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Nightlife in the Oak Park Area

An Insider's Guide to Nightlife in the Oak Park Area

After a notorious century in which alcohol sales were banned in the village, Oak Park, Illinois has shed its dry past and is now home to an array of exciting nightlife choices. From economical happy hour specials to live entertainment at storied venues, the Oak Park Area heats up when the sun goes down. Here are some of the best spots to enjoy nightlife in the Oak Park Area, and a few overnight accommodation recommendations for those simply having too much fun to leave.

Oak Park On Tap
Oak Park Brewing Company, Oak Park’s first brewpub, offers a relaxing ambiance to enjoy its juicy burgers, house-crafted brews, and spent-grain flatbread pizzas. Terrific weekly deals include half-price burgers with purchase of house beer every Wednesday and $2 off beers every Thursday, while the adjacent Hamburger Mary’s Showlounge features nightly entertainment in the form of drag shows, bingo, karaoke, and stand-up comedy.

Food Truck Fridays have become a signature event at Kinslahger Brewing Company, named one of the nation’s best local breweries by Travel + Leisure in 2017. The brewery welcomes local meat shop Carnivore every Friday from 5-8 p.m., serving an ever changing menu of delicious grub to pair with the taproom’s fresh lagers.

Combining a killer drink happy hour with discounts on its seasonally driven food menu, Wild Onion Tied House is a family-owned brewpub teeming with life. Happy Hour specials are available from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and include $2 off 16oz craft beers, half-price house wines, $2 pulled pork sliders, $1 spare ribs, and $1 housemade chicken bites. Other specials include $2 tacos on Tuesdays, one free kids meal per adult entrée on Wednesdays, and $3 select 16oz draft beers on Thursdays. Talented local musicians also add to the low-key, friendly atmosphere on weekend evenings.

Offering a range of artisanal coffees and well-balanced beers in the cornerstone of Oak Park's Pleasant District, Two Brothers Social Tap is the fifth and newest restaurant in the Two Brothers family. Sundays are industry night (20% off), Mondays are family night (half-price children's meals), and Tuesdays are Beer & Burger night ($15 for a draft beer and classic burger).

Brews in Brookfield
The website for Brookfield Ale House says it all: “More than just ale. We love food just as much.” Savor southwest eggrolls, Buffalo chicken sandwiches and more with your brew. On Friday and Saturday nights, from 8-11 p.m., live music enhances your dining and drinking experience.  

Brookfield’s Irish Times Pub & Restaurant has been serving up authentic Irish fare and beers in famously cozy digs for the past two decades. Named one of Chicagoland’s top 10 Irish pubs, its weekly food specials include $5 burgers every Monday; $5 tacos on Tuesdays (dine-in only); and all-you-can-eat Fish Fry Fridays. If you’re visiting around St. Patrick’s Day, check out the pub’s three-day celebration with special food, drink, and entertainment offerings.

Inspired Cocktails and Italian Grub in Riverside
See what it takes to make historically inspired, handcrafted artisanal spirits during the 90-minute Quincy Street Distillery tour. Open Wednesday through Sunday, this quaint distillery in Downtown Riverside guides visitors through the production process of these unique spirits and offers amusing tidbits about the area’s history of prohibition. After the tour, enjoy a cocktail at the on-site Speakeasy Bar or purchase your favorite spirit to take home.

Brought to you by famed artisan baker Rich Labriola, La Barra Ristorante is nestled in the heart of Riverside’s historic downtown. Creative pizzas, homemade pastas, and other Italian entrees headline the impressive food menu, while the expansive drink menu is most accessible during happy hour: every Tuesday through Thursday from 4-7 p.m., diners can enjoy $5 draft beers, house wines, and well cocktails, as well as half-price small plates.

Ethnic Cuisine in Oak Park
Besides serving delectable plates like spanakopita and paidakia lamb loin chops, the family-focused Papaspiros Greek restaurant draws crowds with weekly live music. Every Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. brings a new local musician entertaining diners with lively sets drawing influences from jazz, rock n’ roll, blues, and more. Check the website for the most current schedule of performances.

At Citrine, Serbian and Mediterranean culinary traditions are prepared with an American flair whether you visit for brunch or dinner. Kids eat free Monday through Thursday evenings from 4:30-6:30 p.m., making this a great dinner option for the entire family. Citrine also has a rotating daily special: on Mondays try the $16 burger and beer combo; on Tuesdays enjoy half-off bar menu items; and on Wednesdays gather your girlfriends for $6 cosmopolitans and martinis to celebrate Ladies’ Night.

Boasting Oak Park’s largest patio complete with a fire pit, Maya Del Sol serves bold Latin fusion cuisine alongside vibrant cocktails. Daily beverage specials starts at 4 p.m., including half-price wine bottles on Mondays, $5 house margaritas on Tuesdays, and $7 mezcal margaritas on Wednesdays. During fall and winter, escape the cold with free live music on weekend nights.

