Get ready for the first pitch of the season on the North Side on Thursday, April 5, as the Chicago Cubs take on the Washington Nationals at the Friendly Confines. Whether you’re looking to pre-game, post-game or just kick back a while watching outside the ballpark, here’s a roundup of local spots that bleed Cubbie blue.
The Cubby Bear: This venue, located right across the street from Wrigley Field, is a great spot to hang out or have a post-game party. Enjoy live music or watch the game on one of their five projection screen TVs or 75 plasma TVs throughout the bar. It’s ensured that you won’t miss any part of the action. And, hey, you’re just a long foul ball’s distance from the ballpark; so the atmosphere can’t be beat.
The Sports Corner: This tavern and grill has been a neighborhood favorite since opening 1976. Enjoy a nice draft and a burger fresh off of the grill while you take in 9-innings and welcome the spring/summer season!
Vines on Clark: For a more intimate spot to watch the game, head up to Vines on Clark. They have an outside patio and a spacious dining room dotted with flat screen TVs, this offers up a less pub-like game-watching experience.
Casey Moran’s: They guarantee no bad seat in the house – sounds like a reason to take in the game to me! Watch the game on their 30, 52-inch plasma TVs throughout the entire bar and even out on their garden café. Hungry? Casey Moran’s offers up juicy burgers, cold salads, and even sushi!
Rebel: If you’re feeling rebellious and want a great nightlife experience after the game, this is the place to be. Rebel Bar and Grill is a year-round destination that features daily food and drink specials, private party rooms, and excellent service! Head there after the game to loosen up and dance!
Benchmark: Located in Old Town, this chic tavern is Chicago’s “first convertible beer garden”, meaning that the highlight of this venue is its fully-retractable roof. There are 46 TVs, so you won’t miss any of Dempster’s pitches!
Kirkwood: This is a one-of-a-kind bar offering plenty of seating on their expansive patio (complete with TVs) and cozy, shady spots courtesy of their trees and umbrellas. If you’re with a group of friends, you’re in luck! Kirkwood has sharable drinks and dishes like fishbowls and skillet cookies!
Schoolyard Bar: Head to Lakeview for upscale bar food and catch the game inside or out in this cozy, small bar. Got the kids in tow? No worries! This is a family-friendly destination, so bring them along!
Rockit Ranch Productions recently announced the transformation of Rockit Wrigley to Rockit Burger Bar, taking place on the Chicago Cubs Opening Day on April 5.
It’s also perfect timing for the expansion of Rockit’s burger selection, having recently received best burger praise from “Good Morning America”, among others. Chef Amanda Downing welcomes the new season—and new menu—by indulging patrons with mouth-watering gourmet burgers of all kinds!
Sink your teeth into creative burgers like Downing’s “The Hottie” made with breaded, cream cheese-stuffed peppers on top of a patty with pepper jack cheese and ghost pepper aioli or the “Johnny Apple Burger” featuring gala apples, melted brie, apple wood-smoked bacon and pecan aiolito.
Rockit Burger Bar’s hours: Tuesday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.; and Sunday from 10:10 a.m. to close. Weekend brunch will be available Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rockit Burger Bar will also open two hours prior to every Cubs home game.
Casey Moran’s, at 3660 N. Clark St., will be hosting Casey’s Country Night every Friday starting in November. The tavern will have DJs playing the best country music, and better yet they will take requests. You can sing along to country favorites with everyone at the bar on a Friday night in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.
Other than the music, Casey Moran’s has some deals, too. Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys are $3, and Jeremiah Weed Lemonades and Wild Turkey Shots are $5.
And you can take part (by either entering or judging) in the “Best Lookin’ Cowgirl” contest, where winners will receive free parties and gift certificates. But really, everyone who attends Country Night will be a winner for those contests.
Casey Moran’s has a very eclectic menu, with standard pub fare like burgers, wraps and sandwiches, but they also have Panini and sushi. The tavern has drink specials on Thursdays and Saturdays as well, plus they have thirty 52-inch plasma TVs, an outdoor bar and rooftop garden (weather permitting).
