Best sports bars in Chicago

Whether you want to watch a Cubs game with a PBR or a Bulls game with charcuterie, here are the best sports bars in Chicago.

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Photograph: Clayton Hauck

The Anthem, which has large screens and a Velveeta burger, is one of the best Chicago sports bars.

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Photograph: Kendall Thacker

Avenue Tavern's laid-back atmosphere and televisions in every corner make it one of the best Chicago sports bars.

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Photograph: Chandler West

Crew Bar & Grill, a straight-friendly gay sports bar, is one of the best Chicago sports bars.

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Photograph: Maddie Blecha

With alliances leaning toward UNC, Penn State, Syracuse and other schools, Gamekeepers is one of the best Chicago sports bars.

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Photograph: Max Herman

The Globe Pub, a North Center British bar, is one of the best Chicago sports bars and a place to watch rugby.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

With a beer list that's 50 strong, High Diveis one of the best Chicago sports bars.

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O'Donovans, one of the best sports bars in Chicago, has a tucked-away beer garden that's heated and enclosed in the winter.

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Photograph: Taylor Castle

Old Town Social, one of the best sports bars in Chicago, has a house charcuterie program and TVs to watch the game.

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Photograph: Jason Little

Public House, one of the best sports bars in Chicago, has an extensive beer list and desserts from Mindy Segal.

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Photograph: Maddie Blecha

The Rail Bar & Grill, one of the best sports bars in Chicago, has 25-cent jumbo wings on Mondays.

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Photograph: Erica Gannett

Schaller's Pump, one of the best sports bars in Chicago, has doting servers, cheap beer and a living room-like atmosphere.

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Photograph: Emily Rawdon

Located in the South Loop, The Scout is one of the best sports bars in Chicago.

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Wild Goose Bar & Grill, one of the best sports bars in Chicago, has flat-screen and bar food.

With five professional sports teams and many college allegiances, it's a good thing that Chicago has many great sports bars for watching games. Whether you want to take a break from the tailgate and eat housemade hot dogs while watching the Blackhawks at Old Town Social, indulge in Jucy Lucys while watching the Bears at the Anthem, drink Three Floyds on tap while watching the Bulls at High Dive, or just need a spot to watch the Cubs or Sox, here are Chicago's best sports bars for fans of any sport.

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Chicago

The Anthem

The first thing you see is the game, projected onto the wall to a scale so large it’s visible down the block. Then the hightop communal tables, the ceiling draped with an American flag. You take a seat and there’s a bartender who’s as happy to make you a cocktail (try the tiki-ish Episode 73) as to crack open a PBR tallboy. He serves you a Jucy Lucy, a stroke of Minnesotan genius that injects a greasy, juicy burger with Velveeta cheese. And that’s the last thing you can, and need to, remember.

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Avenue Tavern

It’s got the requisite menu of fried food and burgers, televisions in every corner and a shot-and-beer–loving clientele. But the surroundings—stone walls, glass facade—lend this Lakeview sports bar a sensibility so laid-back and inviting that even the least sports-enthusiastic people can get into it.

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Lakeview

Crew Bar and Grill

Whether you’re hungry for baseball, football, rugby or just beer, this straight-friendly gay sports bar will work. Forty beers on tap (75 total), tasty (and even healthy) pub grub, lots of TVs and a rah-rah decor make this a fun place to cheer for your team, whatever team you’re on.

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Uptown

Gamekeepers

This loud, sports-crazed triangular pub fills up fast, mainly because it plays host to boisterous beer-swilling alums, with alliances leaning toward University of Arkansas, UNC, Penn State, Syracuse and University of Kentucky. On Thursdays, its asses-to-elbows when 10-cent wings and $7 pitchers of Bud Light draw even nonsports fans out of the woodwork.

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The Globe Pub

Whether 11am or 11pm, it’s hard to find a seat at this North Center Brit pub. Call it European-style drinking, buffered by U.K. pub grub. During soccer and rugby matches, the crowd of regulars vacillates between raucous and downright scary, but fair-weather fans are welcome to join the zoo.

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North Center

High Dive

With Three Floyds Gumballhead and Goose Island 312 on tap and wings hot off the grill, this well-lit bar will never truly be a dive. But we don’t care, because we feel at home among the concert posters on the walls and the red-velvet booths. And if we’re going to drink out of bottles, it might as well be from this 50 beer–strong selection.

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Ukrainian Village

O'Donovan's

The corner where this North Center tap sits has been a neighborhood hot spot since Prohibition: the former Schulien's featured a basement speakeasy and a house magician. The ’hood has changed—today's O'Donovan's operates as a laid-back hangout for younger couples and small groups—but the tableside magic shows (and the occasional balloon sculptor) remain on weekends. Escape the crowds in the tucked-away beer garden, heated and enclosed in the winter.

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North Side

Old Town Social

Critics' pick

The yuppie crowd at this glamorous bar might have other things on its mind, but to come here and not order chef Jared Van Camp's charcuterie is to miss the point: More than a dozen varieties are cured in house, including standouts like the fennel-scented finocchiona. And the kitchen doesn't stop there: Everything from the hot sauce to the hot dogs is made from scratch.

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Old Town

Public House

The glitzy sports bar from the Bull & Bear folks is a hit, and why not? The food—pretzels with cheese fondue, burgers with crispy fries, desserts by HotChocolate’s Mindy Segal—is as good as you could eat while Sugar Ray is blasting. The awesome beer list makes the extensive offerings accessible via icons that even denote what kind of glass each brew is served in. As for the much buzzed-about table-taps and wall-taps (yes, that’s beer taps built into the walls), our server was so on top of her game, we’ll gladly leave those to the high rollers.

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River North

The Rail Bar & Grill

How did one of the best sports bars end up in Ravenswood? More than a dozen beers on tap, almost that many plasma screens (42 inches, and size does matter) and 25-cent jumbo wings on Mondays—beats the sticky floors and drunken screaming at your current spot.

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Ravenswood

Comments

1 comments
Thomas N
Thomas N

For something a little different, how about a PRO WRESTLING sports bar?  Exceptionally good food, too.  The Squared Circle,  2418 N. Ashland.  Lots of events, and your host is a very accomplished wrestler, Lisa Marie Varon.