CHIGuide

The Best Late Night Restaurants In Chicago

The best late-night options in Chicago.

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 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. And when you do, don’t panic. These spots are all open past 11pm, and should give you plenty of options—whether you want a very relaxing sit-down meal as a reward for herding everyone out the front door before the driver canceled your ride, or just want a cheeseburger and some sleep. Grab your favorite stumbling friends, your last ounce of dignity, and get to it.

THE SPOTS

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, hummus with laffa, 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 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 1am Sunday and Wednesday, 2am Friday and Saturday

This speakeasy in Chinatown is hidden inside of Moon Palace Express, behind it's 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 Sunday-Thursday, 3am Friday and 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 2am 365 days a year.

Open Until 12am 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 2am

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 1am during the week and 3:30am on the weekend

Traspasada in West Town is open very late: 1am during the week and 3:30am on the weekend. And while a lot of decisions made that late at night are questionable, grabbing tacos here is not one of them. It’s a tiny counter-service spot, so come in with a plan. We suggest ordering the lengua or the crispy-and-not-greasy chorizo and making your friends who got into an argument at the bar wait outside.


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 make you 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 are advertising cocktails and the fire chicken—both of which are way better than whatever you were eating and drinking back then.

Open until 1am Monday-Saturday and 12am on Sundays; pizza available until 2am on Saturdays

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 11:30pm, everyone’s starving, and you want to go someplace kind of nice but still affordable. Quartino is reliably good, and 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.

Late-night menu until 1am

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 a restaurant attached to the venue and has a great late-night menu. It’s more limited but still has the important things, like beer pretzels with cheese, burgers, and cookies.

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 thebest 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 12am

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

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 24 hours

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.

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