The Best Late-Night Restaurants In ChicagoBecause night owls need to eat too.
You’re picking up a friend at O'Hare one night and you’re both bitter and starving. You get out of work late and don't feel like staring blankly into your fridge while eating fistfuls of shredded cheese again. Or maybe you just swan-dived off a table during karaoke and it’s time to reward yourself with some sizzling beef.
Whatever the reason, you’re bound to crave some late-night nourishment at some point in time. These spots are all open past 11pm, and should give you plenty of options—whether you want a relaxing sit-down meal, or just want a cheeseburger before going to sleep.
New to the guide (09/19): Izakaya Shinya
Open until 2am (food until 1am) Friday-Monday
Warlord’s menu is always in flux (other than their burger, dishes change daily depending on what ingredients they have that week). But while it’s impossible to tell what’ll be on the menu, at least there’s solace in knowing that this Avondale restaurant serves food until 1am. And it’s all great—whether it’s a 10oz rib-eye blanketed in bordelaise, ramp pasta, or swordfish loin with miso butter. So if you’re up for a game of “What’s on the menu?” and a delicious late-night dinner (or really early breakfast), this is the spot.
Open until 2am Monday-Saturday and 12am on Sunday
Pequod’s has the best deep dish in the city and is a fun spot to hit with a group after a night out. You probably won’t need to wait very long for a table, but just in case you do, their bar next door is used as a holding pen. Plus, you can use the extra time to present your case for finally trying the black olive and meatball pizza instead of pepperoni.
Open until 12am Friday-Saturday
If during high school you ever found yourself hanging out in a smoky basement with black light posters, then Dancen in Lincoln Square will feel a little nostalgic. But instead of coming from your friend who was just kicked off the swim team, the light-obscuring haze here is generated by the excellent Korean food being grilled at the bar. And the black light posters on the walls advertise cocktails and the fire chicken—both of which are way better than whatever you were eating and drinking back then.
Open until 12am Monday-Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday, and 12am on Sunday
Gretel is from the team behind Little Bad Wolf in Andersonville (also on this guide) and has become one of our favorite spots in Logan Square for a late-night dinner. For one thing, the food is great. They also have a fantastic burger, along with shareable things like charcuterie, fried maitake, and pork belly nachos. But it’s also just a nice place to hang out for a few hours. It’s cozy and dark (seriously—the walls are painted black) and will immediately soothe your tired eyes. Plus, it has a long drink menu and a wall of liquor bottles that necessitate the bartender using a rolling ladder like Belle in the library from Beauty and the Beast.
Open until 1am Friday and Saturday
No one does banchan better than San Soo Gab San, a casual Lincoln Square Korean BBQ spot that's been around since 1992. The moment you sit down, your table is immediately overtaken by side dishes. From kimchi, to broccoli muchin, to myeolchi bokkeum, there are over 25 things to snack on between bites of grilled meat. And the seasoned meats here are fantastic—get the thinly sliced bulgogi and their sweet and savory wang kalbi, which get a boost of charcoal flavor from their grills. The dark, smoky interior is large, so it’s perfect for a late-night meal with friends.
Open until 12am Monday-Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday, and 12am on Sunday
You broke your “no coffee after five rule,” and now you’re wide awake at 12am, reading Millard Fillmore’s Wikipedia page. You’re restless, hungry, and considering a second dinner. Go to Little Bad Wolf in Andersonville, which has one of the best burgers in the city. They also have a long beer list, which you can take advantage of to try to come down from your caffeine high.
Open until 2am Tuesday-Sunday
K-pop music videos blasting from TV screens ensure that eating at Yeowoosai always feels like a party. And the party can last at this West Ridge Korean spot well into the wee hours of the morning. Open until 2am, it’s the ideal place for a birthday celebration or when you get hungry after a trip to U Star Karaoke next door. And you’ll want to bring some friends because the portions are huge. Snack on seafood pajeon, or make it a full meal with some Hawaiian-style kimchi bokkeumbap loaded with spam, bacon, pineapple, mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
Open until 1am Wednesday-Sunday
This speakeasy in Chinatown is hidden inside of Moon Palace Express, behind its kitchen door. The food menu is short, but does have some highlights, like zesty mapo fries and a pork cutlet sandwich with tonkatsu sauce—both of which go great with one of their unique cocktails like a bold-flavored Old Fashioned made with Chinese five-spice. Upbeat hip-hop music makes the place feel energetic, but it’s still relaxed enough to chill at the bar or share snacks on their comfy couches without worrying about drunk table dancers.
Open until 2am Wednesday-Monday
When it’s 1am and you want sizzling beef, salt and pepper squid, congee, or just about anything else, Chi Cafe in Chinatown Square is your answer. This place is open 4pm-2am almost every day of the week, which means it has you covered for dinner, second dinner, drunk dinner, and hangover. The menu is long, so make sure your friend you’ve been out with all night doesn’t fall asleep while deciding what to order. Be prepared for this place to get slammed when the bars close.
Open until 2am Thursday and Friday, 3am Saturday
Late-night dining in the West Loop is basically nonexistent. Most kitchens or restaurants close around 11pm or turn off the burners and only sling drinks. But a beacon of hope does exist, in the form of Bar Siena. This large, trendy Italian spot has a specific late-night menu with things like housemade pasta, and pizza with toppings like Bufala mozzarella and white truffle oil. So if you find yourself hungrily wandering in a zombie-like state down Restaurant Row at 1 in the morning, nurse yourself back to life with some meatballs.
