When it comes to catching the game, the only thing better than the living room La-Z-Boy is an appreciative bar full of like-minded fans. The Windy City obliges wholeheartedly, raising the sports bar stereotype with creative decor, food that goes beyond wings and skins (though there’s plenty of that. too), local brews on tap, and, if nothing else, flat-screens galore.
Harry Caray's Tavern
Known for its loyalty to the Chicago Cubs—it's named after the late Cubs announcer—when it's not baseball season, Harry Caray's Tavern has the sport of the day on, be it basketball, hockey or football. With its memorabilia-covered walls, dozens of HDTVs and a tempting bar menu of chopped salads, margherita pizzas and burgers (choose meat or turkey, toppings, buns, cheeses and sauces), it's a great place to relax and watch the big game. Open for lunch and dinner daily.
Fatpour Tap Works
At Fatpour Tap Works in Wicker Park, you can find over 200 different types of beers. This is a Wisconsin Badger bar, so fried cheese curds are a must-try. Check their website for different daily specials, such as $5 fatpours on Mondays and $20 champagne bottles on Saturdays and Sundays.
Throw back a few for the Monsters of the Midway Chicago Bears at Public House, where you can't miss the action on the 30-foot HD video wall. Don't want to miss a play? Ask for a booth as they're all equipped with table taps.
Perfectly located for United Center action by the Bulls and Blackhawks (there's a shuttle from the bar to the stadium), West End is also a University of Michigan alumni hangout, so the Wolverines might very well trump other games.
Famous for its convertible rooftop, Benchmark gets revelers in with specials on most big game days, like Super Bowl meal packages and tailgating. This spacious Old Town spot from the Four Corners Tavern Group (Schoolyard, West End) also excels at rotating craft beer selections and its hard-hitting cocktails.
The NewCity development in Lincoln Park includes this outpost of Yard House, living up to its reputation as a friendly blend of local art, local brews, local games on the endless flat-screens and their killer wings (try the crispy duck).
Rockit Bar & Grill
Led by the inimitable Billy Dec, Rockit is a River North mainstay, with a recent revamp keeping it on our social radar and typically game-day bucket specials. Stick around for the after-party because the late-night menu includes its famous burgers, plus dessert-in-a-jar.
Shaw's Crab House
Reserve a seat at Shaw's Crab House on Super Bowl Sunday and for $75 you can help yourself to a feast as you cheer on your team. The package includes all-you-can-eat king crab, oysters and sliced beef tenderloin, as well as steamed mussels, French fried shrimp, mac & cheese, Brussels sprouts, fudge brownies and chocolate chip cookies for the table.
On Campus Viewing
Let the pros show you how it's done. Head over to your collegiate neighborhood's bars for some Super Bowl Sunday fun with fellow alums.
University of Illinois
Cheer on your team at friendly neighborhood Bird’s Nest Bar, whose wings have won awards. On the flip side is the 20,000-square-foot Joe’s on Weed St. boasting more than 100 high-def plasma TVs and reservations for parties of three or more. On Super Bowl Sunday, Joe's will offer table specials such as $5 Tito's and Jack Daniel's cocktails, drafts and domestic bottles for $3.25, and more.
University of Iowa
Reserve your table now at John Barleycorn Wrigleyville for a free appetizer during the big game. They're also offering $3 Bud Light drafts, $5 well cocktails and half-off select appetizers. For $30, you can buy a package at Four Shadows that includes domestic beers, select craft beers and half-price appetizers. They will also be holding a half-time raffle so you can try your luck while watching the game.
Notre Dame University
If you want the luck of the Irish on your side as you root for your team, head over to The Kerryman, where they'll be offering game day specialties like New England chowder and Atlanta Southern fried chicken. Tucked into the heart of Lincoln Park, Wrightwood Tap obliges with Bud Light bottles for $2.50 a pop.
University of Wisconsin
If the game isn't enough competition for you, apron up and bring your best chili to Will’s Northwoods Inn, where they'll be holding a chili cook-off with cash prizes for the top three contestants. Over in Bucktown, Lottie’s Pub serves up 80-plus years of history with $4 Jameson, $15 Miller/Coors buckets and a $15 party platter which includes 14" cheese pizza, wings and tots. They will also be offering prizes for anyone who can kick a field goal so start practicing now!