Where to watch: a team-by-team guide to Chicago’s NFL bars on Draft Day

By Avinash Chak and Michael Epstein

Chicago is a great sports town, but not just for Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Sox fans. Whether they’re visiting from out of town or are expats who simply miss their hometown, fans of many loyalties can find refuge in the city’s team-affiliated bars, where many of them, no doubt, will be camped out to cheer or jeer the picks of their favorite football franchise during the 2015 NFL Draft. Some places are having special deals and activities for draft night. Others will just provide a friendly environment to watch the proceedings. If you’re looking to grumble or gloat about your team’s picks with people who bleed the same colors as you, visit one of these fan hubs.

AFC

Cincinnati Bengals

Kincade’s Bar & Grill

950 W. Armitage Ave.

Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 348-0010

This upscale sports bar by the Armitage L stop is regularly filled with cries of “who dey” on Sundays during the NFL season. Kincade’s isn’t doing anything for the draft specifically, but the Thursday specials for April are $5 Captain Morgan cocktails, $10 domestic pitchers and 40-cent wings.

Buffalo Bills

Delilah’s

2771 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 472-2771

Hours 4pm-2am (Sunday, Monday-Friday), 4pm-3am (Saturday)

Buffalo fans turn take over this hip music joint during the NFL season, which covers the walls in red and blue for every Bills game, but Delilah’s won’t be holding a special event for the draft this weekend.

Denver Broncos

The Irish Oak

3511 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 935-6669

Hours 5pm-2am (Tuesday-Friday), 11am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2pm (Sunday)

Voted one of the top 10 Irish pubs in the country by MSNBC in 2010 and Fox News in 2013, The Irish Oak welcomes Broncos fans during the NFL season.

Cleveland Browns

Red Ivy

3525 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 472-0900

Hours 5pm-2am (Monday-Wednesday, Friday) 11am-2am (Thursday), 12pm-3am (Saturday), 12pm-2am (Sunday)

This massive one-floor bar by Wrigley Field turns into “Little Cleveland” on game days. Nothing says home to Browns fans like Red Ivy’s Great Lakes Brewing Company offerings and the frequent woofing of the Chi-town Dawg Pound. On draft day, ESPN Cleveland’s “Cleveland Browns Daily” radio show will broadcast live from Red Ivy from 12-2pm. The “Draft Night Watch Party” starting at 6pm will give fans a taste of the Red Ivy game day experience – raffles, trivia contests, and $4 Great Lakes beer.

Kansas City Chiefs

Toons Bar & Grill

3857 N. Southport Ave.

Chicago, IL 60613

(773) 935-1919

Hours 11:30am-2am (Monday-Friday), 11am – 3am (Saturday)

Chicago’s home for the Chiefs hasn’t yet figured out its plans for draft night, but Thursday’s specials regularly include $4.50 well drinks and $3.50 small wings orders.

Indianapolis Colts

Sluggers World Class Sports Bar

3540 N. Clark St.

Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 248-0055

Hours 3pm-2am (Monday-Thursday), 11am-2am (Friday, Sunday), 11am-3am (Saturday)

If Colts fans get bored of watching the draft at this Wrigleyville bar, they can take a few swings in the batting cages.

Sedgwick’s Bar and Grill

1935 N. Sedgwick St.

312.337.7900

Hours: 11:30am-2am (Thursday and Friday), 10am-3am (Saturday), 10am-2am (Sunday)

New England Patriots

Brendan’s Pub

3169 N. Broadway St.

Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 929-2929

Hours 8am-2am (Monday-Friday), 8am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2am (Sunday)

Bostonians have turned the Lakeview East pub into the place to watch the Pats, Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins in Chicago. Brendan’s, however, like most fans of the Super Bowl champions, is not worrying too much about the draft.

Baltimore Ravens

Fizz Bar & Grill

3220 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 348-6088

Hours 5pm-2am (Monday-Friday), 10am-3am (Saturday), 10am-2am (Sunday)

Ravens fans flock to Fizz on game days, but the bar has not yet set up anything special for the draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Durkin’s Tavern

810 W. Diversey Pkwy.

Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 525-2515

Hours 5pm-2am (Monday-Friday), 11am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2am (Sunday)

The Pittsburgh city council recognized Durkin’s as an official Steelers bar in a 2009 proclamation, conferring upon the establishment the title of “Ambassador Plenipotentiary of The Steeler Nation.”

NFC

Philadelphia Eagles

Mad River Bar & Grill

2909 N. Sheffield Ave.

773.935.7500

Hours – 5pm-2am (weekdays), 11-3 (Saturday), 11-2 (Sunday)

It doesn’t take long for Chicago’s Eagles fans to discover Mad River, if only because the Lakeview spot is the one bar where chanting ‘Fly, Eagles Fly’ won’t get them in trouble.

Washington

Maeve

1325 W. Wrightwood Ave

773.388.3333

Hours 4pm-2am (weekdays), 12pm-3am (Saturday), 12pm-2am (Sunday)

Washington fans’ bar of choice, Maeve in Lincoln Park, doesn’t give off a sports bar vibe —they offer $5 Martinis on Thursday nights and have live music on Fridays— but it’s the place DC football fans call home.

