Sports Bars / Loop Safety

Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 12:31 PM
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Sports Bars / Loop Safety

We're considering a guys trip to Chicago for the Michigan State / Northwestern football game the Friday before Labor Day. We'll arrive early Friday morning and take the train to Evanston for the game at 8:00pm. First question - is it safe to ride the train back to The Loop after the game? It has been a few years since I've been to Chicago and I've heard that certain areas near The Mile and The Loop have gotten a little sketchy at night.

We'll hang around and try to watch football all day on Saturday at sports bars around the city and we'd prefer to hop from one place to another. What are some of the better sports bars to check out?
joshuatwelch is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2021, 05:43 PM
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Any particular reason you are staying in the Loop? There are hotels and sports bars in other neighborhoods in Chicago that would be just as easy (or easier) to get to Evanston for the game. Not that Loop/Michigan Avenue isn't safe.
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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by laurie_ann View Post
Any particular reason you are staying in the Loop? There are hotels and sports bars in other neighborhoods in Chicago that would be just as easy (or easier) to get to Evanston for the game. Not that Loop/Michigan Avenue isn't safe.
No particular reason. In the past, I've enjoyed being close to the Riverwalk and the other guys have never been downtown. We don't have anything booked and I was also looking in Streeterville/River North. Doesn't necessarily have to be The Loop - just that general area.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 06:52 AM
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Hi, Joshuatwelch.

To train to Evanston, you'll be taking the purple line, so would be good to be nearish that line. The (2) stations that I'd focus on are Merchandise Mart and Belmont. The Loop just feels empty and sketchy at night, unless you're nearish Wacker and Michigan. And on summer weekends, too late out, you're dealing with a partying tourist and teenager element that is irritating. (Not lumping you and your friends in that group, but I imagine you understand there'll be some college-age drinkers who might not know their limits.) Don't be too concerned, as Labor Day weekend will be bustling. (If you mean the weekend of Aug. 27, you might look closer at Wrigleyville area. More below...)

RE: Merchandise Mart
There are several bars on Kinzie and Hubbard that cater to sports fans, and just regular bars. You might stay anywhere in River North in proximity, and then walk to Merchandise Mart for the purple train.
If you don't have patience for the crowds, you might want to look at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap. It's nearer Chicago Ave., but should be more sedate. https://www.jakemelnicks.com/
Did you mean to write... 'prefer NOT to hop around'...? Because if you just want to stay in one place, Jake's might be a good place for you. If you want to hop around, Kinzie and Hubbard streets would be more the thing.

RE: Belmont/Purple Line and area hotels/sports bars (Wrigleyville)
I was going to recco the Wrigleyville area but the Cubs are home that Labor Day weekend (afternoon games), so that might be a pain with the crowds, but maybe not if you enjoy that atmosphere. There's loads of sports bars all up and down that stretch of north Clark street. The roads don't close to traffic, but it almost feels like they should as many people are in that area. You may want to give a couple bars/restaurants a call and ask if they'll also be showing football as well as baseball games. A lot of them are larger venues, so might have both. Also, some cool-looking hotels right by Wrigley Field. Also, there's a Best Western Hawthorne Terrace that might be an option--though a farther walk/cab ride from Belmont station. That Best Western looks old-fashioned, but that is a young, vibrant neighborhood, so don't be put off by the Best Western courtyard.

If looking at weekend BEFORE Labor Day weekend, this location becomes even more attractive, IMO.

But if looking to take the purple line from Belmont, just keep in mind you have a longish walk. It would be about 1.5-2 miles, but if walking on Belmont/Clark/Broadway, there's restaurants/businesses all up and down the way, so you shouldn't feel bored, or anything. I walk them all the time easily (as a woman), and don't feel unsafe and weary, but I didn't know if your whole group can walk those distances.
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Old Jul 28th, 2021, 07:00 AM
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Also, RE: Purple Line train safety
I think this train is safe, and will have a lot of traffic after your game, so should be even better. It's really the green/blue/pink trains, and the red lines south of the loop, where you hear of the really bad things happening, like assaults and shootings leaving the stations. Between the loop and Evanston, I wouldn't be afraid. Just the usual vigilance needed, and the regular unpleasantness, like the mentally ill and perhaps homeless/panhandlers who might share the train with you.
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