The Barrelhouse Flat

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The Barrelhouse Flat The Barrelhouse Flat in Chicago's Lincoln Park is a temple to craft cocktails. Get the lowdown on this great Chicago bar/lounge at Party Earth. Chicago United States 41.92959 -87.65466
4.34 7
The Barrelhouse Flat - Cocktail Bar | Lounge in Chicago.
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Party Earth Review Helmed by a former bartender from The Violet Hour and a GM whose previous ventures include The Aviary, The Barrelhouse Flat is a temple to craft cocktails located in an area better known for rowdy packs of college kids... ... read full review

  • Train:

    Brown, Purple Express Lines: Diversey, Fullerton; Red Line: Fullerton

  • Phone:


  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–W 6pm–2am, Th–F 6pm–4am, Sa 6pm–5am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Barrelhouse Flat Review

The Scene

The Barrelhouse Flat in Chicago's Lincoln Park is a temple to craft cocktails. Get the lowdown on this great Chicago bar/lounge at Party Earth.

Helmed by a former bartender from The Violet Hour and a GM whose previous ventures include The Aviary, The Barrelhouse Flat is a temple to craft cocktails located in an area better known for rowdy packs of college kids.

The first floor has a saloon feel, with weathered exposed brick and a vintage jukebox that plays this strange thing called records. Flanked by a long bar and open kitchen, the room is dotted with paneled booths and scattered tables, as well as low seating in the front that offers great views of the inevitable evening lines.

Management keeps the space from ever getting too packed, so the diverse crowd of older professionals, tatted hipsters, and preppier DePaul students can all enjoy a laid-back setting. The upstairs lounge with its own bar boasts an even more refined atmosphere, with beautifully patterned wallpaper, plush armchairs, a fireplace, and a custom-built pool and card table.

Upstairs or down, patrons are faced with an extensive cocktail list, with roughly seventy options organized by liquor and preparation style, as well as signature punches delivered in large crystal bowls via rickety old handcarts. Add to this a pianist plunking out improvised jazz most nights, as mellow friends snack on seasonal small plates like pig face poutine and even house-made cotton candy.

With its whimsical charms and historic vibe, The Barrelhouse Flat would be right at home in more artsy neighborhoods, and no doubt attracts lots of new blood to Lincoln Park.

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Tip from Jonah:

The cocktails at Barrelhouse Flat are the real deal and take a while to make – don’t think you can just rush in for a quick drink. It’s also probably a good idea to ask to close out your tab long before you have to dash somewhere else.

  • Crowd

    Cocktail snobs, mellow hipsters, preppy college kids, older professionals, romantic couples, and relaxed groups of friends, 20s to mid-30s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Pianist most nights from 8pm playing improvised “barrelhouse” jazz. Jukebox plays eclectic mix of blues and ragtime, all on 45s. Pool table and card table in the upstairs lounge.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Well-curated list of seasonal and constantly changing small plates, such as deviled eggs, sweetbread bites, porchetta sandwiches, pig face poutine, and cotton candy.

    Upstairs available for private rental and comes equipped with satellite TV and an iPod docking station. Patrons should expect a wait most nights after 9pm. Reservations not accepted.

  • Prices

    Small plates $9–$15, seasonal salads $7, old bay rice chips $3, daily popcorn $4, cotton candy $5. Beer $3–$10+, wine $9–$11/glass or $36–$44/bottle, cocktails $10+, punch bowls $30–$175.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Hipster and trendy casual; flowery dresses, fitted jeans, sparkly tops, collared shirts, vests, sweaters, some business wear.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any day before 9pm for a chance to sample the intricate drink list without waiting in line, or Thursday through Saturday nights to enjoy a busy but purposely not overly crowded scene.

  • Close By

    Intimate music venue Lincoln Hall (2424 North Lincoln Avenue) pulls in big names and indie acts, perfect for catching a creative performance before or after some creative cocktails.

The Barrelhouse Flat User Reviews

Average rating:
Like Violet Hour, just a little more fun
Kathleen W. May 5, 2013
The former Violet Hour bartender in charge of the delicious cocktails at Barrelhouse Flat has my undying love and devotion. The menu is long and involved, but the bartenders are knowledgeable and friendly. I've spent a lot of time pestering the staff with questions and, bless them, they never appear annoyed. Try to do this when it's not too crowded, like on a weeknight or sometime before 9. The atmosphere is fun and trendy, and if the speakeasy thing is a gimmick, Barrelhouse does it with panache. The lounge upstairs is great for larger groups, especially on a weekend, although the wait can be long. Downstairs is generally more crowded and noisy but it's almost always possible to snag a booth. The food is excellent, I especially love the poutine or the daily popcorn for snacking. There is usually a short wait on weekend nights, but it's never been nearly long enough to put me off. Basically, if Violet Hour were a smidge more laid back, you'd get Barrelhouse Flat.
Perfect first date spot
Mallory Ann S. Apr 3, 2013
Struggling with picking a restaurant for a first date? Look no further. The Barrelhouse Flat is a cozy, semi-casual restaurant with craft cocktails, a pool table and dim lights. There is no chance for an awkward moment with this restaurant and the location is a prime hotspot for young professionals in Chicago. The wait staff is very friendly and always willing to pick our your next drink or steer you in the direction of what you are searching for. The small bits also are delicious and the Asian wings fall right off the bone. The staff also is on top of pairing your drinks with your food. Overall, this is a perfect first date hotspot in Lincoln Park and will leave you coming back for more.
Amazing cocktails; too bad about the location
Brinda G. Dec 12, 2012
I love the craft-cocktail trend. Though I usually don't go for mixed drinks, I make exceptions for menus like Barrelhouse Flat's, with its pages and pages of beautiful-sounding concoctions. It takes ages to make some of them, but they all taste fantastic. The bar does a good job with its oldsy-timesy theme without making it cartoonish. It’s the kind of place you’d expect in a hipster neighborhood like Logan Square, but it’s right in the middle of Fratty Central in Lincoln Park. The crowd is still pretty diverse, but you get roving bros showing up. Maybe pulled in by the spirit of Déjà Vu Nightclub, which used to be on this spot? It doesn’t matter…the bar is a great experience for drink-lovers.
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