The exterior might scream old-man bar, but this dive is a diamond in the rough. The proximity to both the Cell and the Zhou B Art Center means you might just find a debate at the jukebox between South Side regulars angling for “We Are the Champions” and mop-topped hipsters searching for the new No Age record. But Bernice’s welcomes them all with $2 PBRs, assorted imports, local acoustic acts on Saturdays and open mics every Thursday.
Nothing brings together the hip kids and blue-collar Chicagoans better than cheap alcohol, and this no-frills Logan Square dive across from the Fireside Bowl is living proof. Watch as the earnest mustaches of Blackhawks and Sox fans mingle amiably with ironically bearded Black Keys and White Stripes fans. And if that gets dull, just head to the back for a 75-cent game of pool.
The Sox sign over the door and the Bridgeport address should clue you in that this ain’t no yuppie bar. Still, newcomers are welcomed by the friendly bartender (who upholds the area’s third-round’s-on-us custom) and a good selection of beers like Delirium Tremens and Tetleys.
Picnic tables, an outdoor bar and a couple of flat-screens broadcasting the game make the back patio at this Bridgeport sports bar feel like a glorified backyard—that is, a backyard where someone else is manning the grill, turning out better-than-average pub grub, such as artichoke-and-shrimp cakes and hefty burgers on pretzel buns.
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. 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.
Representing the first-in, last-to-leave motto of Bridgeport’s diehard Irish-American population, the Shinnick clan has been slinging beer in this building since the day Prohibition ended. St. Pat’s Day and Sox games bring the crowds, but other times you’re likely to find a low-key gathering of locals or a fund-raiser for a sick kid with hefty medical bills. We’ll drink to that.
The pervasive red lighting and long bar might recall Mean Streets, but don't fret: Your chances of getting offed by the mob are slim to none here. Locals tend to huddle in groups of two or three, nursing bottled beers and chatting about sports, their wives, etc. Considering how a lot of Western Avenue bars fill up with younger, hipper and louder clientele, the relaxed vibe is a nice change of pace.
By selling beer and being located in the direct path of the throngs of people coming to and leaving 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.