Bernice’s Tavern (3238 S Halsted St, 312-907-1580)
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. El: Red to Sox/35th. Bus: 8, 35, 44. Mon, Wed 3pm–midnight; Thu, Fri 3pm–2am; Sat noon–3am; Sun noon–midnight (closed Tue). Average beer: $4.
Bridgeport Inn (2901 S Archer Ave, 773-523-5468)
It doesn’t get more neighborly than at this Bridgeport bar, where there’s a hand-drawn sign offering Girl Scout cookies for those who like Thin Mints with their Jäger or Dr. McGillicuddy’s schnapps. Still, the flannel-clad patrons prefer MGDs and the same padded stools they held court from yesterday. El: Orange to Ashland. Bus: 9, 62. Mon–Fri 10am–2am; Sat 10am–3am; Sun 11am–2am. Average beer: $2.75.
Schaller’s Pump (3714 S Halsted St, 773-376-6332)
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’re planning on eating—and you should definitely plan on eating. 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. El: Red to Sox/35th. Bus: 8 Halsted, 35 35th. Mon–Fri 11am–2am; Sat 4pm–2am; Sun 3pm–9pm. Average beer: $2.50.
Shinnick’s Pub (3758 S Union Ave, 773-376-3525)
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. El: Red to Sox/35th. Bus: 8, 24, 35, 44. Noon–2am. Average beer: $3.
Mitchell’s Tap (3356 S Halsted St, 773-927-6073)
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. El: Red to Sox/35th. Bus: 8, 35. Sun–Fri 11am–2am; Sat 11am–3am. Average beer: $3.