Dallas Cowboys

Commonwealth

2000 W. Roscoe Ave. (Roscoe and Damen)

773.697.7965

Hours 11am-2am (weekdays), 10am-3am (Saturday), 10am-2am (Sunday)

Roscoe Village’s upscale tavern Commonwealth draws in the Cowboys’ Chicago fans with upscale “farm-to-table” takes on pub fare.

The official local fan club, the Dallas Cowboy Fans of Chicago,* plans to add to the draft festivities on Thursday night, offering cash and prizes to the visionary who guesses the top 10 picks, plus Dallas’ first-rounder.

http://www.commonwealthchicago.com/

New York Giants

Racine Plumbing

  1. N. Lincoln Ave

773.871.1600

Hours: 5pm-2am (weekdays), 11am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2am (Sunday)

Big Blue’s “official” bastion in Chicago, according to the Chicago New York Football Giants fan club, Racine Plumbing has supported New York sports fans for years. Plus, who can say no to $3 drafts on Thursday night?

Minnesota Vikings

Redmond’s Ale House

3358 N Sheffield Ave (Sheffield and Roscoe)

773.404.2151

Hours: Hours 4pm-2am (weekdays), 11am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2am (Sunday)

Redmond’s in Wrigleyville is the place to be when you plan on wearing purple and gold. (Waiting on a call back from the manager to confirm horn-blowing thing)

Detroit Lions

The Tin Lizzie (seems to be the consensus)

2483 N. Clark St.

(773) 549-1132

Hours: 5pm-2am (weekdays), 11am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2am (Sunday)

While there are “Michigan” bars scattered around the city, Tin Lizzie has risen to the top of the heap as the go-to spot for the city’s Lion’s fans. If Tin Lizzie’s Michigan State leaning rubs you the wrong way, try Duffy’s Tavern in Lakeview, a Big Blue hot spot that shows Detroit sports.

Chicago Bears

NFL Draft Town

Grant Park

Hours: 4-10pm (Thursday-Friday), 10-7 (Saturday)

With the White Sox playing on Thursday and the Bulls and the ‘Hawks potentially still in the playoffs, draft town will be the place for Chicago sports fans looking to talk football in April.

Don’t worry about getting mixed up with the tourists who to route for other teams: Draft Town will have a special sections for each team, so keep Orange and Blue in your eye line will not be a problem. Will it get as rowdy as your favorite spot on a football Sunday? Maybe not, but it will definitely standing shoulder to shoulder with the fans most excited about draft week.

Green Bay Packers

Will’s Northwood Inn

3030 N. Racine

773.528.4400

Hours: Hours 11am-2am (weekdays), 9:30am-3am (Saturday), 9:30am-2am (Sunday)

Surprisingly, (or not) Chicago’s biggest rival also has the widest number of options for draft viewers looking to commune with fellow fans. The most popular option will be Will’s Northwood Inn, a well-known cheesehead hotspot specializing in all things Wisconsin, including beers for Wisconsin fans.

Will’s just happens to be hosting their annual “Packerpalooza” meet-up on Saturday. The event brings in former players, including Frank Winters, Micah Hyde, Mike Daniels and Scott Tolzien. The bar will also organize a raffle and serve “game-time” drink specials.

Atlanta Falcons

Kelsey’s

2265 N. Lincoln Ave. (Lincoln and Clark)

773.348.1666

Hours: 3pm-2am (weekdays), 3pm-3am (Saturday), 3pm-2am (Sunday)

Atlanta Falcons fans who venture to their game day watering hole for the first round Thursday night will get what may be the cheapest deal of any “backer bar,” $1 bottled beers.

New Orleans Saints

The Standard Bar and Grill

1332 N. Milwaukee Ave

773.904.8615

Hours: 5pm-2am (weekdays), 10am-3am (Saturday), 10am-2am (Sunday)

The Saints’ Chicago bar isn’t planning anything special for the draft, but visiting Saints fans might consider dropping by to see where the Chicago chapter of Who Dat Nation spends its Sundays.

Seattle Seahawks

Newport Bar and Grill

1344 W. Newport Ave.

773.325.9111

Hours: 11am-2am (Thursday and Friday), 11am-3am (Saturday), 11am-2am (Sunday)

The Seahawks may not have a first-round pick this year, but that isn’t stopping Newport Bar and Grill, home of the Hawk’s Nest fan club, from trying to bring fans into their third annual draft party with drink specials and a little fanfare. The bar plays most teams’ fight song after each pick, adding a little bit of excitement for everyone, regardless of who you root for.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Cheesie’s Pub & Grub

958 W. Belmont Ave

773.388.1574

Hours: 11am-5am (Thursday-Saturday) 11am-3am (Sunday)

Having a team bar that’s also a popular grilled cheese shop has its pros and cons: On the one hand, the place might not be packed exclusively with sports fans. On the other, the food’s delicious.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Draft Town

Grant Park

Hours: 4-10pm (Thursday-Friday), 10-7 (Saturday)

Unfortunately there are a few teams that don’t seem to have an organized following in Chicago.

The situation for these fans can get pretty bleak. Chicagoans on multiple Panthers forums looking for a home away from home on Sundays were told to check out Buffalo Wild Wings.

Not to worry, though. Draft Town in Grant Park will have sections for each team. With fans potentially coming in from across the country for the event, the draft could become one of the biggest parties these fans see all year!