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Best BYOB Nights Out in Chicago

By Alec L Stein

Chicago is a city of music, sports, food, and, perhaps more than anything, a city of bars. Everything from high-end cocktail lounges to dusty old haunts can be found on the streets of the Second City, none of them in short supply. 

While this plethora of gastropubs and dive bars can make for a great night out, Chicago’s burgeoning BYOB scene offers a great change of pace, as well as a way to save a few of your hard earned dollars. Stop by Garfield’s to grab your favorite bottle of wine or that six pack of hazy IPA and check out one of these trendy nights out.


Located just a short walk from the Addison red line, Get in the Kitchen offers an array of BYOB cooking classes most nights of the week. Despite being self-described as the “party school of cooking,” you can leave the beer bong at home, as Get In’s fun and exciting classes offer refined yet casual nights out perfect for anything from a date night to birthday parties.


Self-proclaimed as “comedy’s worst kept secret,” Don’t Tell is a stand-up show that takes place each week in a secret, rotating venue with a secret line-up of comedians, featuring everything from national touring acts to local up-and-comers. Despite it’s Fight Club-esque set of rules, Don’t Tell’s hilarious acts and intimate venue spaces are enough to ensure you’ll be yammering to all your friends about this.


With the amount of beers, bourbons, and wines that pair perfectly with barbecue, the folks over at Smoque could make a killing serving up booze. Luckily for us, they are too busy cooking some of the best meats in the city to worry about making a cocktail list. Located in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood, the restaurant has been regularly featured in national media as one of the definitive barbecue joints in the country and is the perfect place to enjoy a decadent meal away from the chaos of downtown.


Art and alcohol. Can you name a more iconic pair? While most of us are a far way off from being the next Jackson Pollock, that’s no reason to stop you from having a few glasses of wine and letting your inner creativity run loose. This is precisely where VIP Paints comes in. Having recently opened a new location in San Diego, VIP Paint’s original gallery is located in Pilsen and offers everything from byob candle making to painting.


An iconic Italian-American restaurant in the heart of Bridgeport, Gio’s is exactly the image one pictures when they think of a Chicago deli. Red checkered tables, walls of spiced meats, and all the chicken parm your heart desires. Not only are the portions more than generous, the in-house grocery store is enough to guarantee that you’ll be heading home with something extra to snack on!



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