You belly up to the bar, put your hand on the old wood, or the worn metal, and order yourself a pint. It’s a place you may have never been, and an action that’s been done by many before you. There are names scratched into the wall. Scuffmarks on the floor. Nothing’s fancy. Nothing’s too too. The place, the drink, it’s all the way it should be and it’s going to continue that way for some time to come. Why? You’re in a nexus for drink, space and time. You’re visiting a classic, one of the oldest bars in the country.
This installment of our America's Oldest Bars Series features Illinois. Chicago is a city with a rich history when it comes to booze. During the era of Prohibition in this country, infamous gangster Al Capone ran the crime scene in Chicago, which largely included smuggling liquor into the city. With cultural landmarks that include a thriving jazz and blues scene and the 1933 World's Fair, among many others, Illinois is home to a handful of well-worn taverns and pubs. While not a complete account, the following list includes many of Illinois's oldest bars.