Patios, pizza, masks and more: Suburban sports bars tweak playbooks for fall sports
Many Americans first began to wake up to the threat of COVID-19 when the NBA indefinitely suspended its season on March 11 after a player tested positive for the virus. Since then, the pandemic has fundamentally transformed the way we live, work and watch sports.
As October begins, however, sports fans have plenty of pro teams to cheer on.
The delayed basketball season means the playoffs are happening at the same time as MLB's postseason action as well as football season. And local sports bars are balancing social distancing requirements with the desire to welcome customers looking to get out of the house and catch a game. If you're not ready for that, they also provide carryout specials so you can have your watch party at home.
We've put together a look at a few places that are offering specials and other activities to give sports fans a little taste of normalcy. State restrictions on mask-wearing, group size and capacity remain in effect, so call ahead to ensure that there's space available before heading out and to find out about outdoor dining options.
Chicago Loop Sports Bar & Grill
7 W. Streamwood Blvd., Streamwood, (630) 830-2565 or chicago-loop.com
Outdoor dining is open until 9:30 p.m. at the Streamwood bar, which offers a free halftime buffet and jersey raffles when the Bears play. They also sell hand sanitizer if you're still having a hard time finding it in stores and they offer margaritas and mimosas to go if you feel safer celebrating at home.
152 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village, (847) 956-1818 or dacoachs.com
Sit inside or on the covered patio while taking advantage of a Playoff Pizza special offering a 12-inch pie for $9.99 plus the cost of added ingredients, a 20% discount from the regular price. Daily specials include $4 craft drafts on Thursdays, $5 Long Island iced teas on Fridays, and $6 jumbo Bloody Marys and Mai Tais on the weekend. Masks are required to enter.
912 S. Busse Road, Mount Prospect, (847) 290-9000 or draftpicksmtprospect.com
Watch your favorite NFL team inside the bar or on the patio while enjoying $5 Bloody Marys, $4 mimosas and $2 burgers on Sundays and half-price pizzas, $4 draft beer and $14 domestic buckets on Mondays. On Monday you can also play free bingo for prizes.
Finn McCool's Irish Sports Pub
1941 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg, (847) 303-5100 or finnmccoolschicago.com/schaumburg
Dine inside or on the bar's patio while the Bears play and take advantage of gameday specials including a $6 platter of six wings and fries, $1.50 chicken or beef tacos, $4 14-ounce craft drafts, $5 Svedka Bloody Marys with a light beer chaser, and $10 buckets of four domestic bottles.
778 N. Route 59, Aurora, (630) 332-8574; 455 Butterfield Road, Lombard, (630) 241-3371; and 1300 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, (847) 598-1090; millersalehouse.com
The chain is offering a special combo menu throughout football season that includes a cheeseburger, fries and a pint of Miller Lite for $10.95, and 10 wings and a Miller Lite for $13.95. The Tailgater, a half-rack of ribs, an order of the restaurant's signature Zingers (chicken fingers tossed in sauce), coleslaw and a choice of side, is available for dine-in or take home on game days for $16.95.
Miller's has taken a variety of precautions to help keep diners and employees safe including adding service indicator signs that you can put up when you want someone to come to your table so you can ensure you're masked when servers arrive. There are no indoor waits -- you'll get a text message when your table is ready -- and there are marked routes taking you to the bathrooms so you won't be too close to other diners.
3200 Kirchoff Road, Rolling Meadows, (224) 347-2916 or repsplace.com
The bar is teaming up with the Rolling Meadows Park District for a party in the parking lot from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, when you can watch the Bears take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a jumbotron. Bring a chair to the socially distanced bash, which kicks off with live music from The Donner Brothers from 5-7 p.m. and includes a half-time raffle, prizes and giveaways.
Tap House Grill
56 W. Wilson St., Palatine, (847) 934-3000, and 3341 W. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 443-1664, taphousegrills.com
Pick up a tailgate party pack for carryout Sundays and Mondays throughout football season, choosing from a $50 package including 40 wings, 15 pretzels, cheese curds, guacamole, and chips and salsa, or a $100 combo with 75 wings, 25 pretzels and bruschetta along with the other appetizers. You can also add a six-pack of beer or a growler for $15. Preorders are appreciated; no substitutions are allowed.