Customers and employees dressed for Bears season at Timothy O'Toole's. (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
Oh, you have Bears season tickets? Then stop reading now, you lucky jerk. For the rest of us, Sundays (and Monday, Nov. 4 against Green Bay ... oh yes!) will see us glued to the TV from the edge of a barstool. If you don’t have cable, finding a great game day bar is a must, but even if you do, there’s a lot to be said for the camaraderie—and beer and snacks—that a good football bar provides. Because there are as many types of Bears bars as there are bad Ditka impressions, take your own personality into account when choosing.
Bears bar personality test
1. Jay Cutler is...
a. Kristin Cavallari’s husband?
b. The Bears QB who totalled 3,033 passing yards with 58.8 percent completion during the 2012-13 season.
c. Pretty cute, in a pouty way.
d. A decent QB, I guess.
e. Who cares? I’m watching the AFC East.
2. Your ideal Sunday bar has:
a. Beer. Maybe football.
b. As many TVs as possible. With sound. Tuned to the Bears game.
c. Three words: Personal beer taps.
d. Enough places to sit, and a better-than-average burger.
e. As many TVs as possible. With sound. Turned to every NFL game.
3. You’re trying to watch the game with:
a. A pizza. And friends. Mainly pizza, though.
b. Your dad/uncle/best friend.
c. Hot single people, and maybe a celebrity.
d. Your roommate or significant other.
e. Out-of-town friends.
Mostly As: Not the biggest football fan? That’s OK, grab some pizza and beer at Piece Brewery and Pizzeria.
Mostly Bs: Alright, diehard, get your jersey-clad self to Timothy O’Toole’s Pub.
Mostly Cs: Find football with a side of the River North scene at Bull & Bear.
Mostly Ds: Fans of neighborhood bars, post up at Cortland’s Garage.
Mostly Es: Make everyone happy at Fatpour Tap Works.
Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
1927 W. North Ave. 773-772-4422
Piece is the rare spot that satisfies intense fans as well as those just looking for solid food and drinks. Arrive early, as tables can get crowded, then attempt to choose toppings for your New Haven-style pies while washing them down with pitchers of made-on-site Piece beer. Too lazy to leave the couch? Have a large pizza and a 64-ounce beer growler delivered for just $25, though I sort-of think this is cheating.
Timothy O’Toole’s Pub
622 N. Fairbanks Court 312-642-0700
On their off days, Bears players are known to hang out at this Gold Coast sports bar, which gives it nearly the same level of Bears cred as a sweaty Walter Payton headband. True Bears fans know this is where to come for bleed-blue-and-orange spirit, $18 Miller buckets and Bears giveaways and prizes. If you haven’t visited since last season, you’ll notice a remodeled bar and upgraded dining room area.
Bull & Bear
431 N. Wells St. 312-527-5973
This River North sports bar takes its football seriously, but it’s also worth scanning the room during commercial breaks in case there’s an off-duty Bulls or Bears player in the house. When the Bears are in the red zone, turn your attention back to the 27 TVs; your table-top beer taps (available in the premium booth seating) will still be there after the play. Bears specials include $5 select 22-ounce drafts, $15 Bud buckets, a $30 bottomless chili and bloody mary package and $25 sangria pitchers.
1645 W. Cortland St. 773-862-7877
A quintessential neighborhood bar, this Bucktown favorite is tucked away in a relatively residential area that offers a reprieve from packed strips such as Division Street or Clark Street. That doesn’t mean fans here aren’t enthusiastic, though—you’ll find plenty of people cheering in between bites of the bar’s super-popular burgers and sips of rotating craft beers. Bears game days also mean $15 domestic buckets and a $5 build-your-own bloody mary bar.
Fatpour Tap Works
2005 W. Division St. 773-698-8940
When you have a group of friends with multiple football allegiances—or you’re just trying to keep track of your fantasy players—you need a bar with plenty of TVs that servers don’t mind tuning to non-Bears games. Fatpour certainly has its Bears faithful covered, but also is accommodating of fans of other teams. Settle in with $7 bloody marys, $3 mimosas and $5 beermosas, or scan through the dozens-deep draft beer list to wash down burgers, brunch fare (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), sandwiches and pizza.
firstname.lastname@example.org | @redeyeeatdrink.
Additional reporting by RedEye special contributor Samantha Nelson.
Check out RedEye’s college football bar guide at redeyechicago.com/collegebars.