12 Chicago Sports Bars That Also Serve Good Food
Sports bars that are great for watching games but also have good food.
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.
Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
Alright, so Piece isn’t exactly a “sports bar” per se. But this Wicker Park restaurant has 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 any of their New Haven-style pies (get the white pizza with clams for a true Connecticut experience), which makes a great companion to have for any game.
photo credit: Broken Barrel Bar
The Broken Barrel Bar
With three indoor sections and a massive patio (all of which have their own bar and TVs) there is no shortage of booze and screens in this cavernous Lincoln Park bar. And while their burger and pulled pork sandwich are tasty, the wings need to be part of every order. They get an extra layer of flavor from being smoked over oak logs pre-fry, and come with a variety of sauces ranging from bourbon BBQ to the fiery ”sex panther” made with ghost peppers and habaneros. There’s also an option to get them grilled—something we recommend since the char pairs perfectly with their tangy smoky chipotle sauce.
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If you went to a Big 10 school and like to wear puffy vests in the fall, then you probably 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 eat and drink at this Old Town bar all day without feeling trapped inside. Make sure a side of tots is involved and order a cookie skillet for dessert.
Old Town Pour House
Everything we said about Benchmark also applies to Old Town Pour House just across the street. High ceilings allow for a couple of huge TVs, 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.
If you don’t know that you can order Athenian Room food at Glascott’s in Lincoln Park 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.
Passport Bar Room
Passport has 17 TVs, but this Wicker Park spot feels more like a cocktail lounge than a typical sports bar. This is due to its space full of faux suede and leather booths, geometric lights, plant wallpaper, and basement speakeasy, but perhaps mostly because—pause for dramatic effect—they don’t have draft beer. But we’re willing to overlook this because they do have it in bottles and cans, and they have great food. Going along with the international theme (as evidenced by their name) Passport’s menu is wide-ranging, with tasty things like sweet chili wings, a smoky chorizo and labneh pambazo, and a juicy burger with spicy chipotle onions and pineapple.
Parlor is a throwback to college life and a peak Miller Lite game. But you'll definitely need to do some due diligence if you want a table at this always-busy West Loop pizza spot. But the extra effort is worth it, with good pies, plenty of TVs, and a fun bustling atmosphere. A lot of pizza and sharables like individually topped nacho bites is the move.
photo credit: The Globe Pub
The Globe Pub
This North Center sports bar specializes in soccer (with a particular allegiance to Arsenal), which means that it might be packed at 6:30am on Saturdays with Gooners (a.k.a. Arsenal fans). The Globe Pub’s cozy wooden space is also great for watching baseball, basketball, or American football (a.k.a. “real football”) with a pint and something to eat. Their menu has plenty of variety, like fish and chips, chicken tinga quesadillas, and panko-breaded scotch eggs with curry aioli that make a great starter. Equally eclectic is their draft list which has 45 beers, ranging from local favorites to harder-to-find European brews.
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 (though an order of breadsticks with goat cheese never hurt anyone). The pies at this upbeat Old Town spot come with all sorts of toppings, from pulled pork to blackened chicken, so there's a little something for everyone. And if you have friends who aren’t as interested in the game as you, even they can get behind the beer, flannel, and food.
photo credit: Christina Slaton
Jake Melnick's Corner Tap
You won’t find a crazy rowdy crowd at this River North bar, so it's great if your ideal sports-viewing experience is a lowkey place where you don't have to worry about the possibility of someone screaming "Touchdown!" right into your ear. And when it comes to food, this place has great wings. 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.
Michael's Original Pizzeria & Tavern
One foot into Michael’s Pizza and it’s clear this Uptown spot takes sports very seriously. TVs streaming every game imaginable double as the space’s wallpaper, along with college flags and framed photos and magazine covers of athletes. Like most sports bars, you can find decent wings and burgers, but the square-cut, tavern-style pizzas are what you should order. The crust has a nice crispiness, with plenty of tomato sauce, cheese, and many toppings to choose from like pepperoni, artichoke, and giardiniera. It’s the ideal snack to fuel yelling at a screen.
Since Ranalli’s was revamped a few years ago it’s become an excellent place to watch a game. The patio is ideal in the summer, but the influx of TVs, 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're trying to wrangle a bunch of friends from all over the city.