Two years ago we had a post pondering the best place to watch the Men's NCAA basketball tourney in the Sloop. At the time we said Kroll's was our top spot.
In honor of the tournament and a couple of new options in the neighborhood, we figured we would start an annual "Top 10 Best Spots to Watch Sports in the Sloop" list. Please note that we're not saying these are the best bars/restaurants in the neighborhood, we're simply saying if you're trying to watch sports these are our top spots. Without further ado:
1) Kroll's (1736 S. Michigan) - This spot has been around for a while and hasn't lost any of it's luster. Kroll's has 4 projectors and numerous flat screens coming at your from all angles. All in all Kroll's provides solid food, a warm atmosphere, a good neighborhood vibe and enough screens to ensure you will be able to watch whatever you want.
2) Jimmy Green's (825 S. State) - Relatively new to the Sloop, Jimmy Green's has the most impressive and up-to-date system when it comes to TVs and sound. We've heard criticisms about the crowd (which has been described as touristy) as well as the decor (which is chic & modern). Regardless, if you're out to watch sports this place will have what you're looking for.
3) Flo & Santos (1310 S. Wabash) - A newcomer to the Sloop, this small spot has a lot of character. On the south wall you will find numerous high quality screens that makes this a great place to belly up and enjoy a full day of basketball (or whatever). Some of the best "bar food" in the neighborhood, the one complaint is that it's small and tough to get seats during prime sporting events.
4) Bar Louie (47 W. Polk) - You're probably wondering how could we put a chain in our list. Sorry to disappoint, but true Sloopsters look past the standard stereotypes and see this spot for what it is...a cool historic building with a ton of new flat screens to watch your favorite sporting event.
5) Kasey's Tavern (701 S. Dearborn) - this old school, Printer's Row staple is small but again has plenty of screens and a ton of historical charm. Although they don't have food, you will find a lengthy beer list and ample screens to catch all the buzzer beaters - come early to get a seat though.
6) Wabash Tap (1233 S. Wabash) - This is probably the closest we have to a "dive bar" in the South Loop, but in honesty not sure we would go that far. You pay for what you get at this spot, which is cheap beer, bar games and TVs. They also have popcorn...which is a plus.
7) Villains Bar and Grill ( 649 S. Clark) - Definitely not a sports bar, but Villains Bar & Grill pulls off the dark, alternative vibe while allowing you to enjoy their screens behind the bar. This place has great food, awesome beers and typically isn't packed because it's not the first place you think about when going to watch sports. If you can get a booth by the entrance, you will be glad you came here to watch whatever sport you're looking for.
8) Weather Mark Tavern (1503 S. Michigan) - Sailing and sports don't typically go together, but this nautically themed bar/restaurant has plenty of TVs to choose from. Some of the food is really good and some not so much, but it's a relaxing vibe if you're up for that.
9) Hackney's (733 S. Dearborn) - Known for their excellent food and neighborhood charm, Hackney's does have a bar. Unfortunately the TVs are slightly outdated and the bar area is very small. It's typically super crowded in the bar area, so if you can get a seat it's good, but if not, head somewhere else.
10) Tapas Valencia (1503 S. State) - Tapas and sports?!?! You're probably perplexed and we were too, but one random Friday night we sat at the large bar area at this restaurant and had a great meal and a great sports viewing experience. It won't be crowded, so if you're looking to steer clear of the "sports crowds" give this a shot.
Others considered, but not on our top ten:
South Loop Club - Tons of TVs (some old), but we bad service when we went
Tantrum - Never been...
Buddy Guy's Legends - Go for music, not for sports
Blackie's - Not a bad choice if all the other places are packed
Chicago Firehouse Bar - A classy way to watch sports
La Cantina and/or Zapatista - Guac and Sports sounds good to us
We're cautiously optimistic about the Scout (1301 S. Wabash). It's set to open this spring and judging by previous endeavors from the management group it could crack our top 10.
So what do you think? Disagree? Other suggestions?
(Image from Kroll's)