Thursday, June 19, 2008

Top Ten Sports Joints in Wrigley

So, this weekend in Chicago, will be, what I can only imagine the Olympics being like if we actually got the nod to host them here. No, no, no. I don't mean the countless number of amazing athletes who would be within the Windy City, nor do I speak of the magnificent match-ups between this country and that country on the soccer field, basketball court or swimming pool. What I'm actually talking about is the ridiculous amount of partying that will ensue outside of the Friendly Confines this weekend after the Cubs take on the White Sox in the Windy City Classic, and or, The Red Line Series. Kind of like what Matty said yesterday, this weekend all friends/family members who aren't with you in supporting the team of your choice become your foes that you wouldn't piss on if they were on fire. This weekend will be a tough one. Everybody finds out what color they bleed this weekend with the games on hand. But it runs much deeper than supporting the Cubs or the White Sox, doesn't it? Yes it does. You might decide which candidate you will support for the election this year. And you might decide what the name of your first born child will be while sitting in the bleachers. But a much harder question will arise in your mind. Like where the hell are you gonna go to celebrate after the game.

Now that we've the topic in mind, these are the Top Ten Sports Bars in Wrigley to celebrate a Cubbie victory or, I've got to be honest with this, drown the tears of a loss.

(And yes, I know that this will read like an advertisement for these places, but it's not. And if Dub's can promote his hobby on Vineline in each of his posts here, well, I can do the same thing.)

10. The Dugout-950 W. Addison St.
This is the closest bar to the Friendly Confines on this list. It is,literally, a hop, skip and jump away from the home of the Lovable Losers. But that name might change at seasons end. Anyway, this whole in the wall can make for a pretty good time. Sit at the bar and checkout the baseball cards set beneath the spot to rest your beer or watch the game on their plasmas. Scarf down a pretzel with cheese or a plate of nachos. But I warn you, if you're there on a day they are holding a hot dog eating competition, stay outta the way of the competitors, they can get a little unruly.

9. Cubby Bear- 1059 W. Addison St.
Right out the front door of the ball park. O.K. I rescind #10. This might be the closest bar to Wrigley. The 30,000 square feet of space this place is made of is packed tighter than a HEY...KEEP IT CLEAN. Sorry about that. The place is always full after games and rivals with Murphy's for most famous bar to drink at after a Cubs win. You might find a live band rockin' out or a DJ spinning some of today's best.

8. Red Ivy- 3525 N. Clark St.
A relative new comer to the area, Red Ivy is more of an upscale sports bar than the others on this list. It surely is a sports fan bar though. Within the 6,000 feet of drinking and dining space there are seven 42-inch plasmas, three 60-inchers and one giant 90-inch projection t.v. to catchall of the action. Oh yeah, they also have t.v.'s in the bathroom so when you're draining the lizard, you won't miss Ted Lilly's heater to the chin of any White Sox player.

7. Vines on Clark- 3554 N. Clark St.
The kid brother bar to its neighbor to the North, Vines is brought to Cubs fans from the same guys who do Cubby Bear. This place is where you need to be if you want to drink outside. A huge street level beer garden, an open aired patio and a roof top bar/deck can fill the need for sun and drink.

6. Houndstooth- 3438 N. Clark St.
To some, this may not qualify as a sports bar. But anyplace that gives mad cred to Bear Bryant qualifies as a sports joint to me. The Southern feel to this place will comfort you and the Southern style food made in the kitchen will bring you back again and again. Or maybe it will just be the fine drinks whipped up for you by the cute bartender (Lacey) wearing a jean skirt and cowboy boots. I'll leave that for you to decide.

5. Murphy's Bleachers- 3655 N. Sheffield Ave.
Murphy's bleeds Cubbie love. And so do the fans that pack this place to the ceiling before, during and after every home game. It's a big sized place with open-air for all to enjoy. Try the homemade soup of the day or the chili while sitting atop their roof trying to steal a peak of the game across the street.

4. Bernies- 3664 N. Clark St.
Season ticket holders, a few announcers and even a couple two-tree players frequent this pub before and after the games. This place is so Cubs driven, the regulars set up trips to spring training out in Mesa each year. Sip up some suds in the bar or out in the back in their beer garden while enjoying a nice friendly game of Corn Hole/Bean Bags. Why can't we all decide on just one name for this damn game?

3. Sluggers- 3540 N. Clark St.
Sluggers has been described by some as being a "neighborhood sports baron steroids." And I'm pretty sure I'd agree with that. You can drink and dance 'till ya puke on the first floor, atop one of the dueling pianos if you wish, and try your luck at hitting a heater in the second floor batting cages until 3 AM on Saturdays. Or you can drop coins to play video games, pool or mini-bowling. It's kinda like a Chuck E. Cheese for 21-26 year old kids.

2. Mullens- 3527 N. Clark St.
Doesn't matter if it's Matty or Karl behind the bar, Mullens is the place for Cubs fans to belly up to the bar and enjoy a cold one after a game and eat some good 'ol pub grub. TRY THE WINGS!!! From throwing darts to having a quick 18 on the course (I can't remember what that friggin' golf game in bars is called for some reason), the fun that happens in this pub, named after Jim Mullen-a Chicago police officer wounded by gunfire, is worth waiting in line for. Slip JP a fiver and you might have a quicker entrance.

1. Merkles-3516 N. Clark St.
Opened in December '04, in the old Billy Goat Tavern. This place has it all, food, drinks and women. What else is needed to celebrate kicking the shit outta the White Sux, er, White Sox? "Big D's" homemade burgers, zesty wings and, quite possibly, the best tasting chicken sandwich on the street, will have you returning every time the Cubs are playing at home. Everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, who steps into this place will leave feeling a little bit better about their day. If it isn't the women (Amy, Courtney, Shannon, Shauna, Megan, Lauren) delivering trays of "Bootie Call" fish bowls or the talented women (Mary Beth, Beth) pouring drinks from behind the bar, it might be the voice of Chris Buehrle singing from the front window or the guys in the back blasting critters on the hunting game. (And now I've lost memory of this friggin' game.)

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