I honestly kept forgetting that it was St. Patrick’s Day this year, while it was St. Patrick’s Day this year. It probably had everything to do with the fact that I wasn’t in my usual city of New York and was instead wandering the streets of the less familiar-to-me Chicago. It also most likely had something to do with the fact that Chicago has a weird rule regarding when they officially celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland. Apparently, if the day doesn’t fall on a Saturday, it is always celebrated (talking parade, river dyeing, the works) the weekend prior. This seems strange to me that they didn’t celebrate it on the actual day this year when it fell on a Friday – but what do I know.
The morning of March 17th started off pretty slowly. I got breakfast at a bagel shop in Lincoln Park and then headed to the Magnificent Mile for some shopping with friends. There was an occasional passerby donning a silly sequined leprechaun hat, but for the most part, it was pretty business as usual for a Friday afternoon. Slowly but surely however, right about quittin’ time the “Irish” started to rear their Guinness seeking heads. My friends and I just happened to be headed down State St. when I spotted a large, green awning flanked building. The small, dingy building seemed very out of place amongst its touristy, and overly commercial neighbors. That’s when I recognized it; it was one of the dives I had been recommended to stop at during my trip, Rossi’s Liquors.
It seemed as if fate had brought me there at that moment, so we of course had to go in! I don’t think I made a better decision than that the entire trip. That either speaks very highly of the bar, or very poorly of my decision making; I’ll let you be the judge. Once inside, I began to take in my surroundings. I was a little confused at first because the ceiling is peaked, and lined with a couple beams as if you’re in a cabin. There’s also wood panelling everywhere furthering that cabin feel. But less après-ski cabin and more creepy-hunting-shack-without-pluming cabin. PERFECT! We snagged a spot as close to the curved bar as we could and placed an order for our first round. Being a dive bar they had all of the usual suspects; PBR, Guinness, and the local favorite, Old Style, (which I had never even heard of until I came to Chicago) of course. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find Revolution on tap and got myself a tall glass of Anti-Hero.
As we sipped our beers more and more green seemed to fill the bar as time inched closer to 6pm. We soon found ourselves squished into a corner by the bottle cases, which brings me to my next point of mention; you can get beers to-go here! Rossi’s Liquors isn’t just a bar – but a bottle shop combo as well (aka Heaven). Their back cases are filled with tons of different craft beers for you to take with you after your visit. I would find this especially helpful if I was in a pinch on game day since this place opens at 7 am. You read that right; SEVEN IN THE MORNING! There’s also a ton of hotels around Rossi’s so for those not willing to give into the steep mini-bar price tags, grab a 6 pack here before you “turn in” on that next business trip!
The atmosphere in Rossi’s Liquors was friendly and unassuming, as is typical with all the best dives. The jukebox played great tune after great tune and I finally started to feel the sparkle of St. Patrick’s Day – or maybe that was just the Christmas lights that were haphazardly strewn about the place – or maybe my IPA. Definitely the IPA. I think it’s safe to say that my best moments of this trip were had in this tiny dive bar and I’m so glad it presented itself when it did. While I know there’s many other great dives in this wonderful city, I’ll always have a certain fondness for Rossi’s – if you’re heading to Chicago I hope you check it out for yourself!
412 N State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Hours: 7am – 2am
CASH ONLY – there is an ATM inside ($2.75 surcharge!)