Chicago

Where to Watch the Tokyo Olympics in Chicago

One nation. One team. Many, many bars.

Got a hankering for breakdancing? Can’t bear to go through life without a little badminton? Looking to find out whatever the hell “artistic swimming” is? Do you ride or die for Team USA’s BMX freestyle squad? If you answered “yes” to any of the above rhetorical questions, the 2020 (AKA 2021) Summer Olympics has your back. Having had to wait an extra year to catch a glimpse of the podium, here are 11 can’t-miss spots in Chicago to get your Olympics fix. (Pro tip: Call ahead to see what events your bar of choice is planning to screen, as many run concurrently.)

Fatpour Tap Works

Wicker Park
This Wicker Park brew emporium is embracing the Olympic spirit like never before by transforming itself into a mini Olympic Village throughout the 2020 games. It’s got everything: A sidewalk rings display, flags from each participating country, a fake Olympic torch, internationally inspired pizzas topped with curious additions like sauerkraut and red potatoes, DJ sets, a curling tournament in July, themed cocktails, giveaways, contests, and, oh yeah, TVs screening the actual games themselves. Dust off that throwback Mia Hamm jersey and swing by for a free soft opening party on the 21st then cop tickets to the official Opening Ceremonies bash on the 23rd for the ultimate fanboy experience.
How to book: Reserve via Yelp, register for the free soft opening and purchase event tickets via Eventbrite.

Cleo’s

West Town
This A-plus neighborhood hang doubles as one of the city’s top international soccer bars, which translates nicely into cozy 2021 Olympics action lighting up the selection of indoor and outdoor TVs. Unlike more traditional airline hangar-sized hot wings emporiums, Cleo’s is populated by a cool crowd of regulars and an understated divey vibe that should make for a real sleeper hit during this year’s Tokyo games. The beer list is strong, the booze is legit, and as for food, they’re known for their pizza and burgers, but no one ever said no to a Bavarian style pretzel.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Fifty/50

Wicker Park
Wicker Park sports bar powerhouse is lining things up for a fun-filled two weeks of Olympic action this summer. Best known for slinging some of the finest wings in all of the land, this well respected purveyor of televised sports will make you feel at ease with homestyle delights like cheddar waffle fries, deep fried cheese curds, and a variety of sandwiches from Philly cheesesteak to Nashville hot. The vibe is lively and the crowd is never afraid to get into it.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Old Town Pour House

Old Town
What spot has 107-inch TVs, 90+ beers on tap, and enough rich mahogany to conjure up images of a flag-draped Ron Burgundy? This longtime Old Town original, stocked with high-end eats from filet mignon sliders to smoked barbecue platters to pair with one of the city’s biggest beer lists as well as a standout selection of cocktails including Kentucky mules and cucumber mint martinis. The place is popular, so plan accordingly.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Benchmark

River North
This sports-centric hangout from Four Corners is all about chillin’ with friends and watching various sporting face-offs, which is all you can really ask for in an Olympics bar. The food ranges from American staples like pizza and burgers to dishes that’ll get you that much closer to Tokyo such as ahi tuna and Korean skirt steak bowls. For booze, they have everything you need from craft beers to Old Fashioneds—including a large-format concoction called Giggle Juice served in a fishbowl.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.

Moonlighter

Logan Square
Do hipsters like the Olympics? Find out at this dimly lit Logan Square standby complete with the requisite amount of TVs to pair with one of the top outdoor patios in the city for a little fresh air respite during commercials (of which there will be many.) Peep cool new Olympic sports like surfing and skateboarding as you explore a small but reputable menu of pub fare, bottled cocktails, and canned craft brews. Don’t worry—if your team starts to crumble, you can always order an extra side of beer cheese.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

WestEnd

West Loop
The cavernous Bulls and Blackhawks bar located a stone’s throw from the United Center is never short on sports, making it a fantastic place to post up and catch up on the long five years between Olympic rings this year. The food action ranges from mini burgers with (yes) Merkts cheddar to tin can nachos, an excellent meal to pair with a hangover-crushing banana painkiller or hangover-inducing Jameson pickle back shot. The choice is yours.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms.

Pony Inn

Lakeview
While it’s been over a decade since the Blackhawks players stormed into this boozy Lakeview favorite to show off their Stanley Cup hardware, the Pony continues to win over its loyal following with a no-fuss sporting arsenal powered by plasma TVs and booths equipped with individual flatscreens. Eats range from the reliably predictable to the more inventive, with double black Angus beef burgers and tater tots sharing the stage with Nutella poppers and oyster mushroom tacos.
How to book: Reserve online.

Lottie’s
Lottie’s | Photo by Meghan Leigh Photography

Lottie’s

Bucktown
Made famous for its lead role as firefighter hangout Molly’s Pub in Chicago Fire, Lottie’s has been a neighborhood gem since opening back in 1934 on the corner of Cortland and Winchester. Many years and many bad decisions later, Lottie’s is still keeping the vibe loose and festive with burgers named after Chicago-themed TV shows, homemade chili, and a bevy of booze to satiate all thirsty comers. Oh, and sports, lots and lots of televised sports.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Sluggers

Wrigleyville
Long beloved as a bleary-eyed stop for the staggering post-Wrigley crowd, this old-school Chicago classic is equally worthy of a stopover for watching some Olympic baseball (yes, that is a thing this year.) Also a thing here? 30+ TVs and batting cages to explore alongside basic pub fare ranging from Chicago dogs to spicy pickle fries. There’s also dueling pianos after Cubs home games, which could get interesting.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

The Globe Pub

North Center
One of Chicago’s top international sports bars may be best known for soccer, but 30 TVs and 45 draft lines make it an ideal spot for stopping in to catch an Olympic-sized buzz. The vibe is friendly and laid-back with an interesting cast of characters from all over the “globe,” alongside a menu leaning towards British staples like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and shepherd’s pie.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Jay Gentile is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in travel, food & drink, culture, events and entertainment stories. In addition to Thrillist, you can find his work in The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN Travel, Chicago Tribune, Lonely Planet, VICE, Outside Magazine and more. Follow @thejaygentile
Our Newsletter
Become a Local Insider in Chicago
Get our expert guides to your new favorite city.
By Signing Up, I Agree to the Terms and Privacy Policy.