CHICAGO | Another season, and another hope for Cubs fans that the team will ‘go all the way’ to win the World Series Championship. As game 3 of the 2016 World Series approaches, the excitement can be felt everywhere in Chicago. Could this be the year?
The Chicago Cubs “Cubbies” were one of four founding teams in the American National League Baseball Club (in 1867, formerly known as The Chicago White Stockings; the team name was changed to the Chicago Cubs in 1903). Despite this nearly 150-year history, the Cubs have not brought home a World Series Championship title since 1908.
Why? Many credit the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’. The year was 1945. The Cubs had a phenomenal record that year. Everyone thought it was going to be a clear victory against the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Game four, all was well, until the owner of the popular Billy Goat Tavern, Billy Sianis, showed up with his pet Goat named Murphy. The odor of his pet goat was bothering some fans so Billy and Murphy were told to leave Wrigley Field. What happened next is up for debate, but the general outcome is that Mr. Sianis declared that the Cubs were cursed going forward, with no chance to ever win a World Series Championship again.
Cut to 2016: the curse still holds. Despite this unfortunate situation, nearly every game sells out. Why? A day at the ballpark is more than just the game itself. It is the experience of being at the iconic Wrigley Field and enjoying the atmosphere of its fun and youthful neighborhood of Wrigleyville.
So, how does The City Lane Chicago do a day at Wrigley?
Pre-Game Food and Drinks
First things first. Whether heading to a day game or a night game, we like to have a drink and a snack before heading into Wrigley Field. The 3 favourites below are always a reliable option.
Rockit Burger Bar arguably has the best food nearby the stadium. Don’t miss the Mac & Cheese Attack – a quarter pounder burger sandwiched between two fried mac and cheese buns that’s as delicious as you’d imagine.
Murphy’s Bleachers is a fan favorite. The outdoor patio is always busy and they have a variety of quick and easy bar food that can be ordered from the counter when you are in a rush to head out the door.
Vines on Clark is one of the few places in the neighborhood that is known for wine over beer. Just steps from the stadium, this is a great place to start off when with clients or hosting those who are looking for something other than a sports bar.
Let’s Play Ball
There are several options at the ballpark depending what atmosphere you are looking for and where you fall on the scale of serious fans tracking each play versus showing up only to socialize with little awareness that a game is happening in the background.
For over 100 years, rooftops in the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field have been a gathering place to catch a game without having to deal with the crowds and cost of the stadium. As the popularity of the Cubs and the rooftops grew, the owners of the properties started charging admission and eventually the Cub’s organization set up a profit-sharing agreement.
The rooftops are a great place to socialize, enjoy unlimited beverages and food, and most provide a view of the stadium. Note that some of the rooftops no longer have direct views due to marketing paraphernalia and restructuring of the stadium.
Two websites to choose the rooftop location of choice; to fit a group of any size: To find a rooftop that will suit your needs, no matter what the size of your group, check out Wrigley Rooftops and Rooftops of Wrigley.
The bleachers’ seating generally falls into the category of mingling and having a few drinks over high-level sports enthusiast. Seating is unassigned and groups of friends and family gather in a section to enjoy each other’s company and watch the Cubbies.
Whether located in the outfield above the ivy-covered walls, or directly behind home plate in the first row, there are seats at every price point to accommodate a range of budgets.
Wrigley Field has one of only two maintained hand-turned scoreboards in U.S. professional baseball stadiums, with the other being Fenway Park in Boston.
Food & Drink
The moment you enter Wrigley Field, you get a waft of fried onions, hot dogs grilling, and beer being poured in every direction.
Here are a few of our favorite items to enjoy throughout the stadium:
- Hot Doug’s: the iconic location is back and located in Wrigley bleachers. There’s a rotating selection of hot dogs named after Cubs players.
- Giordano’s: another icon set up shop in Wrigley (Section 306) if you are in the mood for pizza.
- CC’s Frozen Drinks: In Section 115 you can sip on a frozen tropical drink if beer is not your thing.
- Frosty Beer and Snacks: This vendor is located throughout the stadium with the traditional mix of beer, peanuts, and other fan favorites.
Proceed with caution. We were once caught in the stadium on an unexpectedly cool afternoon, so went inside to grab some warm Cub’s gear. We ended up purchasing a $99 (plus tax) hooded sweatshirt that was cute but…really?
The classy act can end. As the saying goes, “win or lose, we still booze”. Cubbie fans have now been drinking and out in the sun/rain/snow in some cases for hours and it’s time to celebrate whether there is a win or loss.
Where To Celebrate
The Cubby Bear is a neighborhood gem directly across the street from Wrigley Field. Here you’ll find Cubs fans of every age dancing to live music, ordering shots, losing ID’s/work bags/jackets/passports (or so we heard from a friend), and generally having a blast. This bar has won several awards over the years and it’s easy to see why.
Casey Moran’s has two levels and an outdoor patio and is a great place to book a private group event (before, during, or after the game) and to celebrate a win. The outdoor beer garden is a lovely on a summer afternoon and the second floor includes a VIP room if you’re looking to impress.
Slugger’s is a place where it’s tough to get bored. Dueling pianos with sing-along, batting cages, skee-ball, air hockey, and various arcade games cater to those who want to continue the fun post-Cubs game. This bar has won a number of accolades including the #1 Baseball Bar in Chicago by ESPN.
The Future of Wrigley
Massive changes are happening in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. These changes are exciting for many of the locals, although those who are nostalgic for the historical aspects of the area are not that happy about some of the developments underway.
Although details are not set in stone, the general development plans on Clark, across from Wrigley Field, include luxury apartment units, 150,000+ sqft of retail, parking, a multi-screen theatre, and health club. Separately, there will be a hotel constructed at the corner of Addison and Clark.
A day at the ballpark watching the Cubs is always fun, and with so much to do before, during and after the game, you can often find us at Wrigley Field. Let’s take home a World Series Championship for Chicago this year. Go Cubs Go!