Chicago is a great sports town. Chicago is a great food town. But great food and great sports watching don’t always go hand in hand. There are a million and a half sports bars here, all respectable in their own right, but not all of them have respectable food. Take Sluggers and Cubby Bear - both places we love for the right occasion, but eating isn’t one of them.
A lot of sports bars ideal for watching a game do have good food though, it’s just a question of posting up at the right spot. Whether you’re a hometown supporter or find yourself displaced in a world full of annoying Blackhawks fans, here are some excellent places to catch both a game and a bite to eat.
If you went to a Big 10 school and like to wear puffy vests in the fall, then you don’t need us to tell you Benchmark is a great place to catch a game. Combine a retractable roof with good bar food and you can sit here eating and drinking all day without feeling trapped inside. Make sure a side of tots is involved and consider a cookie skillet for dessert.
Everything we said about Benchmark also applies to Old Town Pour House across the street. High ceilings allow for a couple of huge TV’s, and the slightly upscale nature of the bar means quality food as well. Any of the sandwiches or burgers are a good way to go, and pair them with one of the seemingly endless amount of beers Pour House has on tap.
Parlor is a throwback to college life and a peak Miller Lite game. You need to do some due diligence if you want a table, but the extra effort is worth it. A lot of pizza and craziest bread is the move.
Happy Camper is a great spot to post up with a group and eat things covered in cheese, the highlight of which will be pizza. If you have friends who aren’t as interested in the game as you even they can get behind the beer, flannel, and food.
You won’t find a crazy rowdy crowd at Melnick’s, but you will find crazy good wings. If you’re looking for a more low-key post up session, Melnick’s is your spot. You want infinity firecracker wings, a few hot wings, and nachos to ensure a balanced diet. Science says nachos are part of any balanced diet.
Cortland’s follows the simple yet effective sportsbar formula: lots of TVs + communal seating + great burgers + cheap sh*tty beer + diverse good beer = perfection. Go on Mondays when Miller Lite pitchers are $10 or Saturdays for a $5 Bloody Mary bar.
Since Ranalli’s was revamped a couple years ago it’s become an excellent environment to watch a game. The patio is ideal in the summer, but the influx of TV’s, quality pizzas, and other bar food will always treat you well. The convenient Lincoln Park location on Lincoln Ave. is also a strong bargaining chip if you have friends that live all over the city.
Generally speaking, we are fans of the bars in town run by the Four Corners crew, which includes WestEnd and also Benchmark & Ranalli’s on this list. They do a good job of cultivating a good sports watching experience while also serving good food and beer. WestEnd in the West Loop is a great example of a sports bar done right, and its location near the UC helps add to that fact.
When you don’t care about “the game” but need “the game” as a reason to drink fancy beers and eat sausages before 5:00pm on a Saturday without feeling like a degenerate, stop by Links. The majority of the TVs are digital menus of the 40 or so taps (including 2 rotating nitros), so if you’re the one diehard who truly cares, sidle up to the front bar and snag an order of the Buried Alive fries.
Alright, so Piece isn’t exactly a “sports bar” per se. But there are enough TV’s in the bar area and the pizza is delicious. If you’re looking to catch a casual game, settle in at the bar with a New Haven style pizza, which is a good companion to have for any game.
If you don’t know that you can order Athenian Room food at Glascott’s then we have failed you in life. So this is a friendly reminder that a cold beer and a piping hot Athenian chicken kalamata awaits you at the Glascott’s bar where you can post up and watch any game.
University of Wisconsin fans should already know this, but State in Lincoln Park has good food and more TV’s than any other establishment in the world. It’s a fact because we did the research. The amount of TV’s here is mesmerizing.