Open until 2am Sunday-Friday, 3am Saturday
Mother's Ruin in Avondale is great when you don't want to commit to a full dinner but still want the option to grab some food. This casual cocktail bar has tasty snacks like pimento cheese with fried saltines, a very good smash burger, and deep-fried red velvet Oreos. The food is way better than it needs to be, the cocktails are all $12, and the space is busy without feeling chaotic. Plus the kitchen is open until at least 1:30am 365 days a year.
Open until 1am Monday-Thursday, 2am Friday-Saturday, and 12am on Sunday
Halfway through a show at Thalia Hall in Pilsen, you’re getting unreasonably angry about the stage lights blinding you every thirty seconds. It’s probably because you’re hungry, but don’t worry—your post-show dinner plans are literally built-in. Dusek’s is the restaurant attached to the venue and has a variety of tasty things like a smash burger, spinach dip, and dry rub wings.
Open until 12am daily
Primo Chuki’s is a popular taqueria on the border of Ravenswood and Uptown that's open until 12am every day of the week. This place is good for both carrying out and dining in, and has a large, airy dining room that's great for eating a spread of tacos. We’re big fans of the spicy and tender al pastor. It’s well-seasoned, crispy, and juicy. The flavor is so good it really doesn’t need any salsa (but we like to add it anyway). While you’re at it, get a carne asada taco, too.
Open until 2am Sunday-Wednesday, 4am Friday-Saturday
The Wiener's Circle tastes great when you're sober, but like most things in life, it's infinitely better when you're not. Is there a more iconic late-night spot? The answer is no. Order a char dog and cheese fries. If it's a particularly rowdy night, you'll probably be encouraged to yell expletives at the staff. Either way, definitely give them a high five and a tip on your way out.
Open until 2am Sunday-Friday, 3am on Saturday
No Vacancy in River North is technically a sports bar, but is really more of a utility spot. It’s just a few blocks from a bunch of train stops, there’s a patio, solid Happy Hour deals, above-average bar food like steak sliders and birria egg rolls, and interesting takes on cocktails (that can be hit-or-miss). More importantly (and according to their website), No Vacancy never closes early—last call on the kitchen is at 1am daily.
Open until 1:30am Wednesday-Monday
Shinya Ramen House is the only ramen shop in Chicago open until 1:30am, and probably the only ramen shop where you can slurp noodles while sitting on floor cushions. And because it's open late, this cozy Bridgeport spot is often packed all night with people grabbing food after hanging out at the local watering hole, and IIT students who decided slurping ramen was the best form of procrastination. Though Shinya’s standard bowls are good, the specialty options are worth trying as well, like vegan tomato or ramen with a thick curry broth.
Open daily until 2am
As a member of the Shinya Ramen family, this Wicker Park izakaya also loves to stay up late. And though most of the grilled skewers all kind of have the same sweet, soy sauce flavor, they're still pretty tasty, especially when paired with a cup crisp sake or Asahi. Plus, with Izakaya Shinya's upbeat pop soundtrack and vibrant dining room filled with parasols and paper lanterns, it's a fun place to hang and grab some late-night snacks—whether you’re here for a nightcap or the party is just getting started.
Open until 4am Sunday-Friday, 5am Saturdays
This dark, divey Wicker Park bar and restaurant has been around since 1999, and is open until 4am every day except Saturday—when it’s open until 5am. The menu has things like burgers, sandwiches, and salads. But their long list of fried appetizers like pizza puffs, fried cheese curds, and mac and cheese bites are particularly great after a night of drinking. You can get any of them topped “hot mess style” (which comes with cajun seasoning and garlic parm) and is probably an appropriate term if you’re here at 3am.
Open daily until 2am
Ghareeb Nawaz used to be known primarily as a really late-night spot (they were 24 hours a day), perfect for grabbing food after a night out. Now this Indian spot on Devon is only open till 2am—which, by the way, is still really late. Order the biryani, one of the thali meals, or a vegetable curry.
Open until 2am (food until 1am) daily
Scofflaw combines two things we love—Happy Hour and late night—to solve the highly specific need for a reasonably priced dinner with drinks in Logan Square after 11pm. Their $23 burger-fries-cocktail combo is a great deal, considering that the gin-focused drinks include ingredients like apricot liqueur and orange bitters, and the cheesy smashburger arrives on a flowery plate that looks like it came from a Victorian-era estate sale. And contrary to the popular belief that nothing good happens after midnight, Scofflaw offers free fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies if you manage to stick around past 12am.
Open until 12:30am Monday-Sunday.
That scavenger hunt your friends forced you to do took forever to finish. Who knew that trying to find a Jay Cutler jersey would be so hard? Now it’s 11:00pm, everyone’s starving, and you want to go someplace kind of nice but still affordable. Well if your quest took you to River North and you can place an order before the kitchen closes at 11:30pm, Quartino is reliably good. Its tapas-style Italian menu is reasonably priced and perfect for sharing. The space is also so big that you probably won’t have to wait for a table.
Open 24 hours daily
Deciding to hit a diner for late-night means you’re the perfect kind of drunk—drunk enough to eat greasy goodness, but not too drunk that you can’t sit at a table and support your own head. Speaking of, did you know the human head weighs eight pounds? And do you know what the hell happened to that kid from Jerry Maguire? Those are the kind of intoxicated conversations best saved for White Palace Grill, a classic Chicago diner in the South Loop open 24 hours a day.