Wrigleyville Bar Project: Bernie's

April 17, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

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. We're 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 sporadically 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.

Today's Bar: Bernie's , 3664 N. Clark St.

Douchebag Factor (1-10, with 10 being this guy): 2

Who You'll See Here: Astute Cub fans, young and old, people from Iowa just getting off their tour bus making a beeline to the bathroom.

What to order: What has become a standard pre-game drinking hole for us, all I can honestly recommend is a can of Old Style, since that's all I've ever had there. Important note, if you get there before 10am, the Old Style might be warm since it probably was just put in the cooler for the day. I've seen folks order food before. I can only assume it's your standard bar sandwiches and such.

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: George Wendt, Ron Santo, any TMS bartender. We once saw Billy Corgan walk by the beer garden so I guess that counts.

Website: I couldn't find one. Not even a MySpace. There are reviews on sites like Metromix and CitySearch. Use your keen Google skills to find them.

Summary: Located right next door to Casey Moran's, Bernie's appears a little more low-key than it's synthetic prefabricated neighbor. Maybe that's part of what I like about it. It's legitimately the only true Wrigleyville bar that's been around for ages that I can tolerate. For the uninitiated to the Wrigley experience, the typical buffoon will direct you to Murphy's, or Sports Corner or the Cubby Bear, or one of the other well-known-yet-overrated bars around the stadium. You'd be better off ignoring them and heading to Bernie's. The staff is always friendly and the typical crowd knows a bit more about the team than the fairweather fans you find at the other joints. You'll hear more real baseball conversations and less "I think Ryan Theriot is cute," type statements.

As I mentioned earlier, Bernie's has become a staple for us as the place for pre-game beverages. Its close proximity to the bleachers makes it a great meeting point if other friends are joining you. I don't know about you, but "Meet me at Bernie's," sounds much better to me than "Meet me by the Harry Caray statue." Unless of course someone stashed a cooler of Old Style inside Harry, but alas security got kind of pissed the last time I climbed the statue to inspect for the mythical beverage booty.

The last few times I've gone, we were early enough to be able to belly up to the bar. That's always nice as you can quickly get a refill. However if the bar is full and it's a nice day out, you can't go wrong with grabbing a seat out in their beer garden. Back in '03, Brant, Chaim and myself sat at Bernie's for a Cubs-Cards game. The place emptied out quite a bit once the game started, but the folks that remained were all transfixed on the game. No loud tribal armband and visor-clad douchebags causing a disturbance were to be found. As the game drew to the end the crowd slowly filtered back in, including some Cardinal fans that we had a good time talking some trash with.

Also if you have to drop a deuce for the game, I highly recommend the crapper at Bernie's. It's probably one of the better stalls you'll find outside the stadium, and is much, MUCH better than the shitters inside the stadium, which rank just above waterboarding for most pleasant experiences. But get in there and pinch off a loaf early. The longer you wait, the more likely some drunk jackass will stuff it full of paper towels, piss all over the seat, or some other equally stupid shit.

Thunder Matt Rating: 11 empty Old Styles out of a 12 pack (3 of which you drank before they could sit in the cooler long enough to actually get cold).