I looked up Wrigleyville restaurants and over 600 showed up. To do a blanket search using Lakeview, the number jumps to over 1800. This is a lot to choose from. I narrowed my choices down using two criteria: A great selection of beer on tap and enough vegetarian options on the menu to make my dinner mate happy. I want to talk about three.
My search led me first to Sheffield's, a bar and restaurant on Sheffield Avenue and School Street. There were 30 beers on tap, a lot more in bottles and cans, and on a great menu, there was a variety of home smoked barbecue. Sheffield's is large, with at least three full bars, an inside and outside area and a lot of guys and girls coming and going. The beer list contains many local brews and they feature a brewery on a regular basis. Being a carnivore I can start with a bowl of chili or onion rings spiked with barbecue ribs, get my greens in with a salad and follow-up with a choice of burgers, barbecue chicken, ribs, briskets or pulled pork in either platter of sandwich form. If I have trouble deciding, there is always the combination platter. My vegetarian friend will eat but not have the options I enjoy. If she was vegan the choices would be extremely limited. But for a vegetarian, there is chili, salads, red beans and rice, veggie burgers, or mac and cheese. We will both enjoy the hand cut fries.
Another option is Goose Island Brewpub at 3535 N Clark Street, just south of Wrigley Field. It closed for a while but is back up and running as of my writing this. Goose Island features an extensive selection of their own beers, something for most any taste, and if that doesn’t work for you, there is Bud. Wrigleyville is a favorite destination for weekend partiers and the street is absolutely nuts on weekend evenings and following Cubs games. Options for drinking, eating, live music, comedy, and clubs are numerous. It might be the closest thing Chicago has to Beal Street or Bourbon Street. Goose Island Brewpub is packed with guys and girls drinking, eating, and meeting.
The Goose Island Brewpub will satisfy both me and my friend’s food preferences. Again, a vegan might have some issues but they are used to that. A carnivore like me, a pescetarian (veggie with fish), or a vegetarian will be happy. Cheese curds and fried pickles are a great way to start any meal. If that doesn’t do it, the nachos or fish taco appetizers work well for the both of us. For the main course, Goose Island’s fish and chips are very good. Poutine seems to be all the rage, though I am not sure why, and you cannot go wrong with a brat from the Paulina Market. My favorite is the Stilton Burger. There is pulled pork and a good club sandwich. Veggie options include a burger or a falafel wrap. Fries are hand cut and excellent.
My last suggestion is a quieter place on Broadway, away from the scene that makes Wrigleyville so popular. Sometimes you just want to eat in relative peace. Wilde is an Irish style bar and restaurant at 3130 N Broadway, just south of Belmont. Wilde has a smaller but well-thought-out selection of beers on tap and in bottles and cans, a small street-side seating area, and in the summer the front opens up to allow the diners at the front of the place to feel like they are outdoors with the protection of actually being inside. It is quieter than what you might find in Wrigleyville but at peak hours the volume does rise. As it is more restaurant than pub, it is not as social a scene as the two previously mention establishments.
Wilde’s menu is fairly extensive and contains Irish Pub fare as well as some of its own creations. Appetizers include fresh cut and curried fries, curried mussels, and their own version of Irish mac and cheese. The main menu has a good selection of burgers with options for veggie burgers and gluten-free buns. Choice for salads and meat or fish toppings is wide. Chicken, fish and steak sandwiches come with a gluten-free option. Dinner plates include fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, mac and cheese, a very good fried garlic chicken, plus a couple of vegetarian-inspired, stir-fried choices. The food and service is very good and they do offer separate vegetarian and gluten-free menus.
If you want lots of warm bodies along with your food and drink, give Sheffield's or Goose Island Brewpub a try. When you leave, there will more great establishments in every direction and lots of people to meet and greet. For a quieter drink or meal in a very comfortable setting, try Wilde.