The 2013 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is coming to Chicago March 14-17. To celebrate, Chicago Like a Local will be highlighting the best area places to watch each Big Ten team. Indiana University's been one of the NCAA's elite teams and, as it stands, they're the No. 1 ranked program in the country. Hoosier fans, party like it's 1987 at these Bloomington substitutes in Chicago.
With one of the best beer gardens in Chicago, Kirkwood is a must-visit if March heats up like Jodan Hulls from three-point range. Solid food, a surprisingly large layout and nearly three-dozen TV's make Kirkwood a no brainer on game day. For groups, there's a three-hour package for $25/person that includes "well" drinks, domestic beer and house wine.
The second floor of Slugger's has a full-blown batting cage and an arcade. So if Cody Zeller and the boys fall behind at halftime, you can blow off steam by taking some hacks at a dimpled soft ball. Steps from Wrigley Field, this place epitomizes the Clark Street flavor that, depending on your nature, is really awesome or a bit chaotic. Either way, Slugger's will be the liveliest bar outside of Bloomington when the Hoosiers tip-off.
With more than 20,000 square-feet of space, Joe's Bar is an airplane hangar sized, beer pitcher emporium. The place has a country music vibe and loyalty to IU, so if you're an Indiana expatriate with a shared affinity for Blake Shelton and Bobby Knight, you're in luck. Over 100 TV's (you read that right), live musical performances and, on game day, the option of reserving a table for you and your group.
Market Bar is conveniently located in the West Loop, which is close to the United Center and lined with available parking. I can speak personally to the Mac n' Cheese Muffins which, when paired with Victor Oladipo fast breaks, taste extra incredible. The area is huge and their roof deck is one of the nicest in this city.
Where to Watch is an ongoing series that highlights the best places to catch Big Ten basketball in Chicago. For details on the tournament, which comes to Chicago's United Center March 14-17, visit www.bigtenchicagohoops.com. For updates, connect with the Chicago Sports Commission on Facebook and Twitter.
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