Chicago’s fascination with speakeasies began out of necessity during Prohibition, when you had to hide to get a drink. Nowadays there’s a bar on every corner, almost, but the romance of secret bars is still alive and well. River North is home to some of the best in the city, and here are the top four speakeasies in the neighborhood.
When you approach Green Door Tavern, you might notice the door is crooked. That’s because it’s one of the oldest bars in the city in the only wooden building erected in River North after the Great Chicago Fire, and it’s gradually settled into the earth. Inside, head to the back and go downstairs to The Drifter. This subterranean club was an an actual speakeasy back in the day. Today, they honor that checkered past with burlesque shows and Prohibition-era cocktails.
Located below Gilt Bar, The Library speaks volumes about craft cocktails. Sip on a perfect Manhattan and browse through the many books lined up on the shelves. You’ll be comfortable in plush banquettes and transported back in time with the ambience from the crystal chandeliers. The door’s hidden, but if you make reservations, the staff will personally guide you to this secret getaway.
To get to The Bassment you have to walk down an alley and enter a door marked as a tobacco shop. Once inside, the black curtain will be drawn and you’ll be enveloped by live music in a British-themed lounge. With brick walls, gold accents, and velvet and leather couches you’ll be transported to another time and place.
When you’ve had enough bubbly at Pops for Champagne, head downstairs to Watershed. This parlour specializes in craft beer and artisan spirits, all from the Great Lakes. There are even a few regional wines, as well as local cheeses on the small bites menu.
For a throwback to the romance of yesteryear, visit one of these four speakeasies in River North. Want to know of more secret spots? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.