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4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Almost every weekend, there is a frat party and if not, someone you know is having an apartment party. Dorm parties are allowed, but are under loosely monitored by the RA. However, they usually do not care about underage drinking and neither does the UCPD. If you wish to find a bar/club, there are a few decent ones near campus and the Metra, CTA, or a taxi can take you downtown or to northern Chicago.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: There are several under-21 clubs in Chicago (and many more over 21, obviously), and bars abound. There is regular Wednesday bar night for those under 21, and the frats frequently have weekend parties. Beyond that many upperclassmen simply keep copious amounts of alcohol in their rooms which they would be willing to share with friends. Usually you won't find both dancing and drinking at an on-campus event, which is unfortunate, but the dancing and drinking independently are both great, both accessible, and both frequent. The CTA, once you get used to it and start using TransLoc, is fantastic and perfectly safe, despite what some might want to tell you.

3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Frats are always doing things, apartment parties are pretty easy to find. Partying on campus really isn't that exclusive.

2 College Freshman

Nightlife: There are parties available, but they're not a priority and not everyone is interested.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: Since the rules aren't strict on parties, anyone can get into a party and when you go there to dance with friends, it's a great time.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 393rd
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 976th
    Tamest Party Scenes
  • 1149th
    Best Drink Prices

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Liane Rousseau
Cincinnati, Ohio
English Language and Literature
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

The nightlife at the University of Chicago isn’t as wild and crazy as "Animal House." However, you’ll never have a night where there isn’t something to do. You can usually find something going on in Hyde Park. The main social scene takes place at fraternities and apartment parties. While they aren’t parties that are going to be talked about for decades to come, they are a ton of fun and a lot of people go. Individuals, organizations, or even entire buildings host apartment parties. There are also some official events hosted by the University, like "Blues 'N' Ribs" and "Summer Breeze," which are very popular. You can also head into the city to see a show, go to a nice dinner, catch a movie, or basically anything you can think of. All of these are great options for underage students, but you’ll find people in all years staying on campus for a weekend night.

If you’re 21 (or have some kind of identification that says you are), you’ll never run out of bars to visit. You can stay in Hyde Park and go to some of the campus bars, like Jimmy’s or the Pub. Neither is very upscale, but they have a great college bar-vibe and are super cheap. If you’re bored in Hyde Park, you have the entire city of Chicago at your disposal. There are great bars in the South Loop and on the North Side by DePaul’s campus. You can usually find a place with a good deal, so you’re not spending too much money. If you want to drop some big bucks, any of the clubs in the city are fantastic. Basically, you’ll never use the excuse “I couldn’t find anything to do” as a reason for staying in on a Friday night.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Near DePaul University
  • One of the on-campus areas densely populated by students, like 54th and Woodlawn
  • South Loop
Other Places to Check Out
  • CafĂ© Ba Ba Reeba
  • HotHouse
  • Joe's Bar
  • McFadden's
  • The Underground Chicago
  • The Violet Hour
  • Wrightwood Tap
Local Specialties
Goose Island Brew Pub: Try 312's urban wheat ale, which is inspired by the city of Chicago
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Flip cup
  • Kings
  • Power hour
Useful Resources for Nightlife
Closing Time
Depending on whether it's a weeknight or weekend, bars close anywhere from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Cove or Jimmy's
Organization Parties
There are a couple of RSO-sponsored parties during the year (recognized student organizations). "Blues 'N' Ribs" is a big one during fall quarter, and "Summer Breeze" is the highlight of the spring. Some apartments will throw parties under the heading of a certain organization, like a Frisbee party or a rugby party. The fraternities throw a lot of parties throughout the year. Each one normally has a theme, and some get incredibly creative.
Did You Know?
  • The Chicago Theatre has been open since 1921 and is referred to as "the Wonder Theater of the World."
  • There are more than 1,800 bars in Chicago. You can find reviews and suggestions from the Chicago Bar Project at

Club ListingsWhat's This?


The interior of the Underground looks like a military hideaway, featuring artillery cases as tables.

56 W. Illinois St.


(312) 644-7600


This club is just minutes from the Magnificent Mile (shopping destination) and has had artists such as Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas perform on stage.

220 W. Chicago Ave.


(312) 654-0234

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Lucky Strike

The Lucky Strike is a swank bowling alley, billiard hall, restaurant, and pub located on the second floor of the AMC movie complex.

322 E. Illinois St.


(312) 245-8331

Goose Island Brew Pub

The best place for home-brewed beer is Goose Island. Every day, there are more than 10 local brews on tap, and they sell five-gallon kegs of a specific beer. You can rent out deluxe party rooms for group events, too.

3535 N. Clark St.


(773) 832-9040

Woodlawn Tap (aka "Jimmy's")

This is probably the only bar in the world that can claim that it once had five Ph.D. students tending bar. Despite being described as "a scruffy place," Jimmy's has the kind of allure that only the most intellectual university would have-encyclopedias and the complete works of Shakespeare adorn the walls so patrons can use them to settle disputes.

1172 E. 55th St.


(773) 643-5516

The Pub

The Pub is University of Chicago's private club.

Ida Noyes, lower level


(773) 702-9737


Known for its refreshingly unpretentious atmosphere and its so-loud-you-can't-hear-yourself-think music, Bootleggers serves as a great oasis for escaping academia and forgetting a plummeting GPA.

11 W. Division St.


(312) 266-0944

Bar Louie

The most upscale of the three Hyde Park watering holes, Bar Louie offers great martinis, a wide bar, good food (tacos), and a quieter setting than Jimmy's and the Cove. There is outdoor seating in season. Bar Louie is located directly across from the Point.

5500 S. Shore Dr.


(773) 363-5300

Falcon Inn

The Falcon Inn is a neighborhood bar, a good place to stop for pitchers of beer with a group of friends.

1601 E. 53rd St.


(773) 363-3793

The Cove

Located near the lake, the Cove offers a relaxing atmosphere to the South Side crowd. Students go Tuesdays for the cheap pitchers. Nobody really understands why the owners went for the nautical motif, since sailors haven't really walked the streets of Hyde Park since well, ever. Regardless, ship models, pictures of Moby Dick, and ship wheels adorn the walls of this cozy little bar.

1750 E. 55th St.


(773) 684-1013

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Seven Ten Bowling Alley

1055 E. 55th St.


(773) 347-2695

Apartment and fraternity parties

There are parties all around campus every weekend.

On campus


Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 45 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 56 responses

  • 4% There are no good options.
  • 4% Use a designated driver.
  • 29% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 34% Public transportation.
  • 14% Taxis.
  • 16% Walk.

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 58 responses

  • 10% Parties? What parties?
  • 17% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 47% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 26% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 0% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 5 responses

  • 40% Apartment Parties
  • 20% When the Latino Organization hosts parties
  • 20% The Dean's Men & UT
  • 20% Frat Parties
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