It’s 2017, and the Chicago Cubs are the defending World Series champions. Let that sink in. Maybe a World Series is enough to come to terms with the fact the Cubs as an organization are in the midst of transforming the area around Wrigley Field by adding a park, fancier taverns, and a farmers markets whether we like it or not. A few old favorites like Red Ivy may be gone, but hey, Shake Shack is on the way. And Wrigleyville is still Wrigleyville, which means it can be your best friend or worst nightmare.
The key to Wrigleyville is knowing which bars and restaurants are like Cancun Spring Break and which are those where you can hang out and sit for food and drinks. We’re not going to pretend this neighborhood is the spot for a fancy date night, but the places in this guide will give you exactly what you need whether or not baseball and day drinking are on your mind. Here’s where to eat and drink in Wrigleyville.
We love a good stop at Lucky’s any time we’re in the Wrigley area. They have thick-cut, soft white bread that’s stuffed with your choice of meats, cheeses, and french fries. Yes, french fries in the sandwich. The novelty may have worn off, but it’s still so good.
Sitting in bleachers at the game? We hope so. Just a few blocks north of the entrance on Sheffield and Waveland is Byron’s, an old-school hot dog joint. There are a few picnic benches outside and the hot dogs and brats here are both better and cheaper than at Wrigley Field.
Dimo’s is probably best known for their macaroni and cheese pizza. And if that’s not something you knew about, sounds like your food decision while in Wrigley was just made for you. Don’t forget a slice of s’mores pizza for dessert
Lark is a new Neapolitan pizza spot technically in Boystown, but not far from the stadium, and it’s our new sleeper pick if you’re trying to sit down and get served food before or after game. The menu is large, but aside from a couple starters like Tot-Chos (tater tot nachos) or wings, pizza is what you want. If it were up to us, Lark would get rid of everything else on the menu and push their excellent Italian style pies way harder than they do. You can’t go wrong on the pizza front, so make sure you have enough.
If you need a quick bite but don’t want to go over the top with hot dogs, pizza, or Italian beefs, then Zam Zam is a worthwhile pit stop. They serve respectable chicken shawarma and falafel sandwiches only a short walk from Wrigley Field, and this way you can feel better about yourself tomorrow.
What’s that place with all the goofy sh*t on the walls? Shenannigans? Are we talking about Shenannigans? Na, just Cozy Noodles & Rice, the neighborhood Thai favorite with all sorts of toys and decorations. Get any of the noodles or curry dishes and you’ll be good to go, either in the restaurant or back at home on your couch.
The burger options at Rockit are seemingly endless. You can get anything from a truffle mushroom burger, to a burger topped with breaded and stuffed jalapeños, to the Rockit burger with wagyu beef, brie, and date aioli. If you can’t find a burger here that you like, there’s something wrong with you. This is a sophisticated burger bar by Wrigley standards.
Here’s the thing - when you can get yourself some Al’s only a few blocks away from the stadium, it’s tough not to. Yes, it’s one of the franchised stores, but not much sounds better than a cheap Italian beef with giardiniera or a Chicago dog dragged through the garden during a day of baseball and fun.
Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden has everything that makes Chicago great when it’s nice outside all in one place: basic beer, craft beer, solid barbecue food, and an excellent outdoor area in Wrigleyville to take full advantage of summer. Make sure to do just that before we’re all freezing our asses off again.
Uncommon Ground may be on Clark just north of Wrigley Field, but it doesn’t cater to the drunk and rowdy baseball fan crowd. Not that you can’t be a fan and get food and drinks before or after a game, but that’s not its sole purpose of existence. This place has been a pioneer in the sustainable, farm-to-table, grow stuff on your own rooftop movement since 1991, so pop in for a casual meal any day of the week, baseball or no baseball.
The best way to counteract all of those Old Styles you’re probably drinking in Wrigleyville is to balance it out with Northern Thai food from TAC Quick. Life is all about balance, so if you overdo it on the beer, overdo it on the Thai too. That’s how balance is achieved.
Want something a little different? Head down Sheffield just south of Clark to Puesto, the cute little cafe and Latin American sandwich shop. The Puesto Cuban or Venezuelan style arepas are where it’s at, and you can get either savory versions with meat or sweet ones packed with Nutella.
We’re very into the influx of casual crab and seafood boil spots that keep popping up, and Lowcountry is one of them. The former Blocks & Birds space is super low key, so feel feel to get your hands dirty with a bag of shrimp, crab, and crawfish at one of their picnic benches. Fried oreos and beignets for dessert are also a smart idea.
Sluggers is our go-to choice after a Cubs’ game, and it’s a jack of all trades for continuing the good times. Keep drinking at the bar on the main floor, or head upstairs to the batting cages/arcade games/dueling piano bar. Definitely make fun of your friends who are uncoordinated and can’t swing a bat.
Deuces and Diamond isn’t quite Paris Club, but it’s the closest thing you’ll find in Wrigley. It’s huge, with two floors and a great patio. Be real fancy and take the escalator upstairs, especially when you’re having trouble using your own two feet.
The Cubby Bear is the Mecca of Wrigley on game day. It’s directly across the street from the stadium and attracts a huge crowd. Live music makes it a lively spot if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for.
Not for baseball fans. In fact, Guthrie’s is for people looking to get away from the baseball and Old Style. They have some of the friendliest staff around, and there’s plenty of board games to step up the entertainment factor without any baseball on TV.
It’s 75 and sunny. Friday afternoon game day and you skipped work to watch Arietta on the mound against the Cardinals. Pregame beers at Murphy’s Bleachers just outside of right field just became the greatest place in the world.
Vines has one of the largest and best patios in the neighborhood and it stares directly at Wrigley Field. It’s ideal for eating, drinking, thinking about going inside to the game, and then continuing to drink on the patio without ever going inside to the game.
You can pop into Toon’s no matter the day of the week. It’s a few blocks Northeast away from Wrigley, so it shouldn’t get the crazy overflow. It’s ideal for hanging and a quick bite of solid bar food - keep an eye out for their summer crawfish boils.
To paraphrase Nisei’s website, the bar was allegedly opened by Japanese immigrants around 1950. In 2009, two friends realized they were “just $899,800,162.00 short in their attempt to buy the Chicago Cubs,” so they bought Nisei instead. Luckily for us, it’s why one of the great dive bars of Wrigley remains.
Sports Corner is the first bar you’ll encounter after walking off the red line L stop at Addison. Posting up here is the equivalent of betting all your money on the first slot machine in the Vegas airport. Best or worst way to start an adventure – your choice.
The Gingerman Tavern is the opposite of what you probably associate with Wrigleyville. No Cubs, no sports, and no Wagon Wheel sing-a-longs. Just a quality selection of microbrews and a few pool tables, and it’s always a good idea when you want to ditch the crowds.