If you want to drink like a professional, you need to drink where the professionals drink.
Luckily, we know a few pros on the inside who've shared their secrets on their favorite after-hours haunts and cocktails.
Barrelhouse Flat (Mike Ryan at Sable)
Mike Ryan of River North cocktail laboratory Sable takes a quick trip on the Red Line to one of his regular Lincoln Park hangouts, where the bourbon and gin-based Winston Wolfe and the tequila/ginger/chocolate bitters combo La Catrina are served by a team of bartenders with the chops to match Ryan's own tastes.
2624 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park
Masa Azul (Alex Bachman at Billy Sunday)
Proprietor Alex Bachman won't get a night off anytime soon from his banging new mixologoly emporium, Billy Sunday. But as soon as he does, he plans to make a beeline to this upscale Mexican restaurant for their mezcal, tequila, and lemonade-based Tour de Mexico — the most authentic native drink this side of Mexico City.
2901 W. Diversey Ave., Logan Square
Maria's Packaged Goods (Jay Schroeder at Red Door)
At Red Door, Jay Schroeder crafts classic cocktails with precision. Once he puts down the jigger, he picks up one of the many brews at this Bridgeport institution. Hard-to-find power brews including the 9-oz. draft Evil Twin Yin & Yang and the 22-oz. Mikkeller Invasion IPA don't require a mixologist, just a little self-management.
960 W. 31st St., Bridgeport (773-890-0588)