West Loop restaurants and bars to hit before a United Center game

Going to see the Blawkhawks or Bulls? You'll need a pregame eat and drink before hitting the United Center. Here are our picks of West Loop restaurants and bars.

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The Beer Bistro North

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Nduja pizza at Coalfire
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Photograph: Vincent Glielmi

de cero

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Arrow on Ogden
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Photograph: Jason Little

Publican Quality Meats

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Urbanbelly

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Grange Hall Burger Bar

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Photograph: Martha Williams

WestEnd

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Palace Grill

Before a Blackhawks game, you'll need to fuel up—cheering on the home team requires energy and a pregame drink will be much cheaper outside the United Center. Whether you're looking for a sports bar, a place for a quick beer or cocktail or a fast dinner, you'll find it at these West Loop restaurants.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the Chicago Blackhawks

Aberdeen Tap

The jukebox plays Neil Young, the craft-beer selection is serious, and the kitchen turns out bar food with occasional surprises, such as an appetizer of cevapi (hand-formed beef-lamb-and-pork patties served with tzatziki and pita). But don’t let the Aberdeen’s quiet, residential location fool you: The vibe is industrial-rocker (garage doors, dark wood), and the curt bartender takes very little bullshit.

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West Town

Athena

The massive outdoor patio with a close-up view of the city skyline is the main draw of this Greektown spot in the warmer months, but there are reasons to dine inside, too, such as creamy taramasalata (fish roe spread), charbroiled octopus and well-seasoned gyros. Opt for the dreamy galaktobouriko, lemon custard in honey-coated phyllo dough, for dessert.

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West Loop

Coalfire

One of the best pizza places in Chicago isn't far from the United Center, so get there early and dig into the pies, which have a charred, bubbly crust and crisp edges. We're fans of the 'nduja, with Calabrian salami, fresh mozzarella and chopped basil.

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West Town

de cero

You may not have time to wait for a table, so beeline to the bar and drink tart hibiscus margaritas while snacking on guacamole and ahi tuna tacos.

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West Loop

Grange Hall Burger Bar

For juicy, flavorful burgers, terrific fries and a killer meatloaf sandwich, Grange Hall is a spot for a casual meal before the game. Leave room for ice cream, as the shakes and sundaes are perhaps the best things on the menu.

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West Loop

The Ogden

By selling beer and being located in the direct path of the throngs of people coming to and from the United Center, this slick sports bar has the hard part of its job covered. Completing the task are superbright TVs on every surface, including in the booths; a surprisingly good beer selection; and a hell of a burger.

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West Loop

Palace Grill

Even on non-game days, the Palace Grill feels like an off-shoot of the United Center. The space is bedecked with Blackhawks paraphernalia and the patrons wear it as well (the diner is open late on Blackhawks game nights). It's a classic diner, which means it serves all-day breakfast and a menu of sandwiches, salads and burgers, including a superlative patty melt, layered with grilled onions.

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West Loop

Publican Quality Meats

Paul Kahan's butcher/sandwich shop is one of the best spots for a fast meal in town. There's the deeply flavorful ribollita soup, ideal for freezing days, the tuna muffuletta with olive oil–poached tuna and soft-boiled eggs, cured meats and fresh-baked breads.

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West Loop

Urbanbelly

Bill Kim's casual counter spot is fast, so place your order then grab a seat. Start with dumplings, like the pork- and cilantro-stuffed potstickers, or the buffalo chicken dumplings, which are fried and tossed with Belly Fire hot sauce. The pork and pineapple fried rice will also fill you up before the game.

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Avondale

WestEnd

The bar stools at this sports bar are extra-wide, and the dark room (yes, even in the middle of the day) draws the focus to the game shining brightly from the numerous TVs. It looks as if the nearby United Center may have some competition on its hands: Here you see the game better, cheaper and more comfortably than you would if you were actually there.

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Downtown

Comments

2 comments
Maddy M
Maddy M

How is Packing House not on this list!? They have a free shuttle to and from all United Center games and plenty of great food and drink deals during games. They even gave away tickets to the home opener this week! https://www.facebook.com/packinghousechi


Turan Y
Turan Y

The Aberdeen Tap appreciates the mention on TOC but we would like to make a correction. The photo you are using is not The Aberdeen Tap, it is a photo of a now nonexistent bar that used to just be called Aberdeen on North Ave. Also, The Aberdeen Tap is not an "industrial rocker" bar, it is a neighborhood bar full of a diverse mixture of people with an unpredictable mix of music. Photos of Aberdeen Tap and current menu selections can be found at www.theaberdeentap.com. Thanks everybody!