'Tis the season for Baseball in Chicago! We could already smell the ballpark dogs being grilled and the faint voice of vendors shouting, “PEANUTSSSS, Get your peanuts, here!” Unless you’re a season ticket holder, you probably only get a couple of chances to watch the games live at Wrigley and/or U.S. Cellular each season. Where do you watch the other 160 some games? Luckily, Chicago is packed to the brim with awesome sports bars, perfect for watching your favorite baseball team(s).
1. Sluggers Wrigleyville
Sluggers World Class Sports Bar and Grill is the ideal location for any Cubs fan to fully experience the game without actually being there. This poppin' bar is located just a block away from Wrigley Field so you can actually hear the organ playing, the fans cheering, and the 7th inning stretch. The most unique thing about Sluggers is that it has batting cages! That’s right, batting cages, inside a bar, a block away from Wrigley. Perfect.
2. WhirlyBall Chicago
WhirlyBall Chicago is basically the mecca of sports bars. There are locations in Vernon Hills and Lombard as well, but the new Chicago WhirlyBall location is a two story beast, fully equipped with everything sports fans love: WhirlyBall, bowling, lasertag, shuffleboard, over 32 craft beers on tap, delicious food, and flat screen TVs EVERYWHERE. This place bleeds Chicago sports. You can watch every Cubs and Sox game all season long here; the atmosphere is always full of excitement and there will never be a shortage of beer.
3. The Anthem
You won’t miss the game at this trendy, yet home-y sports bar because it is projected onto the wall to a scale so large it’s visible down the block. The indoor and outdoor seating areas are filled with high top communal tables and the ceiling draped with an American flag. This Ukranian Village staple is perfect for watching the Cubs and the Sox, because of it’s centrally neutral location. The bartenders are always friendly and happy to make you a cocktail (try the tiki-ish Episode 73) or just crack open a PBR tallboy. Try the Jucy Lucy, a stroke of Minnesotan genius that injects a greasy, juicy burger with Velveeta cheese.
4. Avenue Tavern
This Lakeview sports bar has the requisite menu of fried food and burgers, televisions in every corner and a shot-and-beer–loving clientele. But the stone walls and glass facade surroundings lend this sports bar a sensibility so laid-back and inviting that even the least sports-enthusiastic people can get into it. The drinks are inexpensive for the most part and the atmosphere is perfect for spending afternoons and nights alike chilling with your buds watching the game.
5. Schaller’s Pub
There’s no better place to cheer on your team than this down-home, blue-collar institution that’s been serving up cold ones since 1881. This place is the ideal baseball-lovers pub. It has a way of making you feel like a local, no matter where you’re from. Arrive at least a half hour before game time if you plan to eat—and you should definitely plan to eat. Just-like-Mom-made classics include crispy pork tenderloin smothered in perfect pan gravy and greaseless fried chicken. Add doting servers, cheap beer and a living room–like atmosphere, and you’ve got the best sports experience short of front-row tickets.