I'd recommend Guthrie's for the casual atmosphere and quality beer selection alone, but its enviable selection of board games is the real draw. There's Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy for the eggheads, Risk and Stratego for your bellicose buddies, Boggle and Scrabble for the word freaks, and Candyland for the truly nostalgic. Each trip to Guthrie's is a mental workout and a peek into gaming subculture: The Lakeview spot introduced me to the obscure trivia contest Fact or Crap, Monopoly for dog lovers and conversation starter Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.
On weekday nights, the bar exhibits a friendly, low-key vibe. Even on crowded weekends, Guthrie's feels more manageable than its hip counterparts on nearby Southport and its more muscular neighbors surrounding Wrigley Field. Patrons can choose from around a dozen drafts and specialty beers like Sierra Nevada Seasonal, priced around $3–$5, as they enjoy a few rounds of Taboo or Pictionary to energetic classic rock.
Food should be the last thing on your mind, as Guthrie's slim menu features unremarkable cheese sticks, buffalo wings and frozen pizza. But if you develop a craving, the owners have a bucket full of delivery and takeout menus at the ready, and D'Agostino's satisfying thin crust is only a half-hour wait and a block away.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Justin Sondak