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The 7 Best Sports Bars In Chicago

By Staff in Food on Oct 2, 2013 7:55PM

Autumn brings with it the return of football, basketball and hockey and with it, demands on your time for watching your favorite teams. If you have a college football allegiance and want to cheer on your alma mater or want to curse at Jay Cutler when he throws another interception, sports bars across Chicago are vying for your patronage.

We've chosen seven spots we feel represent the best sports bars in Chicago. We know you'll disagree. Let us have it in the comments.

Wills Northwoods Inn (Photo via Wills' Facebook page)

Will’s Northwoods Inn
There is something about Wisconsin - its statewide quaintness, its bottomless well of friendliness and good cheer, its aw-shucks, good effort! approach to losing sports seasons - that seems lost on anyone who didn’t grow up in this land of encased meats and elongated vowels. But for those of us making a go of it south of the border, the approachable charm and endlessly passionate and hopeful support of the Pack is never further away than Will’s Northwoods Inn. I’ve seen my share of authentic northwoods small-town taverns as a fourth-generation Wisconsinite and Will’s has done an admirable job of recreating the communal experience of watching the Green & Gold with an impassioned group of strangers-come-brothers, right down to the complementary summer sausage-and-spreadable cheese trays that dot the tables of diehards on Packers game days. Whether you’re coming from a $40 Lincoln Park brunch or a morning of rural ice fishing with the traditional Schiltz-based breakfast, Will’s will welcome you with open arms. Just get there early - like shortly after dawn - on Sundays. —Lizz Kannenberg

Will’s Northwoods Inn is located at 3030 N. Racine Ave.

Sedgwick’s Bar & Grill
I am the kind of person that avoids sports bars as much as humanly possible, especially during actual sporting events. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across Sedgwick’s—an establishment somewhat known to me as a joint to grab a beer before or after Park West concerts—in the midst of the baseball playoff season a few years ago and found the environment was actually fun. This may have to do with the place existing on some slightly alternate plane of existence since it’s a haven for St. Louis Cardinal and Mizzou fans (I date a person who is both), so there’s a bit of a “we’re all in this together vibe” to the joint. Add in friendly staff, affordable booze and halfway decent food and you get a sports bar that even this die-hard anti-sports contrarian can enjoy. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

Sedgwick’s Bar & Grill is located at 1935 N. Sedwick St.

MCM Pub and Eatery
This spot located a short walk from the shuttered Portage Theater is a beautiful blend of old and new Chicago. If you walk through the package store and its decades of sights and smells you'll be rewarded with a newly built lounge featuring a long antique mahogany bar, eight plasma screen televisions, dart boards and menus that will satisfy your appetite and (depending on how your favorite teams fare) your blood-alcohol level. MCM carries a wide array of craft and import beer yet still retains its shot-and-a-beer feel, which you'll appreciate when you're wiping artichoke dip off that Walter Payton jersey you should have donated to Goodwill years ago. —Chuck Sudo

MCM Pub and Eatery is located at 3906 N. Cicero Ave.

Crew Bar + Grill
While Crew Bar + Grill attracts a large and loyal LGBT crowd, the idea of a “gay sports bar” is about as antiquated and pointless as Prohibition itself. With 21 high-definition TVs, over 60 beers, and plenty of tasty, hearty bites everyone feels welcome here—and that’s why Crew is Chicago’s friendliest sports bar. To mark the Uptown establishment’s 10 year anniversary next July, the owners recently gave the bar a $100,000 overhaul, including new floors, freshly painted ceilings and walls, and a soon-to-be revealed custom-made glass, steel, and quartz fa├žade. Crew is also a team-player when it comes to the community. The bar’s annual Customer Chili Contest has raised thousands of dollars for Care for Real, a local food pantry, and Crew sponsors many sports teams and leagues, including CRU, the Chicago Rowing Union. Throw in the occasional Hot Jock Contest, a Fall schedule packed with tons of Pro and College Football viewing, plenty o’ good eats and you can see why Crew makes us cheer no matter who we’re rooting for on the field or between the sheets. Crew’s infamous tagline is “Wanna Play?” Why, yes. Yes, we do. —Tony Peregrin

Crew Bar + Grill is located at 4804 N. Broadway.

The Rail Bar & Grill (Photo via The Rail's website)

The Rail Bar and Grill
This bar on Damen off the Brown Line is popular with both young people and homeowners calling Lincoln Square home with its comfortable decor and 17 TVs. Four of these are 50-inch screens and all are capable of screening that game you have your rent riding on. Don't be too distracted from easy money to fuel yourself with a stellar menu of food, beer and cocktails. The Rail's Cajun burger and chicken club sandwich are staples whenever I visit. —Chuck Sudo

The Rail Bar and Grill is located at 4709 N. Damen Ave.

I called Rocky's a welcome addition to Bridgeport's dining options when it opened in 2009 and they've stayed the course since. The food leans toward hearty burgers and heavy pasta dishes, the beer is simple and the cocktails (while they won't challenge The Violet Hour for complexity) get the job done. Located within walking distance from Sox Park, you can go catch the White Sox for a few innings and leave the park early to nurse another loss. —Chuck Sudo

Rocky's is located at 234 W. 31st St.

The Globe Pub

If you're looking to balance bad baseball and football with some serious soccer viewing then head to this North Center pub. They screen soccer and rugby, abetted with some solid English cooking and rowdy crowds depending on the match. —Chuck Sudo

The Globe Pub is located at 1934 W. Irving Park Rd.