Before Southport became trendy and loaded with bars and boutiques, Justin's stood as the neighborhood's quintessential sports bar, and today, it still abides. Its kickin' beer garden, decent pub food (think sandwiches and wraps) and superb cheese fries attract a twenty-to-thirty-aged local crowd, and its convenient location (just a few blocks from the Southport Brown Line stop) keeps it busy on the weekends and most weeknights. Thankfully, the friendly and efficient wait staff can handle the madness.
While the decor caters to sports fans—dusty sports memorabilia hangs on the walls and big screen TVs play pro and college games—barflies who prefer to avert their eyes from the scoreboard can enjoy a round of darts, Golden Tee or entertain themselves with the well-stocked juke box. The beer list includes 14 on tap, with hard-to-find brews like Double Diamond and Red Wolf.
In the summer, you won't find a better spot to imbibe outside than Justin's beer garden. Almost as large as the main room inside, it offers plenty of shade and a comfortable feel. Though large and small tables, benches and bar stools scatter throughout, on most summer nights, and especially after Cubs games, it's standing room only. A separate alfresco bar serves the garden, which means you won't be holding an empty glass while your waitress treks inside to fill your order.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Beth Dugan