Nick's Beer Garden

Bar
Nick's Beer Garden Nick's Beer Garden in Chicago's Wicker Park is a funky local's joint with live weekend music & late hours. Make your morning hurt in Chicago with Party Earth. Chicago United States 41.909052 -87.675549
3.8 8
Nick's Beer Garden - Bar in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Since 1977, a combination of stiff drinks, killer tunes, and eccentric Wicker Park locals has made Nick’s Beer Garden the customary answer to the question, “Why the hell was I out until 4am last night?” Wading through... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–F, Su 4pm–4am, Sa 4pm–5am
    Su noon–4am during football season

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Nick's Beer Garden Review

The Scene

Nick's Beer Garden in Chicago's Wicker Park is a funky local's joint with live weekend music & late hours. Make your morning hurt in Chicago with Party Earth.

Since 1977, a combination of stiff drinks, killer tunes, and eccentric Wicker Park locals has made Nick’s Beer Garden the customary answer to the question, “Why the hell was I out until 4am last night?”

Wading through the darkness toward the pair of tiki-style bars, patrons are as likely to hear Dr. Hook as they are Dr. Feelgood emanating from the eclectic jukebox, as they clamor for specials like Sunday’s $2 beers or the daily $5 PBR-and-shot combos.

The bar’s décor matches the diversity of the neighborhood patrons, with skinny-jeaned hipsters who can appreciate the purposeful kitsch of the pink flamingos lurking above the bar, and grimy rocking regulars who feel at home arguing Sabbath vs. Zeppelin beneath a massive mural of Jimi Hendrix.

A pool table, shuffleboard, and Golden Tee arcade dominate the center of the single large room, while the tiny outdoor patio/beer garden provides a little breath of fresh air beneath the constant rumble of the elevated Blue Line.

“Fresh” might be a stretch.

Mondays bring the blessing of bad karaoke, while Fridays and Saturdays promise a cover-free chance to hear live bands playing blues, rock, R&B, jazz, or soul.

Lubed-up indie cats and scattered packs of bros jam the place good by 2am, when most of the area’s bars close, and everyone who’s not ready to call it quits calls up Nick’s Beer Garden instead.

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Tip from Jonah:

Put both your name and your partner’s name on the chalkboard for pool sign-ups. The local sharks know each other here, so “Robby from Iowa” might find himself skipped while he was at the bar getting another round.

  • Crowd

    Neighborhood bar rats, hipsters, and rocker types dominate the early hours, mixed with packs of college kids and anyone else who’s burning the candle at both ends late into the night, 20s to early 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live bands play blues, rock, R&B, jazz, or soul on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 and 10pm, respectively.

    Karaoke on Mondays from 10pm–1am.

    Jukebox features a wide range of 70s rock, country, hair bands, and alt tunes through the ages.

    Pool table, Golden Tee, shuffleboard, and a pinball machine.

    Pair of big screens will show the Bears game if it’s on; otherwise they’re likely tuned to classic movies, cartoons, zombie flicks, et al.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food, though Wicker Park’s Tamale Man usually rolls through a couple times a night to satisfy the munchies. His chicken tamales with the spicy green salsa are popular.

    Daily $5 PBR-and-shot combos and $2–$3 draft/bottle specials on Sundays.

  • Prices

    No cover charge. Beer $2.50–$8, wine $6.50, cocktails $5–$8.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: jeans, t-shirts, ripped-up flannel, vintage wear, comfortable blouses, anything goes.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights for live music, any sunny day to grab a beer in the little beer garden, or any night after 2am to join everyone else destined for a frightfully painful following morning.

  • Close By

    Pint (1547 North Milwaukee Avenue) is a few doors down and offers a full menu of burgers, wraps, sandwiches, and other comfort foods to coat the stomach. Nick’s owner, Nick Novich, also owns The Flat Iron (1565 North Milwaukee Avenue), a fun-loving hangout for the tattooed and pierced set looking to rock out to the jukebox, play some pool, and throw back a few whiskey shots with strangers.

Nick's Beer Garden User Reviews

Average rating:
Everything you'd want in a dive
Clarissa D. Aug 28, 2013
Nick's Beer Garden is a staple, any day of the week. The drinks are affordable, with one bar in the front, and on busy nights, another bar in the back. The bar in the back serves $3 "dice" shots, where you roll a dice and the number you land on determines your fate/shot. One of them is always some random nasty liquor. Fun! Plus there's a shuffleboard table, a pool table, and always a good selection of music.
An oasis among the Wicker Park usual
Michael S. Feb 23, 2013
Located on a stretch of prime Wicker Park real estate, Nick’s Beer Garden stands out as an oasis among the usual hipster hang out/dance club drinkeries which service the area. Passerby patrons are either struck by the live band conjuring up sounds straight out of New Orleans or the raucous crowd shaking it till 4 a.m. over a wave of stiff drink options. Once inside, winter fades into summer as customers amble past the local skinny-jeaned hipsters and laid-back bros turned professionals to a pair of tiki-style bars— where $5 PBR-and-shot combos run daily— and land at the palm tree lined patio in the back, just below the steady roar of the elevated Blue Line. A deadly mix of shuffleboard, pool, and Golden Tee arcade combined with a slick classic rock jukebox and 4am closing gives Nick’s Beer Garden the nightlife vibe to keep you going till the neon hours.
Just another Wicker Park bar, but boy is it fun
Craig B. Dec 11, 2012
Nick's Beer Garden is a bizarre place. It's not particularly interesting and it doesn't really look any different from any of the other countless Wicker Park bars, but I always seem to have a good time there. The drinks and combos (hello boilermaker) aren't any different and the interior itself has the same beat up feel as plenty of other places. The crowd is a mix between the after work folks and the semi-sweaty people who come immediately after their company softball games. But again, it's almost impossible to not have a good time. And against all odds, they make a killer manhattan.
Great for a drunken evening with friends
Christina W. Dec 9, 2012
Nick's is my location of choice in Wicker Park at the end of an evening of drinking. Head there with several friends, partake in their excellent $5 PBR+whiskey shot special, and play some pool! The actual bar is nothing to write home about. in fact, I would go as far as to say it's a little bit ugly inside, with a half-hearted attempt at decorating and a dingy feel. But despite all of that, I have never had a bad time at Nick's! It's great with friends to just hang out, play video games, pool, or whatever you like. Also, I have been there three or four times (usually on weeknights because it is less crowded), and somehow there is always some sort of league team hanging out there after their game (usually kickball). It's pretty awesome. If that doesn't give you an idea of the kind of place this is, well, I'm not sure what will. So if you're a fan of the laid-back, hangout, chill bar experience, Nick's is the place for you. (Although I hear it can get pretty raucous on weekends.)
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