The Wrigleyville Bar Project

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. I'm here to profile some of the local watering holes around Wrigley, so that you aren't the poor sap who gets dragged into going to the Cubby Bear before the game, wherein you are soon left wondering how your life spiraled out of control so quickly. Tommy Buzanis has pledged to help out with this column, as he is no stranger to the bottle, but you can rest assured that those promises are as empty as his shot glass. So here it is, another sparodically timed, mildly entertaining column that you can only find here at the TMS. Actually you can probably find lots of info on Wrigley bars in a much more concise and helpful format, but that's neither here nor there. And so it begins.

Today's Bar: Merkle's, 3516 N. Clark St.

Douchebag Factor (1 - 10, with 10 being this guy): 3

Who You'll See Here: Hawkeye fans, a few misplaced tourists, a table of 'loud talkers', attractive yet approachable waitresses, a guy you went to high school with that got fat, people that didn't want to wait in line at John Barleycorn.

What to order: Chicken tenders, grilled cheese, philly cheese steak, domestic draft beer.

TV and music selection: Mid size flat screens aboud. Music is popular alternative, from The Killers to the Smashing Pumpkins.

Booths or tables? High Tables

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: Tom Arnold, Thom Brenneman or Tom Selleck.

Website: http://www.merkleschicago.com/

Summary: This homey little bar, occupying the space formerly inhabited by the Billy Goat Tavern, serves above average bar food and is small enough to feel comfortable without being cramped. It's clean and dark, two qualities that usually don't go hand in hand when it comes to bars. Nothing about it will knock your dick in the dirt, but who wants that really?

It's a good place to drink before the game and pretend you are in Iowa City, only the former frat guys here are all losing their hair and have guts. Ha ha, look at you! It gets pretty crowded during Iowa games, but during Cubs games you should be able to find a seat. I like to order the grilled cheese and tomato soup and pretend I'm three years old. But then I'm drinking beer too! Naughty three year-old! Naughty!

This is quickly becoming one of my standbys in the area, as I've yet to have a bad experience here. That said, I've just jinxed it. Good people watching if you snag a seat next to the window. A few points shaved off for supporting Iowa and Illinois. I think they added Illinois late, so as to attract people during basketball season. Shame on you Merkle and your boner!

Thunder Matt Rating: 8 emtpy Old Style cans out of a 12 pack.

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