Downtown Old School Sports Bars:
Timothy O'Tooles- One of the original sports bars in downtown chicago. They have dozens of TVs and they show all of the games, even obscure NHL games. Maybe the best sports bar to watch hockey in downtown Chicago. The food is above average bar food and the drink list is good. It can be overly crowded and even have a wait to get in on weekends. It is packed for Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks games. The hosts are a little overzealous about IDs and seating. Corner of Ontario & Fairbanks.
Mother Hubbard's- Lots of TVs and games to play. A place to go in downtown if you want to drink beer and watch the game with a lot of friends in a loud and somewhat dank atmosphere. Hubbard & State.
Jake Melnick's- Several TVs with decent sight lines. It is not a place to go to watch a game no one else wants to see like the above 2. The grub is okay, it has burgers and BBQ options. Good beer list. State & Superior.
Lizzy McNeill's- An Irish pub that has several TVs and shows lots of NFL games. Not for the hardcore sports fan but a locals place to sit, have a beer and watch the game. Below average food. McClurg & the Chicago River.
Fado- An authentic Irish Pub. The best downtown place to watch European soccer. It does not have enough TVs and the sight lines are terrible, but where else are you going to go to watch a Premier League game like Fulham v. QPR? It will be a fun place to watch the World Cup. Okay beer list and Irish food. Grand & Clark.
John Barlecorn- An absolutely cavernous place. Lots of seating on 2 levels and dozens of TVs. The food and drinks are pretty good. It is a tad overprized. The safest place in River North to get a seat for a big game like a Bears playoff game because it is so big. Kinzie & LaSalle
Upscale Sports Bars in Chicago:
A new trend is to make sports bars that are decorated nicely and that have gourmet food.
Howells & Hood- An enormous new sports bar. It is more of a place for the beer lovers who wants to have the game on. They offer 114 beers on tap. The food is a bit upscale for a sports bar. Think tuna tartar and seared scallops. They have a great outdoor space. It will be a good place to sit outside and watch the World Cup. Michigan Ave at the Chicago River.
Sweetwater Tavern- Decorated to look like a lodge. It is nice enough to take a date, one that likes sports of course. The extensive menu has lots of good offerings. Service can be a bit spotty. The patty melt is very tasty. The beer list is fairly strong. TVs can be seen from their large outdoor dining area. Michigan Avenue 2 blocks south of the bridge.
Public House- Part night club part sports bar. It has the best food and beer list, 25 on tap and 103 all total, of any of the sports bars. It is a bit of a see and be seen place. Bear's player can be seen there on occasion. It is a good place to watch the Superbowl in downtown Chicago. State & Kinzie.
Benchmark- If you look past all of the jazzed up bar food and the really nice decor it is all sports bar. It is a good looking place that is a little clubby. On Wells south of North Ave.
Quay- Part sports bar part upscale restaurant. More of a downtown place to have a cocktail rather than a beer. It has more of a club feel than a sports bar feel but it does bring in sports fans and it has good food. Located in North Pier just west of Navy Pier.
Haymarket Pub- A west loop brewery with a great beer selection and lots of televisions.
The Rush and Division Area:
There are many places to watch games in this 2 block area. None of them does anything outstanding so it is easiest to walk around and pick a place that suits your needs.
Dublins- Good salads and real entrees. Not a lot of TVs. An older, local crowd.
Hunt Club- A little nicer than the other places. People will be dressed better.
There are a ton of good places around Wrigley Field. These are covered in the Wrigleyville Guide.
Once again you can go to Addison and Clark and find a place that works for you.
Places to Watch a Game that are not Sports Bars:
Blue Agave- A Mexican place with good food and drinks. It has several TVs and it is always a good time. State and Elm.
Harry Caray's- The one on Navy Pier has lots of TVs, including several outside. It has interesting baseball and other sports memorabilia throughout the place.
Lucky Strike- Yes it is a bowling alley but they have a lot of high quality TVs, nice seating options
and good drinks. It has move of a club rather than sports bar feel.