Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #3 – Harry Caray’s tavern

21 06 2014

A couple of things – this is only the third “Saturday Suds” that I’ve done which is based on a venue (i.e. – a drinking establishment).  I’ve done about 50 posts about specific beers.  Second, this isn’t really a bar that’s close to a Major League park.  It used to be!  There was a Harry Caray’s Tavern on the Southeast corner of Sheffield and Addison, in a spot now occupied by O’Malley’s Liquor Kitchen.  It closed in late 2010.  The one I went to recently is at Navy Pier.

Regardless of being close to the park or not – I’m really looking for the baseball connection.  As a tavern bearing the name of the famous Cubs/White Sox and Cardinals broadcaster – this one sure has it.

Establishment:  Harry Caray’s Tavern

Ballpark:  Wrigley Field in Chicago

Location: 700 E. Grand Ave. (about 5 miles from Wrigley)

Harry Carays Tavern front

Beers served:  A good, but not great selection.  About a dozen beers on draft, with an emphasis on local Goose Island beers.  They also have about 25 bottles.  Caray was a simple beer drinker – a “Bud Man” as the commercial goes.  You can most certainly find Anheuser Busch products.  If you’re looking for anything different, I’d suggest their cocktails over the beer selection.  If you’re looking for a few of the American big 3 – you’re in luck here.

I did see the Big Hurt beer on the menu when we went; Caray’s tavern was the first place I had ever heard of the beer with Frank Thomas’s backing.

Menu (if applicable): Basic, standard bar food.  Burgers, appetizers, sandwiches, and pizza.  I had their wings when I went there a year ago, and wasn’t impressed.  When we went last month, my wife’s parents both got a chicken sandwich, she got a pulled pork sandwich, and they had similar impressions as me.  I got a burger this time around, and I thought it was actually pretty good.  Look – you should know what you’re getting when you come here.  It’s a fairly simple menu in a huge tourist area of Chicago.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   YES to the baseball theme – it bears the name of Harry Caray, of course!  And it’s got a ton of Chicago memorabilia with a focus on baseball items. No to the 2nd question, however!  Like I said – there used to be a Harry Caray’s near Wrigley, but it closed in 2010.

Description:  Like I said – take this place for what it’s worth.  A decent place on Navy Pier to take a load off and grab a bite.  But if you want the best tavern food in Chicago – well, that’s somewhere else. The memorabilia is the coolest thing about the place.  It actually has an overall sports theme, and there are a number of famous folks who have invested in the Harry Caray restaurants who have contributed.  You can see pictures of Caray and other famous folk all throughout, but the coolest thing is the mini-museum in the middle.  There are numerous autographed baseballs, some jerseys, gloves and even some memorabilia from the movie Ghostbusters!  The shining centerpiece is the famed “Bartman ball” from the 2003 NLCS game 6 loss.  The ball was actually purchased by the ownership group.  It was then blown to smithereens by a fire started by Caray’s old glasses, mixed in with a pasta sauce and served to anyone who wanted to help “break the curse”.

Bartman Ball

The remnants, or the parts that weren’t devoured by anxious Cub fans, sit in the middle of the restaurant.  Hopefully the Billy Goat curse will be broken some day!





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