Exploring the Rich History of Chicago's Oldest Pubs

Discover the oldest pubs in Chicago, IL and experience a piece of the city's history while enjoying a pint of beer. From speakeasies to jazz clubs, these historic pubs have stood the test of time.

Exploring the Rich History of Chicago's Oldest Pubs

As an expert on the city of Chicago, I can confidently say that there is no shortage of places to grab a drink in the Windy City. From trendy rooftop bars to cozy neighborhood taverns, Chicago has it all. But for those looking for a taste of history and a pint of beer, there is nothing quite like visiting one of the oldest pubs in Chicago, IL.

The History of Pubs in Chicago

Before we dive into the oldest pubs in Chicago, let's take a step back and explore the history of pubs in this city. The first pub in Chicago was established in 1833 by Mark Beaubien, who opened a tavern near the Chicago River.

This was followed by many more pubs and taverns popping up throughout the city, serving as gathering places for locals and travelers alike. During the Prohibition era, many of these pubs were forced to close their doors or operate as speakeasies. But after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, pubs once again became a staple in Chicago's social scene.

The Oldest Pubs in Chicago

Now that we have a bit of background on pubs in Chicago, let's take a look at some of the oldest ones still standing today.

The Green Door Tavern

The Green Door Tavern, located in the River North neighborhood, is often referred to as the oldest pub in Chicago. It was originally opened in 1921 as a speakeasy during Prohibition and has been operating ever since. The pub still has its original green door, which was used as a secret entrance during Prohibition. Today, The Green Door Tavern serves up classic pub fare and a wide selection of beers, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

The pub has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, solidifying its place in Chicago's history.

The Berghoff

Located in the Loop, The Berghoff has been a staple in Chicago's pub scene since 1898. It was originally opened as a men-only saloon, but after Prohibition, it became one of the first restaurants in Chicago to receive a liquor license. The Berghoff is known for its German-inspired menu and its famous root beer, which has been served since the 1920s. Over the years, The Berghoff has expanded to include a bar, a cafe, and a catering service. But the pub still maintains its historic charm and is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience one of the oldest pubs in Chicago.

The Old Town Ale House

Located in the Old Town neighborhood, The Old Town Ale House has been serving up drinks since 1958. The pub is known for its eclectic decor, which includes paintings of famous politicians and celebrities by the owner, Bruce Elliott. The pub has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, including "The Blues Brothers" and "Chicago Fire."The Old Town Ale House is a favorite among locals for its laid-back atmosphere and affordable drinks.

It's also known for its jukebox, which plays everything from classic rock to jazz.

Other Historic Pubs in Chicago

While these three pubs may be some of the oldest in Chicago, there are many others that have been around for decades and hold just as much history. Some other notable mentions include:
  • The Billy Goat Tavern: This iconic pub, located under Michigan Avenue, has been serving up burgers and beers since 1934.
  • The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge: This jazz club and pub has been a Chicago institution since 1907 and has hosted famous musicians such as Al Capone and Frank Sinatra.
  • The Hopleaf Bar: This Andersonville pub has been serving up Belgian beers and delicious food since 1992, but the building itself dates back to the late 1800s.

Experience the History of Chicago's Pubs

Visiting one of the oldest pubs in Chicago is not just about grabbing a drink, it's about experiencing a piece of the city's history. These pubs have stood the test of time and have become beloved establishments for locals and visitors alike. So next time you're in Chicago, be sure to raise a glass at one of these historic pubs.

Erica Salas
Erica Salas

Amateur music aficionado. Total tv enthusiast. Typical zombie practitioner. Devoted twitter fanatic. Amateur music buff. Avid bacon buff.