The best four years of your life may have passed, but who’s to say you can’t time-travel for a night back to your college glory days? Astrophysicists? Pshht! Okay, maybe so, but every once in awhile we all need a break and what better way to relax than letting yourself drift back to college. Besides, people go out to bars all the time hoping to find that carefree attitude and irrational love of sports they left behind at school. So look no further than these bars in Chicago where releasing your inhibitions is encouraged and college sports stand paramount to everything. There are plenty of things to do in Chicago, but few more liberating and fulfilling for reliving your college years than visiting one of these three bars:
Kirkwood Bar & Grill on Sheffield Avenue in Lakeview brings the stereotypes of a Big Ten bar to life. It’s everything you would expect from an Indiana bar transplanted to the Windy City. Based off of, and under the same ownership as, Kilroy’s on Kirkwood – the most popular Indiana University bar and arguably the most famous Big Ten bar there is – Kirkwood is decked out in IU memorabilia and filled with alums. The beer garden is the highlight of the venue, hosting events like the Tour de Franzia and the Polar Bear Party when it’s not packed with young adults sharing fishbowls and ripping shots.
Despite the array of things to do in Chicago, the city is arguably most well-known for being the king of sports bars and essentially the HQ of Big Ten country doesn’t mean transplants miss out on the reminiscing. People Roll Tide week in and week out at the Houndstooth Saloon on Clark Street in Lakeview. Named after legendary coach Bear Bryant and rightfully dedicated to the Crimson Tide football team, Houndstooth brings as much southern college flavor to Chicago as possible. With country music taking a backseat to only Nick Saban and his boys, the perpetually packed three-room bar is especially raucous on Thursdays for Country Night and anytime Bama has a game.
Joe’s Bar, one of the largest bars in Chicago, is filled with TVs, serious sports fans and gamblers, college students, and people who really wish they were still in college. Owned by a University of Illinois alumnus, Joe’s officially supports many colleges from USC to Michigan to Florida to Oklahoma. With a capacity of 1,500 people, Joe’s is a college bar on steroids in that the floor seems to always have the classic inch or so puddle of various alcoholic beverages that no one seems to notice. When the TVs are not abuzz with sports games and events, which is rare, Joe’s features live music from local bands, as well as a chance to escape the madness in their outdoor beer garden.