Chicago is one of the most celebrated cities in the United States and for good reason. The city’s nightlife is renowned for its vibrancy and history, and Chicago bars are known for their iconic signs that add to the culture of the city. Some of Chicago’s bar signs are home to timeless spots that have been graced by the finest in music, sport, and more!
From Uptown’s classic Green Mill Cocktail Lounge to Shinnick’s Pub in Bridgeport, Chicago is home to some of the most iconic bar signs in the country. These signs have become a part of Chicago’s culture, while providing unforgettable experiences for decades. With stellar beer lists and live entertainment you’ll have no problem enjoying a night out in this city! Read on to learn about some of Chicago’s hottest spots with the most iconic signage. You might even find a new place you haven’t tired for your next night out!
Uptown: The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
First up! The oldest bar on our list, The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. This historic bar and music venue was founded in 1907. It’s also rumored to be the longest continuously running jazz club in the United States! During its heyday, it was popular with some of Chicago’s most notorious gangsters, including Al Capone.
Today, The Green Mill still offers customers live music performances seven nights a week featuring jazz and blues performers from around the world. Guests can also enjoy craft cocktails and a full menu of offerings. You’ll also be drawn to the the exquisite bar decor, including a statue of the Goddess Ceres. As you can see their bar signs are very easy to spot – with a classic grand marquee and green neon lights at the entry way that make this Chicago staple hard to miss! It’s so iconic it has even been featured in several movies! Could you think of a more perfect sign for a film?
Signage Style: Marquee Signs, Custom Neon Lights
Lincoln Park: Kingston Mines
Kingston Mines has been an icon of Chicago’s night scene for over 50 years. Founded in 1968, it is the oldest continuously active blues club in the United States. Located on N Halsted Street, the club features live music seven nights a week, including classic blues and jazz by some of the top acts in the world. The atmosphere at Kingston Mines is one of community and celebration, perfect for a great night out with friends or a romantic date. The venue also offers delicious bites and craft cocktails to make your experience even more special. We love the unforgettable, bright yellow face that gleams from the club’s sign!
Signage Style: Custom Awnings, Exterior Light Box Signs, Outdoor Banners, Vertical Signs
Bucktown: Map Room Public House
The Map Room Public House is located in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood and is a perfect spot to grab drinks with friends or a bite to eat. It has an extensive selection of craft beers, classic cocktails, wines, and its own special house blend of coffee. The Map Room’s bar sign stands directly over the front entrance. It shows an image of a man holding a map with the name “MAP ROOM”. The second sign says, A Traveller’s Tavern DON’T BE LOST…” Finally, a custom cut sign in the shape of a coffee mug with the text “Espresso”.
Signage Style: Business storefront signs, outdoor building signs
PC: Miller’s Pub
The Loop: Miller’s Pub
Miller’s Pub is a Chicago tradition, serving customers since 1935! This classic spot operates a full restaurant serving pub fare including burgers, sandwiches, and salad, For alcohol you can find an extensive selection of beers, wines, and cocktails. On Fridays, they have live music performances that add to the lively atmosphere making it a great spot to hang and grab a drink. Their bar sign definitely one of the city’s most historic signs! Miller’s Pub is no longer located at the original establishment but, their pub sign leaves a legacy of their origins.
Signage Type: Marquee Signs, Classic Neon Signs, Changeable Letter Signs, Marquee Letter Signs
PC: Shinnick’s Pub – Image from Shinnick’s Pub Google Maps photos
Bridgeport: Shinnick’s Pub
Shinnick’s Pub is a classic Irish pub located in the Archer Heights neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Established in 1938, the pub offers an inviting atmosphere with a selection of craft beer and classic pub food. Live music events are held throughout the week, and guests can enjoy friendly service from the knowledgeable staff. The perfect spot for catching up with friends or just taking a break from it all, Shinnick’s Pub is sure to delight. This no frills put sports a classic style pub sign, staying true to their roots.
Signage Style: Pub Signs, Tavern Wood Signs, Business Signs
PC: Eater Chicago
Pilsen: Thalia Hall / Dusek’s Board & Beer
Last but far from least, we have the subtle bar signs of Pilsen’s Thalia Hall and Dusek’s Board & Beer. Though known as an entertainment venue, Thalia Hall is also home to Chicago’s favorite craft beer bar – Dusek’s Board & Beer. Open since 2013, the bar features a variety of beers on tap and a menu full of delicious bites to accompany them. With neighborhood-style signs that are stylish yet understated, the culinary experts in the kitchen have been awarded a Michelin Star, reminding us it’s not ALL about an flashy exterior sign! Even though they sure can leave an incredible mark!
Signage Style: Window Signs, Window Decals
Chicago’s Bar Signs Recap
While some are timeless classics and others are new comers that have quickly made their place. Chicago’s bars and bar signs carry quite a bit of character and class. All these Chicago favorites offer up an incredible selection of drinks, food, and entertainment that make Chicago’s nightlife scene unique and unforgettable. Now, you know a bit about Chicago’s nightlife through some of the most memorable signs you’ll see on any given night out.
By showcasing the greatest bar signs in Chicago, we hope to have educated you on the city’s bar history. Perhaps we even inspired you to explore a new place for your next night out!
Chicago is home to a variety of iconic bars and pubs, each with its own unique sign that stands out from the rest. From The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Uptown to Shinnick’s Pub in Bridgeport, these bar signs are an integral part of Chicago’s nightlife culture. Whether you’re looking for craft beer selections or live music performances, Chicago has something for everyone when it comes to memorable nights out. So next time you’re visiting Chicago make sure to check out some of the city’s best bar signage – they truly capture the spirit of Chicago!
We’d love to know, what’s your favorite bar sign in Chicago?