While it seems that other Major League teams are moving into a new stadium every few decades, the Chicago Cubs have been playing ball at Wrigley Field since 1916. Unlike the other sterile, brand new, state-of-the-art ballparks, Wrigley has an inordinate amount of charm and history.
And you can take it all in with a behind-the-scenes tour.
Wrigley Field Tours will be running through the end of October, virtually every day. Tours are held rain or shine, and whether or not the Cubs have a home game that day. On most September days, sessions mainly occur every hour from around 9 or 10 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. October is a little different, as there will only be two or three tours per weekday, mostly in the afternoons. Weekends will still have hourly tours most days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The full schedule is available on Cubs.com.
For $25 (or less, if you attend with a group of 20 or more), you will get to see everything that makes Wrigley special. The 75-minute session lets fans see the Cubs clubhouse, visiting clubhouse, press box, bleachers, dugouts, on-deck circles and a part of the field. Wearing a Cubs jersey and reliving dreams of being Ryne Sandberg is optional.
The tours are a hit (no pun intended). Visitors love stepping on the field, and, as Samantha Morris, the Coordinator of Tour Experiences says, “being able to sit in the same dugout where Ernie Banks did, stepping in the same on-deck circle just like Aramis Ramirez and taking in Wrigley from the best vantage point around is usually a once in a lifetime experience.”
Ironically, the most unique part of the tour is going into the visitors’ clubhouse, where the likes of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, Paul McCartney and Elton John have prepared for their baseball game, football game, or concert.
In fact, it’s not impossible for some real major leaguers to be present on game day. Tour groups may see broadcasters getting ready on game days, and you just may see players getting their cuts in the batting cage before the first pitch.
The tour involves a good deal of walking (1.5 miles) with parts of it outdoors, so dress accordingly. Cameras and video cameras are acceptable for personal use.
Guests are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance, and one can do that by ordering from Cubs.com, calling 800-THE-CUBS, or visiting the Wrigley Field Box Office at the ballpark.
Complementary parking is available for tour guests on non-game days in the purple lot on the southeast corner of Clark Street and Waveland Avenue. The best way to get to the park by public transportation is to take the Red Line to the Addison stop, or the Brown Line to the Southport stop and walk a few blocks northeast to the park.
One of the latest additions to the Wrigleyville landscape, Club 162 (3551 N. Sheffield Ave.) will be broadcasting the much-anticipated bout as Manny Pacquiao defends his welterweight belt against former champion Shane Mosley on Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. CST.
Boasting 53 high definition televisions, including an impressive 10-foot-screen, Club 162 will open their doors at 7:30 p.m. The $15 cover charge includes one complimentary drink and half priced appetizers throughout the night. Club 162 will accept table reservations for groups (there is a $125 minimum per table).
Located just a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs will be playing an afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds, so make sure to reserve your table now by calling 773-327-7800.
You’ll never look at a box of mac & cheee the same way again. In fact after Mac Madness Week at Rockit Bar & Grill, you will gain an entirely new appreciation for this universal comfort food.
Beginning March 14th and coinciding for March Madness Week, the second annual Mac Madness kicks off with Chef James Gottwald and Chef De Cuisine Amanda Downing concocting delicious variations of this baked pasta and cheesy delight for every day of the week.
Expect to see unique variations like French Onion Mac, with caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese; Oyster Mac-a-Fella, with creamed spinach, fried oysters and pecorino; and in lieu of St. Patrick’s Day, Rockit will be serving up Corned Beef & Cabbage Mac, with Irish Cheddar and whiskey mustard cream.
Mac Madness runs from March 14 through 18 at Rockit’s River North location (22 W. Hubbard Street) and from March 17-19 at the Wrigleyville location (3700 N. Clark Street).
If you thought every bar in Wrigleyville was just about beer and baseball, think again. You don’t have to be a wine snob to appreciate a good glass. Mix and mingle with Food and Wine Magazine’s “Winemaker of the Year,” Charles Smith on April 19 at Rockit Wrigley. The grape guru is will be leading “Taste It,” a Monday tradition featuring guest wine makers from around the world and of course, tastes of their favorite vintages. If a taste isn’t enough, Rockit Wrigley will be offering 50% off all Smith Wines bottles and glass pours every Monday in April. Cheers!