At Rustico, Oak Park’s premier locale for fresh Mediterranean fusion, daily happy hour deals run from 4:30-6 p.m. and include a mix of discounted small plates and drinks. If you’re a wine lover, take advantage of half-price bottles of select wine every Monday and Wednesday. Whether you pay full price or not, Rustico’s deep wine list is meant to compliment house favorites like wood-fired pizzas, paella, and seafood pastas.

Food & Drink With An American Twist
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings may not evoke images of can’t-miss nightlife, but The Little Gem Cafe is challenging that notion with an impressive lineup of live jazz and blues performers. Diners can also grab discounted appetizers, cocktails, and wine bottles at the bar area Sunday through Thursday from 3:30-5:30 p.m., while the occasional $75 “Date Night” special on Wednesdays includes an elegant three-course dinner plus wine for two.

A staple in Oak Park’s Hemingway District for 35 years, Winberie’s serves New American dishes in a casual, elegant space. Its happy hour specials, running weekdays from 3-6 p.m., continue to attract both locals and visitors: Mondays feature $5 beer drafts and bottles; Tuesdays feature $5 glasses of housemade sangria; Wednesdays feature $5 cocktails; Thursdays feature $5 wines by the glass; and Fridays features $5 martinis so you can usher in the weekend on a budget.

Find great happy hour deals in the bar area of Barclay's American Grille, a relaxed bar and eatery in the Carleton Hotel. From 5-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, enjoy $5 select craft drafts, $2 Miller Lite drafts, $4 house wine glasses, and $5 cosmos. Guests can also snag $5 bleu cheese chips, $1.50 oysters, and $1 shrimp cocktails to accompany their happy hour libation.

The Oak Park Area's most extensive beer selection can be found at Poor Phil's. This unassuming hangout has been serving Cajun-influenced dishes on the ground floor of the Carleton Hotel since 1972. In addition to free baskets of popcorn and outdoor seating, Poor Phil's keeps customers coming back with its beer menu. 100 brews are always available, including a rotating lineup of 36 craft beers on draft. 

Berwyn's Rollicking Live Entertainment and Drink Specials
Experience one of the best music venues in the country at FitzGerald’s Nightclub, just across the street from Oak Park on Berwyn’s Roosevelt Road. This must-visit entertainment and drinking destination, featuring a wide array of musicians and genres on its two stages, is open at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

A crowded lineup of food and drink specials make Lavergne's Tavern another hotspot for affordable nightlife in the Oak Park Area. The recently renovated space in the heart of Berwyn’s Depot District serves well-priced, elevated pub grub in a chic tavern setting. Visitors of all palates will find something to cheer about on the expansive list of daily food and drink specials, which includes: $2 off local drafts, $5 whiskey sours, and free meals for kids on Monday; $3 tall domestic drafts, $2.50 tacos, and free pub trivia on Tuesday; $3 Tito’s cocktails, $2 PBR, and 75¢ wings on Wednesday; $5 margaritas, $2 cans of High Life, and $3 fireball on Thursday; $4 Modelo tallboys, $5 bourbon/rye you-call-it’s, and $4 tequila shots on Friday; $4 Jack Daniels and $4 Jameson on Saturday; and $3 tall domestic drafts on Sunday.

Upscale Eats, Happy Hours, & Dance Floors in Forest Park
For crowd-pleasing Northern Italian cuisine in a warm yet contemporary space, head to Francesca’s Fiore. This popular family-friendly spot features stone fireplaces, an antique bar, and happy hour specials from 3:30-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday: select wine glasses and house-brand cocktails are $5, select beers are $3, and a handful of popular small plates are available at discounted prices ranging from $5 to $8.

A variety of seasonal, chef-driven small and large plates are the focus of Forest Park’s The Heritage, which the Chicago Tribune named among this area’s top 50 restaurants in 2017. Stop into this sleek, romantic eatery for happy hour Tuesday through Thursday from 5-7 p.m. to enjoy an assortment of discounted beers and wines, the always changing “Something & Tonic” cocktail, and a $12 cheeseburger topped with cheese, Dijon, dill pickle aioli, and lettuce served with fries on a housemade brioche bun.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Forest Park’s iconic Madison Street is buzzing with activity – day or night. Check out the funky Scratch Kitchen & Lounge for acclaimed mac n’ cheese, live music, bingo, and trivia; hang out at the multi-story Doc Ryan’s for $2 you-call-it Tuesdays (everything is $2!) and a DJ spinning dance floor hits on the weekend; or visit Hard Wood, the area’s newest haunt catering to the LGBT community with its artisanal bites, craft cocktails, and sprawling patio.

Read to experience our vibrant nightlife while visiting Chicagoland? Plan your Oak Park trip today!

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