Wrigley Field is a destination whether the Cubs are playing at home that day or not—tours of Wrigley are offered almost every day during the regular season. Built in 1914, it's the second-oldest ballpark in the country and has the stories to prove it.
These include the park's first World Series hosted in 1929, Jackie Robinson's debut at the Friendly Confines in 1947 to a crowd of more than 46,000, the first night game in 1988 and Harry Caray's original 7th inning stretch rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on opening day in 1982—a tradition that continues to this day. Not to mention the marquee World Series win in 2016.
This season, there are big changes in store for the area near the ballpark. While Park At Wrigley is still a nice added green space, with lawns and big screens for watching the game, there is also a large development across the street, Hotel Zachary, with brand-new food options including Big Star, Smoke Daddy, Mordecai and West Town Bakery and Tap.
Here are all the places to go in Wrigleyville to eat and drink before or after a game or anytime.
The popular taco joint, already a hit at the original location in Wicker Park, is expanding to Wrigleyville with a massive two-story, 9,000-square-foot space with an 87-seat patio that overlooks the ballpark. The menu will feature street food staples like al pastor tacos and housemade guacamole and queso fundido, plus margaritas and a selection of cheap beers.
West Town Bakery + Tap
In addition to the delectable and unique baked goods West Town is known for, such as cake balls, donuts, doughssants and cruffies, the new Wrigleyville outpost will also have a full cocktail menu inspired by bakery favorites, such as Chocolate City Iced Coffee, mimosas, Bloody Mary’s with chocolate-dipped chicharron and a selection of local brews and wine. New food items will include stacked breakfast sandwiches, signature chocolate bars, Wrigleyville themed cake balls and a signature soft serve ice cream.
Named for Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, an early 1900s-era pitcher that played for the Cubs, this new spot is the place to get craft cocktails and small plates created by a Charlie Trotter alum.
Barbecue will also be on the menu for game day. Smoke Daddy, around in Chicago since 1994, offers award-winning ribs and pulled meats that are prepared every day in-house. The venue also offers live music.
Named for a centuries-old drinking song, this two-story mega-bar knows its crowd and caters to it with plenty of beers on tap and flat-screen TVs, including two 100-inch projection screens. On Cubs game days when the weather is decent, early birds get the seats and other people wait outside to get in.
Cesar's on Clark
"Killer margaritas" is their website, and killer margaritas they have, more than 10 varieties with the perfect sweet-sour mix to make us happy. The family-owned restaurant offers an extensive menu of solid Mexican staples, plus lighter options including veggie fajitas, fish tacos and spinach quesadillas. It's about a 12-minute walk to Wrigley or quick El or bus ride.
Raw Bar & Grill
Just down the block from Wrigley is this hidden gem, where the crowds are a bit melower, oysters are served all day, and fresh lobster crowns the impressive seafood tower. On the "land" portion of the menu, try the popular alligator or ostrich entrees, which we hear are a lighter meat option.
The earthy-crunchy presence near Wrigley Field, this longtime go-to for wholesome brunch, local artwork and live folksy music also boasts the first certified organic brewery in Illinois in an adjacent facility, serving up its suds through taps directly to the restaurant. Dinners include creative cocktails, and entrees like organic chicken and butternut squash ravioli.
Nearly every weekend night, live concerts rock this spacious, multi-level bar within home-run's distance from Wrigley. During games, watch on the 75 plasma TVs or come by after to join the rowdy crowd for a post-game concert. Dining options start with appetizers of greasy goodness like wings, fried pickles and mini corn dogs; mains focus on crowd faves like hot dogs, brats, Italian beef, mac and cheese, and the "world famous garlic fries."
East of Wrigley in Boystown is this sweet red-sauce Italian trattoria oozing with romance—white tablecloths, linen napkins, that sort of thing. Not the sort of thing that we'd think of in Cubs territory, which is exactly why we love it.
Tac Quick Thai Kitchen
This Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Thai restaurant is right off the Red Line Sheridan stop on the El and easily walkable to Wrigley. It's BYOB, so it's worth a stop at the nearby liquor store for a bottle. There's the main menu with standards like panang curry and pad see ew and, for adventurous diners, there's the "secret menu."
Southport Grocery and Cafe
Only open for breakfast and lunch—bread pudding pancakes, chorizo eggs, turkey and bacon club and cute kids meals—this charming Southport Avenue spot works perfectly when it's a day game. Why not get a famous vanilla cupcake to go while you walk the four blocks to the stadium.
A bit out of the Clark Street fray that engulfs the area right around Wrigley, Coalfire is all about the pizza, not of the deep-dish Chicago style, but of the super-thin and appropriately charred crust kind. Toppings go super-creative with options such as pistachio pesto, sausage, burratta and honey. Expect a wait at prime dining times.
This little BYO dive down the block from Wrigley is popular for takeout and delivery and gets raves for its guac. The no-frills setting means most items are under $10, ordering is at the counter, and it's open into the wee hours for those late-night enchilada cravings.
The Full Shilling Public House
It's Irish. It's a sports bar. It's a quick stumble out the gates of the stadium. The menu's not much—think fried things, burgers and obligatory fish and chips—but the party atmosphere and inexpensive drinks keep 'em coming back. Plus, we like that the pool table is available for free.
During the school year, this Wrigleyville hang is a major Michigan State University bar; during summer, the cheering is for the Cubs—on the 14 HDTVs and two 100-inch HD quad video walls. The hardwood floors, wood bar, brick walls and mason-jar cocktails give it a homey feel; the menu sticks to American standards, slightly elevated from the norm, including housemade sauces on the sandwiches and burgers.
Heating & Cooling (HVAC)
Competing for attention at this bi-level Clark Street spot: the live music, the thin pizza, and the dozens of different types of beer in a can that perfectly complement the motorcycle and rock club decor (The Who posters, motorcycle parts, drum kits that decorate behind the bar). A balcony looks from top to bottom, making for great people-watching.