Freshly laundered Urlacher jersey? Check. Insatiable craving for bloody marys and early-morning beers? Check and check. Sounds like you're ready for Bears season to begin. Local bars are pulling out all the stops when it comes to game day entertainment this season, from one-buck mimosas to all-you-can-eat brunches to ticket giveaways. Here's how to make the most out of Bears football-watching on Sundays.
FOR BEER DRINKERS SICK OF BUCKET SPECIALS
A pizzeria chain might be the last place you'd expect to see a decent craft brew lineup , but recently revamped Gino's East Sports Bar (521 S. Dearborn St. 312-939-1818) is the perfect post-game hangout for Bears fans craving local beer rather than the standard bucket o' bottles. Picks from 5 Rabbit, Flossmoor Station, Metropolitan and Two Brothers are on draft, and Revolution Brewery drafts are $4 on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
FOR FANS SEEKING A FREE RIDE
Meet the crew at South Loop bar Cactus Bar & Grill (404 S. Wells St. 312-922-3830) to hop a free shuttle to Soldier Field on home game days. The bus runs start 90 minutes before kickoff and then return to the bar for 60 minutes after the game's end. Gear up before you go with $5 bloody marys or kick back after with $5 appetizers after 5 p.m.
FOR FREEBIE FIENDS
Listen up for ticket and tailgate package giveaways during Bears games at Bull & Bear (431 N. Wells St. 312-527-5973). The River North sport hub also has super-sized its drink specials: Sip $5 22-ounce drafts of Stella Artois, Bud Light, Hoegaarden and Goose Island 312 or Green Line. Gametime cocktails such as the Free Agent (organic vodka, mint, lime juice and lemon-lime soda) get the same 22-ounce treatment for $6.
FOR GAME DAY BRUNCHERS
South Loop bar Jimmy Green's (825 S. State St. 312-386-9000) serves a $7.95 brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with choices such as a breakfast burrito or sausage, peppers and eggs. Jumbo bloody marys ($7) are garnished with a skewer that is almost a meal in itself: salami, provolone, pepperoncini, pickles, green olives and celery.
FOR FRUGAL FANS
Hungry sports fans can eat their money's worth at the $11.95 all-you-can-eat brunch buffet at West Town pub Mahoney's (551 N. Ogden Ave. 312-733-2121). Mimosas will set you back just $1 a pop, while $4 buys you a trip to the build-your-own bloody mary bar. If you prefer to start a little bit harder, $4 Jameson shots or cocktails and $5 bombs also are on special.
5 bars within 5 blocks of Soldier Field
Weathermark Tavern (1503 S. Michigan Ave. 312-588-0230)
Wabash Tap (1233 S. Wabash Ave. 312-360-9488)
City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan Ave. 312-663-1278)
The Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen (1301 S. Wabash Ave. 312-705-0595)
Square One (1400 S. Michigan Ave. 312-786-1750)
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