I must be getting old. That’s the only way I can justify the fact that, as a lifelong, die-hard Cubs fan, I found myself irritable and cranky as I walked through the crowds in Wrigleyville before the game last night. I guess the years of disappointment and loss have not been kind to my tolerance of overly excited large crowds and high-priced Old Style.
I’d decided to head out to soak in some of the playoff atmosphere and find a place to watch the game among like-minded fans around the ballpark. But after grumbling at the site of Ronny Woo Woo (why is he so famous?), and groaning at the site of some fan’s novelty haircut and seething as I waded through crowds of depressingly optimistic Cubs fans, I realized why I was acting like a angry old woman: I was stone cold sober.
Silly me. I knew better than to head into the baby bear’s den without a head full of hope and belly full of beer. But this situation needed to be remedied…fast. And in my state of mind, I was no shape for the Wrigleyville mainstays of Murphy’s Bleachers, The Cubby Bear, or even Sluggers, leaving me with very few options. Luckily, the bar chose me.
“Cold beer here!” said a voice in front of me.
No. Way. A beer man on the street?? Suddenly, everything was coming up Justin.
“I’ll…take…a…beer?” I responded apprehensively.
“Sure thing, right down there,” he said pointing to a basement door with a neon Miller sign that read, “Bar Open.”
Now normally, I’m not one to put myself in a situation where I think I might be murdered. And frankly, in my mind, strange basements are typically a hotbed for that sort of thing. But with with Def Leppard’s hit “Pour Some Sugar on Me” blaring through the door and a sign that read “$5 domestic cans”, I couldn’t help myself.
What I saw after walking through that door can only be described as magical: TV’s as far as the eye can see, a large, easily accessibly bar, room to move around, yet still crowded enough to be fun…and the best part: $3 hot dogs and $5 domestic cans ($0.50 cheaper than most of its competitors).
I’d found a bar I thought to only be a Wrigelyville urban legend: DugOut Sports Bar & Grill. Located at 950 W. Addison St., Suite B (read: between an ATM machine and a ticket reseller), DugOut is one of the best kept secrets in Wrigleyville. Aesthetically it resembles the bar in your parent’s basement. Socially it’s much less pathetic. It’s a good mixture of true-blue Cubs fans who actually watch every single pitch, and the hangers-on and bandwagoners that help lift the true-blue fan’s spirits with their naive optimism.
So as I feasted on a $3 hot dog and the old woman in me retreated back from whence she came, I marveled at the fact that win or lose, I’d found my new gameday hangout.