America’s Bar

219 W. Erie (700N, 200W) Chicago, IL 60610 R.I.P.

Editor’s note: I received the following note – perhaps you could help? If you have photographs of the old America’s Bar, please send them to me and I will forward them on.


I am currently working with the new owner of Americas Bar and have been retained to redo the Logo, and Identity, while he is looking to reopen it, he is also looking to keep some of the heritage that was there, i saw this link and the shot of the front of the bar but was wondering if you had any shots of the inside? or any other in site you might be able to shed on the bar since you took the time to do this link, look forward to hearing from you.

– G.V.

While America’s Bar was not on the scene for long, Chicagoans remember it more because of its co-owner, Walter Payton. “Sweetness” as he was nicknamed, is probably the most beloved Chicago Bear of all-time, ahead of even Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Unfortunately for the establishment, it was not so universally loved but it did attract a loyal, over-30 afterwork crowd, suburbanites and was, “Livened up by the occasional bachelorette party from the suburbs and plenty of dance music in the stadium-like room,” according to Planet 99 Chicago. America’s Bar also stood out for its late-night, happy hour buffet served from 2:30am until close (5am Saturdays, 4am every other day).

“If the city has a bar that is more fun, we haven’t found it. The theme is patriotic with red, white, and blue decor. Former Bear Walter Payton is a co-owner, and was not in sight. The crowds consist of afterwork professionals and late-night suburbanites. The cocktail buffet is unbelievably well-stocked. For $1 you can get the best smorgasbord and your pick from any of the food stations. Dance to Top Forty music with a staff that dances on the bars. If you dance on the bar, you will receive a free T-shirt. Make America’s Bar your nighttime playground.”

Hanging Out on Halsted… and Chicago’s North Side (1993)

“Afterwork rendezvous for accountants who drive Miatas. Part-owned by Walter Payton, rename it “Rumors” and it would fit into any airport hotel.”

The Official Chicago Bar Guide (1994)

America’s bar closed sometime in the 1990’s and is now the Near North location of Kozy’s Cyclery. Though a little further west (43.3 miles, to be exact), Walter Payton’s Roundhouse & America’s Brewpub serves both as a tribute to Walter Payton as well as beer enthusiasts with its award-winning, hand-crafted ales brewed on the premises – and comes strongly recommended by the Chicago Bar Project. Cheers to you, Walter!