Locals in search of down-and-dirty watering holes in the City of Wood Dale–just five miles west of O’Hare Airport–can choose from an eclectic mix of dive bars located along the heavily trafficked Irving Park Road. Each venue has a distinct personality and attracts a specific crowd; some have been around for decades while others are new kids on the block. Visit all of these joints to see which one best suits your sensibilities-but travel by foot if you intend to drink at all of them so eagle-eye Wood Dale police patrols don’t pull you over!
JB’s Bar, located at 146 West Irving Park Road, looks like the quintessential dive bar from the exterior and the interior doesn’t disappoint. The beer menu could knock your socks off, but you’ll still feel at home if you prefer a Miller Lite in a plastic cup. JB’s has been adopted by locals who are serious about imbibing and communing. Snacks are available, but since other Wood Dale dive bars up the food ante, you may wish to move on for sustenance. This dive bar is open for 15 hours straight each day from Mondays to Thursdays, so no matter the hour, you’ll likely find an empty bar stool at JB’s.
Everything about Tomczak’s Tap, located at 265 East Irving, is small–from the beer menu to the interior space–but TV screens are ginormous, so get your Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Sox game fixes here. Home to third shift workers seeking post-work beverages and companionship, Tomczak’s morphs into a mecca for dart-playing, beer sloshing whippersnappers by evening. Open at 11 a.m. for lunch, Tomczak’s has lots of history: Opened in 1973, it remains cheap, far from pretentious and a home base for Wood Dale residents for 41 years. Indulge in a Wood Dale tradition at JB’s on Friday nights: the all-you-can-eat fish fry, offering beer-battered cod, catfish or perch. Need more information? Visit Tomczak’s Facebook page.
It’s a campy destination near a laundromat in an Irving Park Road strip mall, but the Kon Kai Tiki Lounge at 334 Georgetown Square meets dive bar criteria with a quirky twist. Open Wednesday through Saturday at 5 p.m., get a Landshark Beer, pot stickers and Polynesian umbrella drinks at the only Wood Dale tavern featuring sobering South Pacific kitsch on the walls. Ironically, Kon Kai Tiki is located next door to the VFW Hall where regulars perch on stools like birds on telephone lines, so if Polynesia isn’t “divey” enough for your taste, take a pass on the pineapple drinks and report to the VFW hall next door where boxed red and white wine, beer on tap, wood paneling and war posters could do it for you.
Crossroads Tavern & Eatery is hard to miss at 396 West Irving Park Road; it’s the only Wood Dale dive bar on Irving Park sprouting a palm tree on the bar’s outdoor deck. Crossroads is the most family-oriented dive bar of the bunch. Serving craft beers and bar drinks; soup to “Heart Attack Killer Brownie” menu selections have evolved from once-exclusive bar fare (thin crust pizza, ribs, wings and half-price Monday burgers). Nail daily drink specials by visiting this website. Doors open daily at 11:30 a.m. Closing time is 1 a.m. on week days; 2 a.m. on weekends.