Saturday Bonus Post because Donovan and I had an impromptu Drink & Draw on Wednesday. You can read why we ended up escaping to the Billy Goat on her blog. In this post though, we'll talk about the tavern itself.
Drawing by Donovan Beeson. Click to view larger.
Drink & Draw#2: The Original Billy Goat Tavern
Near Tribune Towers and Wrigley Building
430 N. Michigan Ave at Lower Level
I don't know how other Chicagoans feel, but if someone would ever invite me to the Billy Goat Tavern, I'd refuse, saying it was a tourist trap. Maybe it is, but not on a Wednesday night and not at this location.* We only saw locals, sports fans, and tired newspaper men. And that brings me to the history of the Tavern!
The original owner, Billy Goat Sianis, pouring a bottle of Blatz into the mouth of Murphy the goat. Image from the Billy Goat Tavern website.
What you see in Donovan's drawing (at the top of this post) is the head of a goat surrounded by newspaper bylines. The goat, you see, is important to Chicago history, for the original owner of this tavern is who brought the curse of the Goat upon the Cubs. Yup. You can read all about it on the Billy Goat Tavern site right here.
The bylines, well, the Tavern is located on Lower Michigan Ave. Let me repeat this, LOWER Michigan. Not where all the fancy shops and such are, but in the underbelly of the raised streets. What is located above this Tavern? The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times buildings, making this a frequent after-work watering hole for Chicago newspaper columnists back in the day (as well as today). The bylines on the wall are the names of those columnists who were regulars. Names are still being added to the wall, as our bartender Bouchaib told us, he just added a writer last week who is from The Reader.
Finding the actual tavern is a bit of an adventure. If walking up Grand street, you should find it quite easily, but if you are already on Miracle Mile, you'll have to find the stairs down to Lower Michigan. The Chicago Bar Project has good directions on finding your way.
We weren't very adventurous with what we drank while here, but we had a great time talking to our bartender and chatting with each other.
K) Rye whiskey on the rocks
D) The Horny Goat
Citrus rum, lemon-lime soda, and cranberry juice.
K) Bloody Mary with a beer chaser
The bartender asked me what I wanted in the Bloody Mary, making a nicely tailored drink. I wasn't expecting the beer chaser or the bottle of Tabasco, but it was a welcomed surprise.
D) The Horny Goat, again.
• While they have a full bar with many whiskies, don't expect to be able to order any cocktail you want. I tried to get an Old Fashioned, but they were out of bitters.
• If you like rum, try their Signature drink, The Horny Goat.
• The Tavern is more of a sports bar, but without all the noise. It is very bright in there, so if you are looking for a dark place to hide, move along to another bar.
*I did walk by the Billy Goat located at Navy Pier and it was a mad house. Please note that this location is totally geared toward tourists, while the original location...not so much.