Kid-friendly bars and pubs in Chicago

We round up six of the city’s best.

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  • Photograph: Allison Williams

    Claus Lotter and his daughter Samantha dance together at the Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont.

  • Photograph: Allison Williams

    The Mercado family plays air hockey together at Sluggers in Wrigleyville.

  • Photograph: Allison Williams

    The Mercado family plays air hockey together at Sluggers in Wrigleyville.

  • Photograph: Allison Williams

    The Mercado family plays skee ball together at Sluggers in Wrigleyville.

  • The Mercado family plays a game together at Sluggers in Wrigleyville.

Photograph: Allison Williams

Claus Lotter and his daughter Samantha dance together at the Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont.


Sluggers’ 3540 N Clark St (773-248-0055)
Bring the kids
This Wrigleyville bar has an upstairs arcade outfitted with batting cages, Skee-Ball, air hockey and more. It’s great for families, especially when the Cubs are out of town and their fans aren’t here.
Or call a sitter
Sluggers’ location just south of Wrigley Field means this sports bar fills up quickly after games, with already-tipsy fans looking to tie on a few more. It’s also a hangout for Indiana University alums (the owner’s one, too), so avoid toting the tots along on college football or basketball game days. If you’re into this sort of thing, post-game and Thursday–Saturday nights there’s “Dueling Pianos,” which pits two musicians in a battle of no-holds-barred requests.
Eat something
Expect classic bar food—wings, nachos, pizza, burgers. Your kids won’t starve.

Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant 3471 N Elston (773-583-3066)
Bring the kids
A Sunday all-you-can-eat brunch buffet ($17, kids 10 and under half price, 2 and under free) includes kid-friendly treats such as milk- and white-chocolate fountains, and grown-up goodies like a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Members of the Irish School of Music drop by Tuesday evenings at 7pm for music lessons with Irish flutes, fiddles and guitars, and to play a set of folksy tunes.
Or call a sitter
The massive back patio stays open year round. Expect a scene on those first warm days of spring. If it’s still a little chilly out there, you can warm up with seven varieties of Irish coffee.
Eat something
At lunch and dinner, come for the classics: shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, and the owner’s family recipe for bacon-wrapped, Guinness-infused meatloaf.

Hofbräuhaus Chicago 5500 Park Pl, Rosemont (847-671-2739)
Bring the kids
This Bavarian-themed beer hall—designed to be a replica of the famous one in Munich—encourages rowdiness at the dinner table, with traditionally clad servers who lead singing and dancing to live music. Roving musicians may well bring out a 10-foot alpine horn to entertain the crowd, or lead everyone in kitschy sing-alongs (“Rocky Mountain High,” “I Would Walk 500 Miles”).
Or call a sitter
The later it gets, the bigger the dents, in terms of the restaurant’s liter-sized mugs of Bavarian beers. The post-dinner crowd is here to drink. A lot.
Eat something
Kids will get a kick out of the “Jumbo Complete” giant soft pretzel served with mustard and cheese for dipping. Sausages, schnitzel and sauerbraten are well-represented among the main courses, natch.

City Winery 1200 W Randolph St (312-733-9463)
Bring the kids
Sunday Klezmer brunch ($30, kids $10)includes an omelette station, latkes and challah French toast. A live band encourages everyone to get their horah on.
Or call a sitter
Themed wine dinners, tours of the on-site wine-making facility and wine education classes are offered regularly. Upcoming acts scheduled in the concert space include Billy Bragg (April 12–13) and 10,000 Maniacs (May 17).
Eat something Mini burgers and duck tacos on the regular menu are good choices to share; everything is listed with suggestions for sparkling, red, white and rosè pairings.

Lincoln Karaoke 5526 N Lincoln Ave (773-895-2299)
Bring the kids
For families looking to avoid the late-night rowdiness, this popular Lincoln Square hangout allows entry before it opens at 7pm. Advance reservations get you a private karaoke room with flat-screen TV and sofas ($30–$50 per hour, depending on group size), though you can come weeknights after 7pm with kids, too. If you’re hosting a party, you can bring along additional entertainment (the staff says magicians are popular). The song catalog includes plenty of squeal-inducing pop, including Justin Bieber, One Direction and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Or call a sitter
Friday and Saturday nights after 8pm are off limits for under 21s. (Which, sadly, doesn’t guarantee a Bieber-free evening of sing-a-longs.)
Eat something
The emphasis is more on singing and drinking, less on food, so expect stalwarts like mozzarella sticks, wings and chicken tenders. A few Asian dishes are offered, too, including steamed dumplings and spicy ramen noodles.

Fifth Province Pub at Irish American Heritage Center 4626 N Knox Ave (773-282-7035)
Bring the kids
The pub’s only open Friday and Saturday evenings, so it’s best to bring the brood for an early dinner. Píobairí, a traditional bagpipe performance, happens 5–7pm the first Saturday of every month.
Or call a sitter
Monthly quiz nights deal in categories like pop culture, sports, geography and history ($30 for a six-person team) with cash prizes for first, second and third place. Check the website for specific dates.
Eat something
Traditional pub fare includes fish and chips and Irish country stew. If the wee ones aren’t feeling adventurous, there’s a kids’ menu with standards like grilled cheese.


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