Football season is upon us! Whether or not you want to waste — er, spend — your time watching the Bears or not is up to you, but if you’re wondering which sports bar is best for cheering on your favorite college team with plenty of like-minded fans, we can help you out. And listen, it can get confusing, because there’s a plethora of college sports bars to choose from in our sports-crazy town. Plus, there are some great spots included for watching Bulls and Blackhawks games … and, dare I say … the World Series?
College Game-Centric Spots
Illinois and Indiana
940 W. Weed St., Chicago, 312-337-3486
There are 120 plasma TVs, 14 satellite dishes, and every possible permutation of college and professional ball happening on all of them. But they especially love the Fighting Illini and the Hoosiers.
9 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, 312-644-0004
Not the typical sports bar, Theory is upscale to match the tony River North nabe it resides in. It’s the official bar of the Chicago Iowa Club.
22 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, 312-645-6000
All the Wolverine alums in Chicago who can’t make it to the Big House hang here to watch the games and eat Lamb Nachos.
3524 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-348-8899
Spartans come to this cavernous space to gloat, except when they don’t. Then they drown their sorrows collectively and talk trash about U of M fans.
1935 N. Sedgwick St., Chicago, 312-337-7900
Mizzou Tigers fans congregate here for $5 22-ounce stadium cups and Irish whiskey shots. They duke it out with Spartan fans, who also have a home here. The only thing that unites them? The Tater Tot Mountain. It’s the one thing they can agree on.
1240 N. Wells, Chicago, 312-642-5522
Look no further than Old Town for the Notre Dame Club of Chicago’s favorite hangout. The décor was inspired by the owner’s memories of his parent’s Belfast pub and you can eat fish ‘n’ chips while cheering on the exploits of the Fighting Irish.
1535 N. Wells St., Chicago, 312-643-0093
Official Chicago home of the Buckeyes, this “dive bar” is named for their wood-burning grill, but really brings out the Ohio spirit on game days.
1970 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 312-642-0007
Longhorns unite at Stanley’s, which has been going strong since 1993. They love the home-style Southern cooking.
3030 N. Racine St., Chicago, 773-528-4400
Founded in Lakeview in 1991 by some hardcore Badger fans, they’ve got it all, dontcha know. Criminy, they’ve got Walleye Pike Bites, a Merkt’s Cheddar burger, Beer Brats and even something called Moose Knuckles (don’t ask). And if you have anything bad to say about the Packers, take it outside.
Don’t see your alma mater here? Check out the Chicago Bar Project for a more complete listing.
Sports Bar Generalists
65 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, 312-836-0290
This “new generation of the classic American pub” draws an upscale (but still fratty) crowd to its River North location.
2047 W. Division St., Chicago, 773-489-5050
Both Thrillist and Maxim say this is the best sports bar in the country, so who are we to disagree? This tri-level Wicker Park favorite just got a major facelift and the crave-able menu can make you forget the more than 20 flat screens around the room.
41 E. Superior St., Chicago, 312-266-0400
It’s an official Blackhawks Bar, plus there’s the added bonus of 20 TVs and really tasty wings, especially if you like ‘em hot.
1326 W. Madison St., Chicago, 312-981-7100
There’s a free shuttle on Hawks and Bulls game days for those lucky enough to score actual game tickets; otherwise, park it here to watch your favorite Chicago teams.
Gamekeepers Sports Bar & Grill
345 W. Armitage, Chicago, 773-549-0400
This is the big daddy of Lincoln Park sports bars; open since 1984, they’re still going strong. They’re the official spot for Arkansas, UNC and LSU, but you can also catch Georgia, Kentucky, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, DePaul and Mizzou games here.
935 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, 773-975-8030
They’ve got 100 beers on tap, and Yahoo! Sports voted them the “4th Best Sports Establishment” in the country … sounds like a winning game-time combo.
1709 Benson Ave., Evanston, 847-733-7117
If you’re an NU student, and there’s a big sporting event happening (NCAA Basketball, Bowl games, etc.), this is where you hunker down (and eat a corned beef sandwich the size of your head).
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