The Chicago Cubs won a World Series Championship this century. And we’re very happy about that. But Wrigleyville is still Wrigleyville, which means it can be your best friend or worst nightmare.
The key to Wrigleyville is knowing which bars and restaurants are like Spring Break, and which ones you’ll want to hang out (and eat and drink) in. The places in this guide will give you exactly what you need, whether or not baseball and/or day drinking are on your mind.
Smoke Daddy is a very large, very bright BBQ spot that kind of feels like a chain restaurant, even though there’s only one other location (in Wicker Park). This one is on the same block as the Hotel Zachary, and has an upstairs patio along with enough TVs to make it basically qualify as a sports bar. Does it serve the best BBQ in the city? No. But the food here is pretty tasty, and there’s live music seven days a week. Get a sampler platter, plus some cornbread and baked beans.
Aurelio’s is a South Side pizza chain that’s been around since 1959, and like a miner during the Gold Rush, came up to Wrigleyville to find its fortune after the World Series win. The specialty here is tavern-style thin crust pizza (the kind that’s cut into little squares), and it’s greasy in a good way, and great to eat with beer. The old-school-pizza-parlor-style space is perfect for large groups, so grab some friends, order a few pitchers, and start arguing over those weird middle pieces.
Roost is one of our favorite spots in Chicago for fried chicken sandwiches, and we’re happy there’s an outpost in Wrigleyville. It’s a small counter-service operation, and the menu here has the same fantastic fried chicken sandwiches and biscuits that you’ll find in other locations. They have four varieties, including the house style (with pickles, coleslaw, and chipotle ranch) and the sunrise (with egg, bacon, and cheddar). You’ll get a choice of brioche or biscuit, and you should go with a biscuit - unless you get one of each.
Like the Do-Rite locations in Streeterville and the West Loop, this location has fried chicken sandwiches as well as delicious donuts, including some vegan and gluten-free options. They serve tasty breakfast sandwiches (on buns or donuts), too, if for some reason you’re wandering around Wrigleyville in the morning.
This isn’t remarkable pizza, but it is drunk food at its finest. Big G’s serves kind-of-weird-but-actually-pretty-good slices that sound like they were made using a Chopped basket, with toppings like BBQ beef and french fries, s’mores, and mac and cheese. If you’ve never had mac and cheese on a pizza, this must be your first time in the Midwest. Welcome.
There are now Shake Shacks all over Chicago. And one popped up in Wrigleyville before you even had time to grieve the loss of the Taco Bell that was torn down. Let this place console you with tasty burgers, and a specialty concrete made with frozen custard and a seasonal slice of Bang Bang Pie.
Big Star is another restaurant that’s right across from the stadium, on the same block as the Hotel Zachary. And like the location in Wicker Park, this spot has a huge patio, solid tacos, and a fun atmosphere. This version is twice the size of the original, though, and full of the Wrigleyville crowd. Meaning you’ll see more families, baby strollers, and people in Cubs gear. The menu is the same as Wicker Park’s, other than the addition of the delicious “hot chips,” a.k.a. nachos where the chips are freshly fried and lightly coated with salsa. This is a good place to hang outside for margaritas and tacos anytime - with or without a game going on.
West Town Bakery And Tap
This location of West Town Bakery is - you guessed it - right across from the stadium. And like the original in West Town, it has baked goods like cookies, cake balls, and pastries. But because this is Wrigleyville, this spot serves cocktails and boozy milkshakes, too. It’s still a good place to sit for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake if that’s more your thing.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s is a respite from the approximately 6,891 bars in Wrigleyville. Not only is the ice cream here fantastic, but the staff is also very nice. As in, they will pretend not to be annoyed when you ask to try every single flavor they have - which you’ll want to do. Get one of the seasonal flavors, like sweet cream and biscuits (with biscuits actually mixed into the ice cream), or a classic like brambleberry crisp.
We love a good stop at Lucky’s anytime we’re in the Wrigley area. They have thick-cut, soft white bread that’s stuffed with your choice of meats, cheeses, and french fries. Yes, french fries in the sandwich. It could come across as just a gimmick, but it’s actually very good. The space isn’t very big, but works for smaller groups or a casual meal by yourself. Come here for beer and a sandwich you would have dreamt of in college but never made because you were too lazy.
Just a few blocks north of the entrance to Wrigley on Sheffield and Waveland is Byron’s, an old-school hot dog joint. There are a few picnic benches outside, and their hot dogs and brats are better and cheaper than the ones at Wrigley Field. Feel free to get your quota in here before heading to the game.
Wrigleyville doesn’t have just one by-the-slice pizza place with macaroni and cheese and s’mores pizza - it has two. We suggest getting one of each from both Dimo’s and Big G’s, and doing a drunk-food taste-off.
