Your Map to Chicago’s Most Secret Bars

Chicago Bars

Work, commute, dinner… wouldn’t you like a little excitement for an evening? Put on that hot new dress and head out for a night on the town. Meet up with the girls for a ladies’ night to remember with a visit to one of Chicago’s secret bars. Drinks and fun are on the menu at these hush-hush spots; some bars are easier to find than others, but all of them are worth it.


Unlike a lot of spots in the River North area, Watershed is neither super noisy nor insanely pricey. It’s a lush subterranean lounge, complete with comfy sofa seats and booths made for spending hours sitting and talking. The best part is you can spend the evening here without breaking the bank: Watershed offers a daily $5 shot-and-beer special. To get in, you’ll need to start at the Pops for Champagne bar. Find the stairs tucked away in the Southeast corner.

Room 13

If you’re looking for a bar that fits the classic definition of “secret,” say hello to Room 13. The alleyway entrance is just off to the left side of the Old Chicago Inn. No sneaking in at this bar, though; there’s a members-only password that changes on a regular basis. You can go inside the Old Chicago Inn and apply for a membership, or book a stay to earn an invite. Your reward is a bar that serves drinks that taste Prohibition perfect.   

East Room

If you’re in Logan Square looking for a sign for the East Room, you won’t find one, because there isn’t one. The entrance is a plain black door off Medill, and the only light is the red glow above the door that indicates that the bar is open. Once you slip inside, you’ll see black curtains, dim lights and plenty of exposed brick. Don’t think it’s for broodsters only, though! The outdoor patio area is cheerfully bright and decorated with ornate graffiti art.

Baby Atlas

A simple sign that says “Baby Atlas” is the only real clue that something else is going on inside the Matilda bar. But while the Matilda is rather like a responsible adult, Baby Atlas is the 20-something who just wants to party. This basement lounge is for those who want some hardcore dancing. It’s smaller than the Matilda, unapologetically loud, and fits the definition of boozery to a T. If you want to get your groove on while you and your friends scream over the tunes, head into Matilda and down the stairs at the back.

Discovering a secret bar pales in comparison to finding the right downtown apartment in Chicago. Let HotSpot Rentals get you in the door of that perfect new place.