When you want to hit a local bar to watch your favorite team play, there may be no better city than Chicago. Not only is Chicago a sports city to begin with, but it prides itself on having some of the most inventive, passionate sports bars you’ll find anywhere in the country. Many bars in the Chicago area have chosen to cater to particular fans, like alumni for a certain college.
While some of these bars commit themselves to a single fan group, some go out of their way to provide ample viewing opportunities for a number of fan groups. College sports fans with a general interest have an endless string of bars and breweries to choose from, such as Goose Island Brewery, John Barleycorn, Sedgwick’s, Hi-Tops and Sully’s – and most are within walking distance of other fun things to do in Chicago. But when it comes to some of the college sports powerhouses – and especially if you’re a die-hard fan – you might have an interest in some particular sports hotspots in the city.
Here are some of the top places to catch your favorite sports team:
What’s your favorite team? The odds are pretty good that Gamekeepers hosts watch parties for that team. This bar ranks among the best in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area and has beautiful wood-crafted interiors, pool tables and other ideal bar games.
But more important than anything else – at least to sports fans – is that Gamekeepers caters to an enormous list of sports teams. Viewing parties accommodate a wide range of college teams, including Arkansas, Georgetown, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Washington. That may create conflict in some moments, but by contrast, you know there’s never a dull moment when there’s a game on TV.
Joe’s on Weed Street
Joe’s is located in the North End warehouse district and flourishes as a massive sports-themed entertainment complex. There’s live music on the weekends and a huge beer garden, but those are all secondary to the more than one dozen alumni clubs that host sports gatherings at the bar. Head to this hangout to catch games featuring Auburn, Florida, Fresno State, Georgia and the Illinois Fighting Illini, which draws a huge local crowd.
Located on Sheffield Avenue, Dark Horse Tap & Grille embraces the Irish style of many bars found throughout Chicago. In addition to a quaint patio area, the bar also entices patrons with daily food and drink specials, including a $5 brunch on Sundays. But this bar is of particular importance to the massive fan followings of Michigan and Penn State, and when those two play each other in football every year, the Dark Horse is the place to watch that game.
If you’re planning on heading to one of these bars to watch your favorite team, get there early if you want a seat. Many fan groups will pack these bars, and if you arrive too close to game time you might face standing room-only options. Of course, in Chicago you’re never too far away from another great bar, so don’t be afraid to venture out and discover a well-kept secret of the city!