Lark is a Neapolitan pizza spot that’s not too far from the stadium, and a good sleeper pick if you’re trying to sit down and get served food before or after a game. The menu is long, but pizza is what you want - if it were up to us, Lark would get rid of everything else on the menu and push their excellent pies way harder than they do. You can’t go wrong on the pizza front, so just make sure you have enough.
If you need a quick bite but want something other than hot dogs, pizza, or Italian beefs, then Zam Zam is a worthwhile pit stop. They serve solid chicken shawarma and falafel sandwiches only a short walk from Wrigley Field. You can always get a hot dog at the game if you have FOMO.
What’s that place with all the goofy sh*t on the walls? She-nannigans? Are we talking about She-nannigans? Nope, just Cozy Noodles & Rice, the neighborhood Thai favorite with all sorts of toys and decorations. Get any of the noodles or curry dishes and you’ll be good to go, either in the restaurant or back at home on your couch.
Here’s the thing - when you can get yourself some Al’s only a few blocks away from the stadium, it’s tough not to. Yes, it’s one of the franchised stores, but it’s good. Plus, not much sounds better after drinking beer than an Italian beef with giardiniera, or a Chicago dog dragged through the garden.
Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden has everything that makes Chicago great when it’s nice out - wine and craft beer, solid food (in this case, BBQ), and an excellent outdoor area, all in one place. Make sure to take advantage before we’re all freezing our a**es off again.
Uncommon Ground may be on Clark just north of Wrigley Field, but it doesn’t cater to the drunk and rowdy baseball fan crowd. Not that you can’t get food and drinks here before or after a game - but that’s not the sole purpose of this place’s existence. Uncommon Ground has been a pioneer in the sustainable, farm-to-table, grow-stuff-on-your-own-rooftop movement since 1991, so pop in for a casual meal any day of the week, baseball or no baseball.
There’s been an influx of casual crab and seafood boil spots recently, and Lowcountry is one of them. The space is super low-key, so feel free to get your hands dirty with a bag of shrimp, crab, and crawfish at one of the picnic benches. Fried Oreos and beignets for dessert are also a smart idea. This is another great choice for a group that wants to eat something besides sandwiches and hot dogs.
Sluggers is our go-to choice after a Cubs game, and it’s a jack-of-all-trades for keeping the party going. Keep drinking at the bar on the main floor, or head upstairs to the batting cages/arcade games/dueling piano bar.
Rizzo's Bar & Inn
Rizzo’s is a huge sports bar that’s great for groups. It’s right across from the stadium, and has a giant patio with a retractable roof. During the Cubs season, it’s definitely a party spot - you’ll find crowds of people, some of whom will be playing beer pong. They do have a menu of bar food, and it’s fine (their wings are decent, and basically anything that gets put in a fryer will get the job done). And as a bonus, they also have a small inn attached to the bar, so if you don’t feel like trying to get home, go ahead and see about a room.
Lucky Strike Social
Lucky Strike is a bar that has activities like bowling, video games, and ping pong. There’s also some bar food, like sliders and smoked gouda mac and cheese balls - but you’re better off focusing on drinks and games. In other words, this is a perfect place if you need to distract yourself from the Cubs losing.
Deuces and The Diamond Club
Deuces and Diamond isn’t quite the Fremont, but it’s the closest thing you’ll find in Wrigley. It’s huge, with two floors and a great patio. Be real fancy and take the escalator upstairs, especially when you’re having trouble using your own two feet.
The Cubby Bear
The Cubby Bear is the Mecca of Wrigley on game day. It’s directly across the street from the stadium and attracts a huge crowd. Live music makes it an upbeat spot if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for.
It’s 75 and sunny, and you skipped work to watch the Cubs against the Cardinals. Pregaming with beers at Murphy’s Bleachers just outside of right field is what you want to be doing.
Vines on Clark
Vines has one of the largest and best patios in the neighborhood, and it stares directly at Wrigley Field. It’s ideal for eating, drinking, thinking about going inside to the game, and then continuing to drink on the patio without ever going inside to the game.
Toon's Bar & Grill
You can pop into Toon’s any day of the week. It’s a few blocks northeast away from Wrigley, so it shouldn’t get the crazy overflow. It’s ideal for hanging and a quick bite of solid bar food - keep an eye out for their summer crawfish boils.
Nisei is Wrigleyville’s oldest tavern (it opened in 1951), and it’s a dive bar holdout in a neighborhood primarily full of sports bars. The only things you’ll find here are booze and beer nuts.
The Sports Corner Bar & Grill
Sports Corner is the first bar you’ll encounter after walking off the Red Line L stop at Addison. It’s a typical sports bar - alcohol, televisions, and passable bar food. Coming here is the equivalent of betting all your money on the first slot machine in the Vegas airport. Best or worst way to start an adventure - your choice.
The Gingerman Tavern is the opposite of what you probably associate with Wrigleyville. No Cubs, no sports, and no Wagon Wheel sing-a-longs. Just a quality selection of microbrews and a few pool tables, and it’s always a good idea when you want to ditch the crowds.