My husband and I were really excited as we counted down the days before our trip up to Wrigleyville. Game 4 of the World Series was going to be played, pitting the Chicago Cubs against the Cleveland Indians. Both teams have long droughts of non-appearance in the Fall Classic hanging over their heads. The night before we drove up, we called our friends to ask what time to meet. New developments with the area bars in Wrigleyville were going to affect our arrival time. Why? Because the majority of bar owners had taken it upon themselves to jack up their cover charges to unprecedented amounts. Some establishments planned on gouging loyal fans thousands of dollars to reserve tables and then, on top of that, charging astronomical cover charge fees. What a horrendous way to treat the most loyal fans in baseball. Murphy’s Bleachers, a well-known bar, was promising to not have a cover charge but warned fans about long lines. This is why we wanted to meet up as soon as possible. Well, it was all for naught, as Murphy’s was forced to reverse their no cover promise on Saturday, October 29th, Game 4. The city ordinance committee ordered them to keep patrons off their outdoor patio. Due to this unforeseen decree, the bar, in an effort to make up for lost profit because of a shrunken serving area, reversed their no cover charge policy from zero dollars per person to $100.00 per person. When we met up with our good friends around noon, they were standing in line to get inside. God knows how long our wait would have been if we had remained in line twiddling our thumbs and holding our bladders. We looked at each other and decided that was not how we wanted to spend our trip to the city. So off we went in search of a more reasonably priced bar. The first one we hit only had a cover charge of $10.00 but it was small, did not serve in-house food, and only had a few TV’s. It was time for lunch! Luckily we walked right past Big G’s pizza on N. Clark St. and had some delicious thin crust pizza! Amazingly, it wasn’t even crowded yet. Don’t forget to try them out the next time you go to Wrigleyville! You’ll get a kick out of their handwritten menu:
After we finished lunch we wanted to try to stake out a spot at another bar without having to pay an arm and a leg. Some locals told us to try Yak-Zies which was close by. Two huge men outside the front entrance were selling admission wristbands and told us the cover was only $25 a person. We jumped on it. They told us we would be able to come and go with the wristbands. Yak-Zies is a beautiful establishment. The patio beer garden is nice and inside the main bar is divided into several dining/drinking areas with lots of wooden décor, numerous overhead TV’s and some beautiful, framed photographs of the city, Wrigley Field and famous players/managers, etc. The place was already super crowded. We ordered a couple of rounds of beer and stood around in closely packed groups of fans looking for a table. There weren’t any. This was about seven hours before the game would start. We stayed there for an hour waiting for a table but no one budged. Once again, we made the decision to chill for a few hours at our Air Bnb host location so we wouldn’t have to stand for an eternity. When we returned to Yak-Zies around 5, it was even more jam-packed. We ordered another round of beer. Additional people were admitted into the bar. Less space was available to stand. All of us were gradually forced into a small open space which led to some stairs that went down to the restrooms. When the pregame finally started, we were able to move into an area to watch the game which, as we know, started off well, but ended up being a heartbreaking loss. What was hard to stomach was the service of some of the employees. One male employee rudely told my husband to move out of the way and he was asked, “Just where would that be?” There are no available tables, and your owner has filled the bar over capacity.” That, my fellow Cubs fans, is not how an establishment should do business. I asked a very nice waitress named Michelle, to let the owner know that I would like to speak with him. He came up to me about an hour later and acted very non-sympathetic to the way his employee spoke to my husband. I guess he didn’t think that manners are paramount when you own a business. Too bad the fire marshal came in shortly after that and suspended all alcohol sales. This was after more and more and more people were allowed to enter the bar, creating a huge safety risk. I’m not going to say that the poor service ruined the night because we still had a great time singing “Go Cubs Go” with all the other faithful fans. However, eating a chicken sandwich with fries while standing was challenging when you’re trying to hold your beer, too!
But, hey! Not everyone in Wrigleyville was a greedy go getter! I want to give a shout out to my Twitter friend Tommy Randell who runs CubParking.com and gave our friends a great deal on parking. Business owners like Tommy are what make Chicago wonderful! Yak-Zies should take a page out of their business etiquette book. When you treat someone right they spread the word and come back!
I was really hoping for a watch party at Wrigley for games 6 and possibly 7 but I guess the cover charge would be $10,000 anyway. Go figure….