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Book Review: Chicago’s Best Dive Bars

Chicago’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking and diving in the Windy City
Author: Jonathon Stockton


What a fun read! Although this book is almost 15 years outdated, I loved reading Stockton’s descriptions of the dive bars. He's a clever writer and it's easy to imagine that you’re right there with him for each of his visits. He perfectly balances his reviews with both remarkable and mundane details —all of it well-observed. And unlike many “best of” books, he does an admirable job of covering the entirety of the city. (Equally worthy of mention is that he eschews the ‘burbs, a pandering trap other books can fall into.)

“In the rickety men’s room, there’s no soap dispenser. One dips a finger into a lowball glass of pink liquid as if it were a font of holy water.”

I don't know how many of the places he chronicles are still around. I was surprised at how many I've visited, and of those about half still survive, if that's any measure. But in the end, it doesn't matter if they are still there because in this book bar aficionados and neighborhood historians can appreciate them forever.

I picked up my copy at Quimby's but you can get it from Amazon too. And Mr. Stockton, if you're out there, cheers to you! Well done.


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