Whether you’re on a date or out with friends, a concert at the United Center is a guaranteed good time. Before heading to the arena for a night of music — say, the upcoming Bruno Mars show — stop off at one of these nearby hot spots to power up before a night of singing and dancing. (Because let’s be real, you can’t sit still when Bruno’s on stage.)Read More
Where to Eat and Drink Near the United Center
1. Billy Goat Tavern
This Chicago legend, made famous by John Belushi’s Saturday Night Live skit, is known for its “cheezborgers,” “no fries,” and “no Coke.” (Order chips and Pepsi instead.) You’re going here for the history, so soak it in — and try the Billy Goat Lager too.
2. Twisted Spoke
An extensive bourbon and beer list and a stellar food menu make the Twisted Spoke a better-than-average bar. If you don’t make it before the concert, there’s always tomorrow morning — their “hangover hospital” menu runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.
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Grill up your own meats or order some noodles right off the menu of this creative Asian barbecue restaurant. The modern interior will impress any companion, and the drinks will too. Sake anyone?
4. Goose Island Beer Company
Start your night with a local brewery tour. This Thursday-through-Sunday secret is the perfect pre-concert pit stop. There’s no food at this taproom, but you can bring in your own grub if you’re hungry (or cross your fingers that some food trucks will be parked outside).
5. Bar Takito
Order some Latin-inspired shared plates at this bold and bright joint. From tacos to ceviche to octopus a la plancha, there’s something for everyone. A flight of mezcal or margaritas makes for the perfect party atmosphere before the concert.
6. Parlor Pizza Bar
If you’re looking for a trendy but casual joint for a group, Parlor Pizza is it. There’s a nice selection of apps and salads to complement the Neapolitan-inspired pizza. Be sure to try one of their draft cocktails (served in a “party cup,” pitcher, or punch bowl) before heading to the United Center.
Make an early pre-concert reservation at this super-popular pizza joint. The thin-crust coal oven pies are a nice change from Chicago’s deep-dish scene, and it still leaves room for a beer at the United Center.
8. The Ogden Chicago
This modern sports bar is about as close as you can get to the United Center without paying stadium food court prices. Typical bar food with elevated takes on wings and burgers plus a specialty cocktail menu make this a great stop for a group to get tuned up before Bruno Mars.
9. Kaiser Tiger
Sausage, bacon, and beer — what else do you need? Don’t bring your vegetarian friends here, especially if you’re ordering the Bacon Grenades (a must). Don’t worry, you’ll dance off a portion of this meal before night’s end.
10. City Winery
Want to impress a date before heading to the Bruno Mars concert? Make a romantic stop at City Winery. If the weather is nice, grab a two-top in the extensive patio of this urban oasis. It’s the perfect spot to share a bottle of wine and a selection of tapas.