People in Northeast Illinois know that if you want to party and find a bar, ask a local. The Chain O’ Lakes area is a boater’s haven of dive bars. We locals know we do not need a boat to enjoy the fun of these bars that inhabit the shores and off shore. Some of these bars are famous while others are a little trickier to find. The community will tell you where to find the best of the chain bars since many of them are out of sight at the end of a neighborhood road on the shores of our lakes.
Blarney’s Island and Port of Blarney
Probably the most famous of the older establishments that is still red hot with area locals and visitors alike. This bar is a dive bar with the heavy party scene. It is on an island out on Grass Lake. Locals know Thursday night is boat race night on Grass Lake in Antioch, IL. Do not fret if you are without a boat because the sister bar, land based Port O Blarney, has a boat shuttle. They have party packages, bands and an island party atmosphere not to be matched anywhere on the Chain.
I know the name is a little politically incorrect but this dive bar has everything anyone would want in a good time community bar. There are daily drink specials, karaoke, sand volleyball, and special events. The Squaw Bar is accessible by land or boat, which all of the locals know is essential. The Squaw Bar is located in Ingleside, IL off Rollins Road.
His gem, known locally as the old Tiger’s Lair (many years ago) has had a few upgrades to make it up to code for entertaining its customers. The Fairmont, located in unincorporated Lake Villa, IL off Route 59, is not much of a dive bar as it used to be, but is a great place to have some Cajun food and a beer while sitting on the deck overlooking Fox Lake. This is another ‘hidden’ bar, which is located in the far back corner of a small community. I can vouch for the excellent fish fry on Friday’s with their famous hush puppies.
This is a neighborhood Irish pub that is a Fox lake, IL favorite, located on Grand Ave. Pug Malone’s is a bar for the over 40 crowd until late at night then it is a meet and hang for the 20 to 30 year old crowd. Keep in mind that parking is very limited, especially after 9 pm when there is a DJ playing. They have $.25 wings on Wednesday and Thursday and cheap burgers anytime. There is plenty of bar entertaining activities like the pool tables, dartboards and video gaming.
These local dive bars in the Chain O’ Lakes area of Northern Illinois are just a sample of the many establishments in the area. If one is not to your liking, do a little bar hopping to find your favorite.