Formerly a working-class neighborhood, Wrigleyville is the nickname to the neighborhood directly surrounding Wrigley Field. Also known as Central Lakeview, its borders run from Diversey Parkway and Irving Park Road, to Halsted Street and Racine Avenue. Wrigleyville features low-rise brick buildings and houses, some with rooftop bleachers colloquially called Wrigley Rooftops where people can purchase seats to watch baseball games or concerts that, while generally more expensive than tickets for seats within the park itself, come with all you can eat and drink service. Proprietors are able to do so under special agreements with the Chicago Cubs organization. Many Wrigleyville bars and restaurants (particularly on North Clark Street) feature sports-oriented themes. Bars such as Sluggers, Murphy’s Bleachers, Casey Moran’s, Rockwood Place, Sports Corner and The Cubby Bear host the Cubs crowds near the Wrigley Field intersection of North Clark Street and West Addison Street.
Sports and spirits. It can be said that these simple pleasures, flavored with a heavy dose of camaraderie and passion, are the backbone of one of Chicago’s more unique neighborhoods: Wrigleyville.
The history of Wrigleyville is inextricably linked to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Wrigley Field was built in the early 1900’s and it was with the building of this monument to baseball that the neighborhood first became defined within the larger Lakeview area. The culture that has since sprung up around the legendary stadium makes the Wrigleyville area a community unto itself.
Wrigleyville is bordered by Halsted St. on the east, Ashland Ave. on the west, Roscoe St. on the south and Byron St. on the north. The area is very well developed in terms of restaurants and bars, and easily reached via public transportation.
Shopping is not the primary focus of this neighborhood; while certainly some shops can be found, they are mainly limited to sports-themed merchandise vendors selling Cubs paraphernalia, as well as ticket vendors selling seats for Cubs games.
One shop of interest is Strange Cargo, which is a few blocks from Wrigley Field and features eclectic, casual apparel and accessories for men and women. Another popular shopping site is the Brown Elephant; this is an enormous resale shop whose proceeds benefit the Howard Brown Health Center for individuals with AIDS. For the most part, however, most shoppers leave Wrigleyville laden with merchandise that sports a bold “C” for “Cubs”!
Wrigleyville boasts a wide selection of Chicago restaurants and bars; after a Cubs game, these establishments are full of sports fans and tend to be extremely festive in nature. There are several sports-themed bars which act as popular pre and post game hangouts, and are located very near Wrigley Field.
The Cubby Bear, one of the most popular bars in the area, is directly across from Wrigley Field and draws huge crowds on home game days. Sluggers, also an extremely popular establishment, has two levels and features an immense game room on the second floor. Other Chicago bars in Wrigleyville include Sports Corner, Murphy’s Bleachers, Exedus, John Barleycorn’s, The Irish Oak, Mullen’s, Central, the Ivy on Clark and Chicago’s Blarney Stone.
Restaurants near Wrigley Field are plentiful and various cuisines can be found here. For American food, try Salt and Pepper, Heaven on Seven, the Kit Kat Lounge or Bar Louie, a chain that can be found in other parts of the city. Not to be missed is the Bar Celona, a pub and grill with a more intimate air. For Italian food the cozy and delightful Tuscany on Clark is the way to go, while those looking for Asian fare will delight in BD’s Mongolian Barbecue, Penny’s Noodle Shop, Shabu-Ya or Mr. Thai. For an even more exotic experience, Ethiopian Village is sure to deliver.
After dinner, several cozy cafes offer dessert and coffee: check out Fly Me to the Moon or the Pick Me Up Café. Also try Julius Meinl, which features live music on several nights.