Where Do I Drink After an Improv Show?

After performing improvisors are usually in the mood for a beer or twenty. Each theater seems to have a bar that most of the performers go to after the show. Below is a list of bars that are typically linked to a theater and a quick run down of each of them. All the info and pros/cons are based on a place to go after a show and aren’t really a full review of the bar.


Old Town Ale House

Old Town Ale House

  • INFO: Roger Ebert called it the “Best Bar in the World That I Know About“. There is really no other place like it in Chicago. You should at least go once.
  • PROS: Awesome naked paintings all over the walls and a fantastic atmosphere.
  • CONS: Cash only, sometimes unbelievably crowded, and it smells like your grandparents basement.


  • INFO: This place is obsoletely horrible and the only bad bar on this whole list. I’m convinced that it would have been out of business long ago if it weren’t for its fantastic location next to Second City. The service is deplorable, the atmosphere douchey, and the food is average at best. It’s only on the list because so many improvisors go there when they really shouldn’t.
  • PROS: The beer is as cold as the hearts of the staff.
  • CONS: The service at this place is nothing short of atrocious.
  • WHERE TO GO BESIDES THIS PLACE – Twin Anchors has delicious BBQ, a relaxed atmosphere, and a sperate bar from the dinning area. McGinny’s Tap has good service and plenty of space for a big group after a show.




  • INFO:  Mullen’s isn’t your stereotypical Wrigleyville bar. They have a stage upstairs that regularly hosts improv shows and if there isn’t a Cubs game they have good drink specials.
  • PROS: Service is good and the outdoor seating area is awesome for large groups.
  • CONS: During a Cubs game this is a completely different bar. It’s understandable considering you’re just steps away from the stadium and if you don’t enjoy extremely intoxicated Cubs fans then maybe you shouldn’t be in Wrigleyville.
The Gingerman Tavern

The Gingerman Tavern

  • INFO: Gingerman has a great “neighborhood bar” feel to it. It’s basically split in half with a narrow bar in the front and a large back with pool tables.
  • PROS: Good whisky selection if you’re into that kind of thing and the servers are fun.
  • CONS: Same problems as Mullen’s during a game, but not as bad. Again, what else would you expect.




INFO: You might have already noticed that the bars on this list are extremely close to theaters. Well that’s because improvisors are lazy and don’t like to go too far after a show to drink. That’s what makes the Chemically Imbalanced Comedy (CIC) & The Annoyance bar so great. (continued below)

Annoyance Bar

Annoyance Bar

So if you’re not performing and want to go hang out in a place that will be guaranteed to have a few improvisors then both these places have a great bar for you. If I had to pick bars for each of these outside of the theater themselves I would pick Fat Cat for Annoyance and Holiday Club for CIC. Holiday Club is also just a universal improv bar and it has a separate dancing area.

  • PROS: Full of improvisors
  • CONS: Full of improvisors


Clark Dog

Clark Dog

  • INFO: Technically this place is called Clark Street Bar, but no one calls it that. Probably the smallest bar on this list don’t be surprised to find only one server taking care of this whole place.
  • PROS: It’s attached to Clark Dog so it has great food and service is fast.
  • CONS: Small
Town Hall Pub

Town Hall Pub

  • INFO: This place hasn’t been updated since the Bears won a Super Bowl. It’s cash only, but what do you expect when you see an old tube TV on the wall with a VCR attached to it?
  • PROS: Hosts an open mic night and has a great atmosphere.
  • CONS: You can almost hear all the lost dreams.


These theaters are basically next to each other in Andersonville so I decided to mush them together. You’re already in Andersonville so you have a great selection of bars to choose from and Swedish knick knacks to buy.

Hop Leaf

Hop Leaf

  • INFO: Hop Leaf is probably the nicest “bar” on this list because it’s more of a restaurant than anything.
  • PROS: Great beer selection, great food, and a really cool building.
  • CONS: Usually busy and hard to get a seat.


  • INFO: This bar has a ton of space for a large group after a show and typically isn’t busy.
  • PROS: A great alternative to Hop Leaf if you’re just looking for a beer.
  • CONS: Food is okay at best.




  • INFO: If walk down probably the most dangerous staircase in Chicago you will find a sperate dance area if you’re in the mood.
  • PROS: Really cool and different on the inside than any of the other bars on this list. Lots of different seating areas.
  • CONS: Sometimes some of the bros make their way up from the dance floor to douche it up.


Trader Todd's

Trader Todd’s

  •  INFO: Why is this place island themed? I don’t know. Why is there a corral colored bus outside? I don’t know. It’s just an awesome karaoke bar and a ton of fun. They even used to have their own “Trader Todd’s Ale” on tap that tasted like boxed wine mixed with old beer. I think they took it off the menu though because it might have killed someone.
  • PROS: Some of the best karaoke fun you can have in town.
  • CONS: Not a good place to talk with friends.


  • INFO: If you’re not in the mood for karaoke then Clarke’s is right across the street from ComedySportz.
  • PROS: Great place to talk with friends after a show and enjoy a beer.
  • CONS: Nothing really special about the place.
  • OTHER BARS: ComedySportz does have their own bar, but it’s pretty small.

Filed under: Behind Improv, Random, Theaters

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