Where You're Watching: March Madness

Chicago bars ramping up for tournament season

You've studied the field, filled out your bracket, and now the only thing left to do is figure out where to watch the games.

If you're into the group atmosphere, there's countless bars in Chicago offering big-screen TVs, cold brews, and plenty of extra incentives to check out their spot.

  • Purdue fans would be wise to head over to "Hoops and Hops" at Smoke Daddy in Wicker Park. Enjoy food and drink specials and all of the basketball action on three screens. Restaurant owner and former "Purdue Pete" mascot Josh Rutherford will be on hand to lead the Boilermaker cheers.
  • Dunlay's on Clark and Dunlay's on the Square are serving up plenty of hoops action on numerous flat screen TVs. Food and drink specials include a weekend brunch and beer flights.
  • The Four Corners Taverns group, which includes Kirkwood, Schoolyard, Sidebar, Brownstone, West End and Gaslight, are all offering food and drink specials during the games. There will also be giveaways with prizes including iPod Touches, iPod Shuffles, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Snuggies, GPS systems and more.
  • Streeterville's and now Gurnee's Timothy O'Toole's offers 45 televisions and 24 beers on tap. Make sure to check the hot wings, which took first place at the 2009 WingFest. Drink specials are offered every day of the week.
  • Looking for a new spot to catch the game? Sports bars seem to be popping up all over River North. Most of the buzz is centered on Bull & Bear (431 N. Wells St.) and those really cool self-serve taps, Theory (9 W. Hubbard St.) and their private booth TVs, and the just-opened Social Twenty-Five (25 W. Hubbard St.), which took over the old Moda spot but kept the late-night license.
  • Can't focus on just one TV? Stretch Run Sporting Club & Grille has more than 240 for your viewing pleasure. Several food and drink specials are being offered during the tournament. And if your bracket gets busted early, drown your sorrows by betting on the ponies.
  • South Loopers might want to head over to Kroll's (1736 S. Michigan Ave.), which offers the games on four large projection screens. You'll find the requisite food and drink specials, but you can also win prizes like a $100 gift certificate and a Sony Playstation.
  • On April 4th, you can catch the Final Four semis at The Venue at the Horseshoe Casino. The games will be shown on a 53 foot screen plus two larger outer screens. A live band will perform along with the Horseshoe Cheerleaders. And of course, you can gamble, but no sports betting in Indiana! Free shuttle service from downtown Chicago is available.
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