happy Hour: Monday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m.
This casual ramen shop decorated with brightly colored graffiti offers an equally fun happy hour menu. Hip-hop music adds to the lively vibe, and the restaurant is decorated with casual seating with high-top tables and stools. If the $15 ramen seems like a bit much, opt instead for the happy hour choices. Furious Spoon showcases 50-cent dumplings, $5 seasonal cocktails and $3 Furious Lagers – or mocktails for those who prefer.
1530 S. State St., South Loop
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Another tapas spot, Tapas Valencia is a popular pick among South Loop residents. Head over to the bar area during happy hour to enjoy $3 and $5 beers, half off select glasses of sangria and wine, and tapas for $3 to $5. Grab some half off patatas bravas, some calamari and a glass of sangria, and when it gets a little warmer, head on out to the patio.
2701 S. Eleanor St., Bridgeport
Happy Hour: Tuesday-Friday, 5-6 p.m.
Hedging the border between Pilsen and Bridgeport, the Duck Inn is the place to be with a mid-century decorated interior and outdoor patio. Enjoy half price beer, wine, cocktails and bar snacks during this spot’s happy hour. You’ll need a half off beer to help you polish off their signature duck wings and a duck fat hot dog at the bar.
180 N.Wacker Dr., Loop
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 3-7 p.m.
Located next to the popular, eclectic restaurant Beatnik on the river, Café Bonhomme has both good views and good food. Their happy hour is a little different with three levels of price points with three different options you can select – for example, for $6, you can grab a glass of sangria or an order of Baba Ganoush.
“I think you get the best quality drinks and food for a happy hour price,” said Adriana Talavera, a DePaul junior and Lincoln Park native. “They have super good deals…it’s small and not a party place but if you want to hang out, talk and eat, it’s a good option.”
2238 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park
Happy Hour: January 19 and 22, 5-7 p.m.
New within the last year to the Lincoln Park bar scene, King of Cups boasts a theme that not many other Chicago bars can claim – a medieval bar with a tarot card reader. For a limited time, this old-fashioned bar hosts a cocktail class featuring two drinks, light bites and a spirit tasting for $25. While only held for two more days, the special is one you don’t want to miss, with mixologist Daniel Jahnke hosting a two-hour class breaking down the art of making the perfect cocktail.
Congratulations! Armed with this list of recommendations, you can now have a drink just a little earlier to celebrate 100 years since Prohibition. And as long as you balance it with a few bar snacks and good company, you’re in for a guaranteed good time.
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance misuse, you can call the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Action Helpline at 1(800)662-4357. You can also visit Drug-Free America’s website to learn more about drugs, treatment and online screenings.
If you are a DePaul student are experiencing substance misuse, the university’s Office of Health Promotion and Wellness has a variety of educational programs and support groups.
Header image by Natalie Wade