Where to watch Bulls games
Doing its part to keep the West Loop from succumbing to all the glitz and glamor of Randolph Street is this good-natured, low-key tavern, which carries upward of 100 beers, including Begyle Euchered Midwest IPA and Temperance Birdsong Saison on draft. Don’t have a clue what that means? Ask the beer-geek bartenders and they’re happy to explain.
If you’re a sports fan and use $100 bills to light your stogies, then Bull and Bear is likely the place for you. Dom and Cristal are both on the menu, as are truffle fries with lemon aioli. While it’s positively delicious, it’s also expensive. But a Bulls victory just may be cause for celebration. (Tableside beer taps, anyone?)
Peer at the mural behind the long, wooden bar at this West Loop sports bar, and you’ll see a forlorn-looking man playing guitar at a crossroads (hearkening back to the haunting Southern folk tale the bar’s named after). But the only fork in the road you’ll have to navigate here is whether to join the people hollering at games at the bar or the groups snacking on passable barbecue and burgers in the luxe booths.
Way far on the North Side lies this booth-heavy, score-obsessed sports bar. Most locals in this Rogers Park bar are focused more on post-game softball and throwing darts, but there’s plenty of room for basketball, considering Mullen's has eight TVs. Plenty of room for everyone.
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.
This is the Hopleaf for the Old Town set (if Hopleaf had huge TVs), and what it lacks in modesty it makes up for in accessibility: All 90 of the beers on tap are available in six-ounce tasting portions, and the beer menu is a veritable novel. It makes sense: If you’re going to spend the whole night drinking, why not learn something?
For great food and beer during the game, you can't do much better than Piece: The crispy pies hold a lot of weight, so after you choose your pizza style—red, white, barbecue or New Haven–style “plain” (red sauce, no mozzarella)—start piling on the toppings. (If you’re really going New Haven–style, try one with clams and bacon.) Wash it down with a pitcher of the crisp Golden Arm.
Fans can watch the current Bulls while contemplating past Bulls teams—that’s both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the restaurant’s murals—at this Loop bar overlooking the Harold Washington Library. A mix of traders and students can argue about jump shots while sharing towers of Spaten, Newcastle and Blue Moon.
There are other sports bars in Chicago. There are even other sports bars in the South Loop. There is, however, no use in telling either of those things to the crowd of fans waiting up to an hour to secure a table (and with it, a 14-inch grilled-cheese sandwich and a prime view of a TV or 30) at the Scout: They'll just think you're trying to cut in line.