CHICAGO -- There's no taking Wrigley Field out of the neighborhood that cocoons it. They call it Wrigleyville, of course, and despite the fact the Cubs are working to draw a lot of Wrigleyville business within its revenue orbit, the neighborhood is in some ways as identifiable as the ball-yard that's been home to Cubs games since 1916 (back when it was called Weeghman Park).
If you needed any evidence that the streets of Wrigleyville are animated by the Cubs' fortunes, then you certainly got it in the moments and even hours following the hometown team's win over the Dodgers in the NLCS ...
The World Series, though, is an even higher pinnacle, and for the Cubs and their national following it's even more of a seduction. Famously, they haven't won the World Series since some people still called it the "World's Series" -- i.e., way back yonder in 1908 -- and, before Game 1 in Cleveland, hadn't played in the Fall Classic since the autumn of '45. You don't need any imagination at all to imagine that the prospect of the first World Series game in Wrigley Field in 25,951 days has turned Wrigley and environs into a baseball lodestone.
Those not fortunate enough to have tickets to Games 3, 4, and -- if necessary -- 5 at Wrigley Field still desire a tantalizing proximity to history. That's why it's a good time to own a bar in tantalizing proximity to the ballpark at 1060 West Addison Street in Chicago.
Yes, the bars of Wrigleyville are as much a part of Cubs culture as ivy and hot dogs without ketchup and serialized miseries. If we may refer to bars as people, the bars know this, and they know the power of the market right now. As such, watching the game on an oversized TV within a beer-can's throw of the action will cost you. How much?
That's a difficult question to answer. However, Cubs rooter @FullCountTommy has undertaken the rather very holy work of compiling a publicly available spreadsheet with all this necessary information on it. For today's busy executive, here's a 10-bar sampling of what Wrigleyville has to offer for the next three games ...
|Bar|| Distance from Wrigley Field ||What it costs and what you get|
|Sluggers|| 0.3 miles || $100 cover |
|Murphy's Bleachers|| 312 feet || $0 cover |
|Cubby Bear|| 0.3 miles || $100 cover |
|HVAC Pub|| 0.3 miles || $250 for guaranteed entry and four-hour food and beverage package. Additional $1,000 guarantees table during the game plus one bottle of Grey Goose and one bottle of champagne. |
|John Barleycorn|| 0.4 miles || $250 plus service fee for guaranteed entry, one entree, one appetizer, and drinks. Additional $500 guarantees four-top table. Some packages already sold out. |
|Yak-Zies|| 0.2 miles || $25 cover charge plus table for $50 per hour. |
|Nisei Lounge|| 0.3 miles || $0 cover. One-third of the bar reserved for regulars. |
|G Man|| 0.2 miles || $0 cover |
|Country Club|| 0.4 miles || $1,000 for reserved table for five. Additional $100 for express entry before 6:00 p.m. Unreserved tables first come, first served. |
|Old Crow Smokehouse|| 0.4 miles || $225 ($250 for Game 4) for guaranteed entry, one entree, one appetizer, and drinks. Additional $500 guarantees four-top table. All Game 3 and Game 4 packages sold out. |
Those, people, are the going rates. As for those bars charging no cover, the line to get in will start, at the latest, four hours before game time. One of those cover-less taverns, the Nisei Lounge (as profiled in the spring of 2015 by this very scribe), is famously devoted to its Malort- and Old Style-drinking regulars. And while they certainly want to capitalize on the coffer-filling enthusiasm of the moment, they don't do so at the expense of their near-and-dear customers. Here, via the Nisei Faceboook page, is how they're handling it:
So, although this is going to be a giant headache, here's what we're going to do. For Friday 1/3 of the bar is reserved from 3:05pm on for the beloved regulars who have been with us constantly and we're contacting them directly. 1/3 of the bar will be reserved for people on a first come, first served basis with no cover and after 3:05pm 1/3 of the bar is available for a meal package that includes Dimo's Wrigley Pizza, 2 hours of ballpark drinks, guaranteed entry from 3-4pm, a generous tip for our killer staff, and some stuff. We think it's totally crazy that people will pay $150 to stand here for a playoff game but we'll see. Either way it's going to be a historic party at Wrigleyville's oldest bar.
Good on you, Nisei, for taking care of the regulars amid the tumult.
Another notable watering hole not charging admission is Murphy's Bleachers, a Wrigleyville institution. Suffice it to say, the line to get into Murphy's for Game 3 surely will snake and wind its way down the entire 3600 block of Sheffield Avenue. Here, for instance, is what it looked like outside Murphy's during Game 6 of the NLCS ...
Expect a line, expect a wait, expect little room to move inside. But what if you're hellbent on making it inside Murphy's for the historic occasion but can't seem to pull it off? Here's what one enterprising Murphy's-goer told us about secreting his way in during that final game of the NLCS ...
"I hopped the side fence. It's about waist high. I saw others sneaking in the back door from under the L tracks."
Informational purposes only, people.
Another notable is John Barleycorn (you'll note their drink and food packages in the table above). Here's the rub, though ...
Walk through any old thoroughfare in Chicago, and you'll find flying outside the doors of almost every bar the flag of a pro team or a college -- every pro team and pretty much any college of note, whether near or far from Chicago. That flag signifies that fans of team or school can gather there to watch games among the like-minded.
You'll note that the Chi-Town Dog Pound -- advocates of Cleveland Browns football in particular and Cleveland sports in general -- makes its home at John Barleycorn. That the Indians of Cleveland are playing the Cubs in the World Series of course complicated the Pound's viewing of Cleveland sports at a prominent Wrigleyville bar. Something had to give.
"We knew if the Cubs made it there would be no way we could co-habitate with the massive amount of Cub fans in Wrigleyville," Jake Wilkoff, president of the Chi-Town Dog Pound, told CBSSports. "Plus we wanted our own space to celebrate and not be bothered. So they offered us this amazing semi-private venue and last night [Game 1] was amazing."
Here's that venue in question ...
Tunnel's well south of Wrigley, in the Loop, so Cubs fans won't be in Wrigleyville-level abundance there (and some sympathetic White Sox fans may even be wandering about). These Indians fans can watch the game in relative calm while their usual haunt at Barleycorn is stuffed to the rafters with Cubs partisans.
"This was something that I had negotiated earlier this year as part of our deal to have our Browns Backer club at Barleycorn -- that if the Cubs were in the World Series, our club would have a guaranteed space to watch the Browns, or other Cleveland sports," Wilkoff said. "They were the only bar that could offer that to us, and I am glad we planned proactively and that both our teams made it."
Tunnel and Barleycorn are under the same ownership umbrella, so it was a natural transition. Tribe fans watch the game, and Barleycorn makes the most of the opportunity before them.
Speaking of the opportunity before them and other bars in the shadow of the Friendly Confines, if you wish to mingle among the ticketless Wrigleyvillers ("Wrigleyvillains"?), arrive early and perhaps budget ahead of time.