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Review: Bacardi at the Park Chicago

Published Apr 30, 2011 / by Keith Hanson

Sporting events are just that, events. Recognizing this, the Chicago White Sox recently opened Bacardi at the Park as a place for friends and families to get together before and after games -- and even on days when there is no White Sox game.

The main entrance to Bacardi at the Park is on the north side of U.S. Cellular Field. The bar/restaurant is actually attached to the stadium. Unlike its counterpart on the north side of Chicago, U.S. Cellular field does not have a plethora of pre and post-game hang-outs. With Bacardi at the Park; however; the neighborhood surrounding U.S. Cellular field has something Wrigleyville lacks: a clean, family-friendly restaurant/bar with ample seating and plenty of televisions.

The restaurant is open to patrons with and without tickets to the White Sox game -- and is even open on non-game days. In addition, this place does allow kids inside -- at least at the time we were there. There was no "bouncer" at the door checking IDs and many families were present. We showed up at about 11:50 for a 12:00 Bulls playoff game. The White Sox game that day was at 3:00. It was relatively empty upon walking in, and we decided to head upstairs to grab a table. The table that we had was open to the downstairs and right in front of it were 12 tvs cascading down a support beam. In total there are more than five dozen high-def flat panel TVs adorning the walls and support structures. On this particular day nearly all of them were tuned to the Bulls game. In addition to being able to see the TVs, we looked right out at U.S. Cellular Field -- a welcoming sight for any south-sider.

The facility is managed by Gibson's restaurant group, which backs a few high-quality restaurants and bars around the city -- so we knew the food and drink should be pretty good. Our waitress was attentive and kind -- even though the place ended up being filled to capacity. In all we ordered nachos, a burger, pulled pork sandwich, some bloody marys, beer and some specialty drinks. The prices are about what you expect to pay around a ballpark: $8 for a drink and $10 for a meal with fries. I recommend the dragonberry and lemonade which was the cheapest specialty drink and was quite strong. The food was above average and worth it for a sit-down meal before a game.

At about 1:30 the place started getting pretty crowded and most of the tables were filled. Nearly everyone had their eyes fixed on the Bulls playoff game. The Bulls ended up making a dramatic comeback and the crowd inside the restaurant was hanging on every D. Rose drive and Kyler Korver three-pointer. The atmosphere was electric, and it was a great way to spend a couple hours before a White Sox game. After the Bulls game ended, we walked downstairs and out of the restaurant to go the White Sox game. We had to walk outside for a brief moment before having our tickets scanned and walking into U.S. Cellular Field. In all, it's about a 30 second walk from Bacardi at the Park to its own private entrance into the stadium.

Overall, Bacardi at the Park gets five stars for being an all-around outstanding place to go. Not many places cater to young twenty-somethings wanting some beers before the game all the way to families looking to grab a sit-down meal around the ballpark. The cleanliness of the place, the tasteful decoration and the proximity to the ballpark all make this a must-visit destination for anyone catching a game at U.S. Cellular Field.

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