Sure, you could just get a hot dog or nachos at the game. And you’ll bump into two-dozen bars surrounding the park without even trying. But we’d rather go out for a nice brunch before a weekend day game and follow up a Cubs victory with a pint of good beer that’s cheaper than that watery swill you bought at Wrigley. Luckily, the area around Wrigley Field is teeming with delicious options to eat and drink. There are more good places than I can list, but here are the highlights.
Watching a game at Wrigley is nuts, which is why I like starting with a civilized brunch. Head to Uncommon Ground, which is sustainably minded and turns out excellent food. At brunch, try the lemon zest pancakes or chilaquiles and get ready for the game with something potent from the seasonal cocktail menu.
Uncommon Ground is located at 3800 N. Clark St.
Another option for brunch or a post-game snack is Southport Grocery, which is open until 4 p.m. most days and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. While known for the cupcake pancakes (and the classic cupcakes are a must-order), the savory dishes shine too. The Southport Cuban is made with smoked brisket, ham, Swiss cheese, dijonnaise, and arugula and includes the brilliant additions of giardiniera and grilled challah bread.
Southport Grocery is located at 3552 N Southport Ave.
You don’t have to be vegan to like The Chicago Diner. I’m a big fan of the place, and after a gluttonous afternoon at the ballpark, a tofu quinoa bowl with chimichurri sauce can hit the spot. Or the Radical Reuben, made with seitan. Or the stupidly delicious shakes—I know they’re vegan, I don’t know what they put in them, and for once, I don’t care.
The Chicago Diner is located at 3411 N Halsted St.
I like to swing by Dimo’s Pizza before the game for a quick bite. You can order pizza by the slice and there are classic options like pepperoni, but also ridiculous, awesome options like Philly cheesesteak and buffalo chicken (my two favorites), chicken and waffles, steak and fries, spicy chicken taco, and lasagna.
Dimo’s Pizza is located at 3463 N Clark St.
East Lakeview has become Banh Mi Central over the past year, and Banh Mi & Co. is the closest spot to the park for a Vietnamese sandwich. They’re very nicely done here, and I like the pork and pate version plus the summer rolls.
Banh Mi & Co. is located at 843 W Belmont Ave.
Sheffield’s, via Food & Wine
For post-game boozing, hit up Goose Island, just about the only bar right in Wrigleyville that I can sometimes tolerate. If it’s not insanely crowded, head to the back patio and get a bucket of beers to split with your group. When it’s tame, this is a pretty pleasant place to spend a few hours. If it’s insanely crowded, immediately leave and go to Nisei Lounge, where you can play pool and sip a decent selection of beers. You can also bring food in, so grab Dimo’s before you go.
Goose Island is located at 3535 N Clark St.
Nisei Lounge is located at 3439 N Sheffield Ave.
Further down Clark is my favorite dive bar, the L & L Tavern, which will not attract the Wrigley crowd at all. It’s dark, the chairs are ripped, the PBR is $2, and the jukebox is free.
L & L Tavern is located at 3207 N Clark St.
Another good option is Sheffield’s, which will keep you in beer for the rest of the day. It can get busy, but I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table. There are always lots of great beers available and the BBQ isn’t too shabby either.
Sheffield’s is located at 3258 N Sheffield Ave.