photo: courtesy of Bridget Cicenia; pictured: Jack Schaller of Schaller's Pump
If you've never visited Sox country
, you need to know one thing: It ain't like Wrigleyville
. The bars land more than a pop-fly distance from the Cell; you can actually park your car outside the stadium; and the shine of the World Series trophy has just started to fade (to be replaced by another one this year?). Whatever happens, it won't keep Sox fans from their favorite pre- and post-game watering holes. Win or lose, we'll get you good 'n' sauced while cheering on the "good guys."
Do you bleed Cubby blue? Check out these bars instead.
This legendary Bridgeport bar, with many Chicago mayors practically making it a second City Hall, steeps with political history. Like a century-old campaign promise (Schaller's has been open since 1881), they'll serve you cheap beer and chow with cheer. The building screams serious Sox territory: A huge mural decorates one side, proclaiming "Welcome White Sox Fans" to the rallying crowds of diehards that pack the place during every game. Inside, nary a mention of the local National League team is uttered, so order a plate of corned beef hash and bask in the revelry of your fellow fan.
Cork & Kerry
We couldn't spew a discussion of Sox bars without mentioning an Irish pub. This Irish-to-the-core Beverly bar hides pure black-and-white baseball beneath its green veneer. And even though you'll have to trek a fair distance from the park, its promise of a warm, wood-paneled interior, beautiful beer garden and TVs broadcasting the Sox makes it worth the haul. For your trouble, you'll score $7.50 buckets of five domestic beers on Tuesday and Sunday, draft beers like Guinness, Harp, Bass and Smithwicks and access to one of the area's largest selections of Irish whiskey. If you need another reason to go, we strongly suggest you reconsider your affiliation.
Another old-school Bridgeport boozer, Shinnick's takes fanaticism so far it posts a White Sox tribute on its website. If you want to view clips of the stadium opener or a three-minute film covering the tavern's World Series insanity, shinnicks.com covers it. Alas, if you want a drink, you'll have to stop by in person. Family-run for three generations, the pub's solid offerings include barbecue eats and baggo (AKA beanbags, cornhole or whatever you want to call it). Bottles cost $2.50, and don't expect fancy-pants specials or quality brews. With liquor setting you back no more than $4, what else could you need? Perhaps, some change for the jukebox. We're willing to bet it stocks Journey's "Don't Stop Believin."
Seven Ten Lounge
This Lincoln Park bowling outpost hints at being a tried-and-true Sox bar in its description of upcoming events: "During all the White Sox Games and St. Louis Cardinal games, we show all games at all times on the MLB package!" Notice the gaping hole of coverage where the Cubs should be. Rolling strikes while the struggling Sox try to find the strike zone couldn't be more fun, plus $3 Coors Light and $1 hot dogs and chili dogs during the games will keep you sated. In the off-chance you see a Cubs game playing, track down the interloper who requested it; despite its North Side locale, Seven Ten makes it clear that Cubby blue sits firmly in the minority here.
Legendary Black Sox Joe Jackson can't get into the Hall of Fame after all these years, but at least you can hoist a drink at his namesake bar. It's not a Sox bar, per se, but the owner bleeds black and white, so that's good enough for us. Sure, it sponsors trips to Wrigley and the Cell, and wines by the glass top the drink list rather than brewskies, but we must recognize that not all baseball fans are so segregationist in their sports leanings. Some fans can appreciate fine vintages and teams from both sides of town.
You can work up an appetite watching all this Sox action. Head to a secluded spot right next to the highway (you actually park under the Dan Ryan) for the famous breaded steak sandwich, a meal in itself. If it takes you awhile to finish (and to clean up the red sauce on your fingers), don't worry; the game will be on any of several TVs scattered around the dining room.
Everywhere you look in this small neighborhood bar you'll find reminders of its proximity to U.S. Cellular Field (it's about four blocks away); from the mini pennants and posted schedules to the black and white checkered ceilings, you're sure to feel at home here if you root for the Sox. Daily beer specials abound, and there's the occasional open mic night in case you get the urge to belt out some Journey after a win.
Cobblestones Bar and Grill
Serving a typically older crowd of Sox fans since 1990, Cobblestones brings some New Orleans charm to the South Side via its muffaletta sandwiches, served in a classic bar outfitted in plenty of dark wood. If you're tired of battling traffic, make the bar a part of your game-day experience; come in for a meal or drink before the game and you can park in the adjoining lot (just a short walk to the ballpark) for free.
Kroll's South Loop
The Chicago version of this Green Bay institution (the original is located directly across the street from Lambeau Field) smartly steers away from football. And even though both baseball teams are represented with memorabilia, it's clear from the crowd that the Sox are the main draw. During game time, you'll be able to watch Mark Buehrle and others on the more than 20 flat screens lining the place. Any other time, you might see them in the flesh, enjoying Kroll's burgers and beers. On Opening Day, the bar offers $12 buckets of MGD, MGD 64 and Miller Lite; if you're going to the game, bring your ticket stub in for 10 percent off your tab.
More Opening Day deals:
This small neighborhood bar hosts its annual barbecue at 11 a.m.; grab brats, burgers and more in the backyard before watching the game inside.
Buffalo Wings & Rings (Bridgeport)
WBBM-670 The Score will be broadcasting live from this wingery between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.; if you've got tickets to the game, you can grab a $4 shuttle to the park at 11:30 a.m.
Morgan's Bar and Grill on Maxwell Street
Be one of the first 50 patrons at this confusingly named bar and you'll get a free shuttle ride over to the stadium - or you can just stay and enjoy $12 buckets of Miller Lite and $5 Bacardi cocktails.