Whether you root for the Bulls or the Blackhawks, whether you prefer to fill out your jersey with the help of a burger or wings, whether you believe Jordan was better on the basketball court of the baseball diamond (just kidding), all fans can agree on the excellent pregame dining options around United Center. With a solid array of gastropubs serving go-to game day eats, along with a few more unique dining experiences, the food scene near the arena never fails a hungry fan. Here are the best restaurants within walking distance of United Center.
Billy Goat Tavern
One of the most famous restaurants in Chicago thanks to SNL, the Billy Goat Tavern is an excellent option for fans heading to United Center, mostly because the curse of the billy goat never affected teams on the West Side. The classic cheezborger, served on its customary kaiser roll without lettuce or tomato, satisfies every time. Just be sure to order at least a double, since a single patty gets lost in the roll.
1535 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Proximity to United Center? Check. Officially approved by the Blackhawks? Check. Wings and sliders? Check. Extensive tap list? Check. The Ogden hits all the marks for a sports bar and then some. The place serves some of our favorite pregame foods with extra little touches like a burger with bacon jam or pulled pork sliders with apple slaw on mini brioche buns. Plus, it’s so close to the arena you can leave about two seconds before tip-off.
1659 Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60607
Another official Blackhawks bar, Park Tavern is just a 10-minute walk from the stadium, but if that seems too far during a bitingly cold winter’s eve, the bar also runs a free shuttle to games. The gastropub is big on space and flavor, with dishes like animal tots made with pulled pork, cheese curds, grainy mustard, fried egg, and gravy, and a footlong grilled cheese. On second thought, maybe walking off your meal is a good idea.
1645 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
Like Park Tavern, Kaiser Tiger boasts plenty of lovely outdoor space, a shuttle to the game, and hearty bar eats. Unlike Park Tavern, Kaiser Tiger serves The Bomb, a five-pound heap of beef, pork, bacon, and more bacon all cooked in a smoker for hours and served with fries, buns, pepper jack cheese, onion, lettuce and tomato. It makes a killer DIY burger feast for a group (don’t worry -- there’s a single serve version for solo diners). Go to Park Tavern if you’re with a one other person and you want demolish animal tots on your own. Go to Kaiser Tiger if you want to feed an army of Bulls fans.
1415 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
La Lagartija Taqueria
Shrimp tacos and basketball may not seem like a classic combo, but they become one if enough people wake up to the fantastic crustaceans to be devoured just steps from the Bulls’ home court. The beer-battered shrimp join slaw, habanero-infused ketchup and creamy aioli in a spicy and satisfying taco at La Lagartija Taqueria.
132 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607