Is this the year, Cubs fans? Whatever happens to the Cubs this year, you'll want to be there to watch it. Here are some of our picks for the best places around Wrigleyville
to watch the game (and even grab some good grub while you're at it):
More of a Sox fan? Check out these bars instead.
We've got just three words for you: free hot dogs. Yes, the Shilling serves 'em up before and after games (with a drink purchase, of course). And they're amazingly fresh and good. While you can expect a full-on party atmosphere, they do their best to keep it in check and keep the drinks flowing for all. A standing special of $4 big cans of Old Style is the way to go, and they also serve a pretty good menu for a ballpark bar. But admit it, we had you at "free hot dogs," didn't we?
Located just a few blocks from Wrigley Field, Redmond's is a world away from its rowdier, raunchier neighbors. A neighborhood pub with the requisite long, wooden bar and sometimes-sticky floor, it is home to Wrigleyville's more sophisticated beer drinkers. Even on game days, the crowd remains somewhat reserved, seated at booths and opting for import drafts rather than the Pabst-drenched gauntlets found around the corner. It's got Bud Light, but also serves Blue Moon (and 11 other beers on tap). Instead of dripping bottles served from tubs by indifferent bimbos, Redmond's offers at least 25 different types of bottled beer slid across the bar by some of the friendliest bartenders in town.
Vines on Clark
Brought to you by the same owners as the Cubby Bear, Vines on Clark, the hood's only rooftop dining venue, is a dressier way to enjoy the Wrigley Field experience. Trade the Old Style draft for a pink lemonade martini made with Svedka citron, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and sour mix, sit back and take in the cries of the crowd. On non-game days, take advantage of the free parking lot and watch all the action on one of four flat-screen TVs.
Mullen's on Clark
This is a sports bar in the classic sense: Five TVs and two big screen projectors play the game, while beer-drinking patrons play foosball, Golden Tee and darts (the real kind, with metal tips, so watch out!). Music plays at a raucous but not deafening volume, making Mullen's as suited to friendly conversation as it is for a little friendly competition. The backyard beer garden consists of several tables set up in the alley, offering a better chance of finding a seat and a smaller chance of having beer spilled on you.
Perhaps best known for being co-owned by Don Gibb, who played Ogre in the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies, Trader Todd's is more Animal House than nerd-fest. Parked out front is the "Tiki Transit," a converted minibus that acts as a free shuttle from Trader Todd's to Wrigley Field and back on game days, in case you can't make the three-block walk. Trader Todd's namesake beers are brewed in Wisconsin and include lager, red and pilsner varieties. After the game, stop back in for the place's real attraction: karaoke.
Harry Caray's Tavern
A relative newcomer on the scene, Harry Caray's took over for the old Hi-Tops a few years ago and has been going strong. If you're lucky enough to get a table, sit back and enjoy a plethora of TV screens everywhere you look -- including a 10-foot HD TV in the back of the bar. They take the bar food menu up a notch with a burger bar that has plenty of options for all. And the chicken vesuvio is a favorite at all of the HC locations.
Captain Morgan Club
You can't get much closer to the ballpark than this. Opened just last year, this bar/restaurant is actually connected to Wrigley, meaning you can enter the park through the bar's indoor patio. As for the place itself, expect ballpark fare (hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef) brought to you by the Harry Caray's people across the street. On a nice day, you can hang out in the outdoor patio, or come inside if the weather's not cooperating.
Taking over the prime Clark Street real estate vacated by Grand Central, Rockwood has his the ground running in Wrigleyville. The place shoots for a more loungy feel, while still keeping Cubs fans happy. A list of flatbread sandwiches highlights a bar food-heavy menu, and a lengthy whiskey menu gives the refined baseball fan reason to cheer.
One of Wrigleyville's newest additions is already in touch with its baseball-loving clientele. The bar has 13 TVs dotting a spacious interior with cedar-planked walls and new tables. A sports-friendly menu includes the Opening Day Dog, a jumbo hot dog cut in half and stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and served with relish on a pretzel bun. All food is made from scratch, including appetizers (generally priced from about $7 to $12) like the deep fried mac and cheese balls or crab and artichoke dip.
Rockit Bar & Grill
If you think this version of the River North rock bar co-owned by Billy Dec is a little out of place in Wrigleyville, you're not alone. But the bar, in its second season just steps away from the bleachers, has found a home in the 'hood with it's multi-level bars, moose-antler chandeliers and a comfy outdoor patio with a prime view of the Friendly Confines.
Not in Wrigleyville? There are sports bars throughout Chicagoland sure to be showing the game.