And just what are the components of the ultimate game-day desto? Viewing pleasure (as in, televisions bigger than yours), serious libations, good eats, and a crowd that makes for one heck of a cheering section. Oh, and we love a place that throws in a deal or two in honor of the sport. Here are five of our fave spots, but we'd love to hear yours! We are team players, after all.
Starting with the most obvious of picks, we like Ditka's for Sunday games — mainly for its yummy à la carte brunch, featuring dishes like crab cake eggs Benedict and a chocolate-chip waffle that takes us back to our youth. Because no game would be complete without a libation or two, go for one of the eye-opening Bloody Marys. In fact, you may not care who wins after having one...just kidding.
Mike Ditka's, 100 East Chestnut Street (between Ernst Court and Michigan Avenue); 312-587-8989.
Gamekeepers Tavern And Grill
Deal alert! We're talking $5 Smirnoff Bloody Marys and bombs on Sundays and $7 Bud pitchers paired with $1 (that's right) tacos and mini Angus burgers on Mondays. If you're into the game, you'll love the fact that there are over 40 flat-screen televisions and three big screens. If you could care less, there's always Scrabble.
Gamekeepers Tavern And Grill, 1971 North Lincoln Avenue (between Ogden and Armitage Avenue); 773-549-0400.
Cactus Bar And Grill
Okay, so this trader popular bar is just a little obsessed with football. If you happen to be headed to a home game, take advantage of the free parking and a free shuttle to Soldier Field — after you pregame, of course. For the rest of you, there are two 10-foot projection screens and 42-inch plasma screens, so you won't miss one pass. And to keep you as satisfied as a tailgater, there are $5 half-pound burger and fries, $18 Corona buckets, and $5 Bloody Marys or 20-ounce stadium-sized drafts. $18 Corona/Corona Light buckets, $5 20oz stadium drafts, $5 Bloody Marys, and $5 half-pound burger and fries.
Cactus Bar And Grill, 404 South Wells Street (between Van Buren Street and Congress Parkway); 312-922-3830.
Sure, we love Market as a warm-weather desto for a cool sipper, but it's also great for some game-time fun. On Sundays, there's a killer $19 Bears barbecue, which includes a beer and your choice of two meats and two sides. Just in the mood to sip down some suds? The popular West Loop bar offers $4 Bud Light drafts or $14 pitchers for you and (hopefully) your peeps to share.
Market, 1113 West Randolph Street (at May Street); 312-929-4787.
Every Sunday NFL game day at The Boundary is like a party, complete with drink specials, incredible Bloody Mary and mimosa bars, raffles for party deck tickets, Bears goodies, and more. Don't worry, Monday night watchers — there are plenty of discounted drinkies and bar eats for you, too.
The Boundary, 1932 West Division Street (between Damen and Winchester Avenue); 773-278-1919.
Photo: Courtesy of Market