The Matchbox

Dive Bar
The Matchbox Constructed of old brick and sandwiched against a neighboring restaurant, The Matchbox is a dive bar that looks a lot like its name. Chicago United States 41.895851 -87.654867
3.87 6
The Matchbox - Dive Bar in Chicago.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Constructed of old brick and sandwiched against a neighboring restaurant, The Matchbox is a dive bar that looks a lot like its name. All the same, this tiny, tapering corner venue – only three feet wide at its narrowest... ... read full review

  • Neighborhood:

    River West
  • Address:

    770 North Milwaukee Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60622

    Get Directions

  • Train:

    Blue Line: Chicago

  • Phone:

    312-666-9292

  • Hours:

    M–F, Su 4pm–2am, Sa 4pm–3am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Matchbox Review

The Scene

Constructed of old brick and sandwiched against a neighboring restaurant, The Matchbox is a dive bar that looks a lot like its name.

Constructed of old brick and sandwiched against a neighboring restaurant, The Matchbox is a dive bar that looks a lot like its name.

All the same, this tiny, tapering corner venue – only three feet wide at its narrowest point – boasts more than thirty varieties of bottled beer, from microbrews to rare French imports, not to mention over twenty brands of tequila and bourbon and the joint’s popular homemade pineapple- and ginger- infused vodkas.

Spare in décor, the place consists of a slender, candlelit wooden bar running down the left side, with funky pop memorabilia, vintage beer ads, and art deco hangings adding bits of color beneath a glittering disco ball.

A line of simple bar stools takes up the other side of the venue, where neighborhood hipsters and young professionals squeeze in alongside grittier regulars to chat, gaze out the wide windows, or bob their heads to the folksy rock tunes in the background.

Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take much for the bar to get packed to the rafters, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when patrons spill onto the sidewalk to kick back at the handful of chairs and tables or smoke their cigars, also sold at the bar.

A laid-back vibe and friendly atmosphere mean that everyone from college kids to suited professionals intermingles at The Matchbox – but then again, they don’t have much of a choice.

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Tip from Jonah:

The bathroom here has to be the smallest room ever built. It’s like peeing in a dollhouse – and there’s only one. If you plan on staying a while, it might be smart to snake a seat toward the back; otherwise, be prepared to fight your way down the cramped bar when nature calls.

  • Crowd

    All types, neighborhood regulars, hipsters, and professionals, 20s to 40+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Bartender’s iPod mix of mellower rock tunes from the likes of Elton John and The Beatles.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Bar snacks like pretzels and popcorn on busy nights.

  • Prices

    Beer $4–$7, cocktails $7–$10, mixed drinks $6–$9.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes, though mostly jeans and comfortable casual attire.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Late Friday and Saturday nights for an extremely packed scene, or any night after work for a decent crowd.

  • Close By

    Right next to The Matchbox is The Silver Palm (768 North Milwaukee Avenue), a restaurant housed in an actual railroad dining car and serving American steakhouse cuisine.

The Matchbox User Reviews

Average rating:
Excellent cocktails in a tiny bar
Clarissa D. Aug 28, 2013
This is one of Chicago's unsung gems. The bar itself is very small - consisting essentially of one bar with seats. And that's it. When it's nice out, there are seats outdoors. But you don't come here for the space! It's the cocktails that make me return again and again. The Manhattans are great - complete with a bourbon-soaked cherry. I've also had friends rave about their Pisco Sours, their Cosmopolitans, and Gimlets. The best part is that the bartenders are very down to earth and friendly, and they'll give you a shaker with the rest of the cocktail if not all of it fits in the glass! This is the place to go for a couple of drinks to start your night off right, or to finish it up with a delicious nightcap.
Cool and friendly space
Maria S. May 7, 2013
One of the tiniest, if not, smallest bars in Chicago. Seats line the bar and there is some outside seating when the weather permits. If you go on a weeknight, you will catch a good crowd of regulars. Everyone is very friendly and due to its small, intimate size, you are definitely likely to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. I enjoyed my visit.
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