There are many recommended places for watching March Madness, but as the tournament field narrows, so, too, do our picks. We've got five for the Elite Eight and Final Four. While the teams here might not make it all the way, or your fandom may lean another way, these are our favorite sports bars for watching big hoops showdowns. You bracket may be busted, but that's no reason to not enjoy a great burger with your buzzer beaters.
Listen here for our segment from WGN 720 AM Sunday Mornings with Dean Richards discussing Final Four bars.
Commonwealth Tavern The cozy, wood paneled Roscoe Village bar had a few horses in the race this tourney. Commonwealth is the local outpost for both the UCLA and Wichita State fanbases, and has been following Notre Dame, too. But you need not be a despondent Irish, Bruin or Shocker to enjoy $5 Miller Lite stadium cups, $15 Miller/Coors buckets, and $4 Fireball and Tullamore Dew shots during the tournament.
Lottie's Wisconsin fans have been heading to this Bucktown staple for a taste of Madison, as the pub serves up $6 Ale Asylum brews in Badger cups. The Kansas crew gathered here, too, for $5 Miller/Coors Kansas cups, $5 Kansas whiskey, $8 Boulevards and a $15 party platter with a pizza, wings and tots.
Old Town Social Jared Van Camp's bustling bar off the Sedgwick Brown Line stop is the spot for those who care about charcuterie as much as hoops. The food is a cut above "sports bar." On game days, it'll offer wings, mini hot dogs (made in house) and mac and cheese, plus $5 Bud Light stadium cups.
The Pony Inn This bright and blond wood–bedecked outpost at Belmont and Lincoln, as the horse theme might imply, is a Kentucky hub. As long as UK keeps rolling, it'll serve $5 Big Blue punch. Most of us have Kentucky in our brackets, so in a way we're in this together. But even if you don't care for the overdog, scarf down $5 Miller/Coors UK cups, $4 John Wall shots and a $15 party platter with wings, tots, mozzarella sticks and onion rings.
Public House While we remain dubious of the "Breakfast shots" served during the tournament, the River North sports bar has a slam dunk of a burger. The glitzy sports bar from the Bull & Bear folks is a hit—and why not? The food—pretzel with cheese fondue, crispy fries, desserts by corporate pastry chef Amy Arnold—is as good as you could eat while the game is on.