Chicago dwelling die hards, where to watch?

Submitted by Todd Plate's n… on August 27th, 2009 at 12:18 PM

As a non-alum die hard fan* I don't really have a group of fellow michigan fans to enjoy games with here in chicago...typically it's with a buddy or two who loves college football and are non-osu/nd fans...or by my lonesome.

where do fellow chicagoan, die hard, mgoblog readers watch the games? i am torn on watching the WMU game in solitude or setting up shop and bellying up early that morning at a UM bar.

Anyone else in a similar predicament and want to watch the game? I will be the one at the bar and I will be holding a picture of Woodson with the rosy smile.

*I began expounding upon this, but will do so in a diary.



August 27th, 2009 at 12:24 PM ^

Isn't Duffy's (on Diversy) still the place? I no longer live in Chicago (sadly), but that place was always the Michigan bar of choice for everyone I knew. They played the fight song after scores, which was awesome. Plus a bloody mary bar!


August 27th, 2009 at 12:32 PM ^

Duffy's is still the place to go on the northside. It is absolutely crazy on gamedays. This is where young former students who relocate to Chicago go to watch. It is like watching a road game at Skeeps. I would highly recommend.

I believe the alumni association uses Moe's as it's official bar. I could be wrong. Either way Moe's is a good choice and a year-round Michigan bar.

Rockit is another bar that I believe is promoting Michigan this year.

OMG Shirtless

August 27th, 2009 at 12:29 PM ^

Duffys - Very popular, always crowded, have to get there really early if you want a prayer at getting a seat. Seems to be home of the more recent grads.

Mad River - Not the best set up, you don't have to get there 3 hours early, crowd is a wider age group

Rockit - New this year, generally it is more expensive than Duffys/Mad River though I don't know if they plan on having drink specials or anything like that

Moes Cantina - Never been here for a Michigan game, and I can't picture it working well during Cubs season, but they keep mentioning it in the alumni group emails.


August 27th, 2009 at 12:31 PM ^

Duffy's is the most popular - sort of a fixture, but I liked Mad River quite a bit... until I went there to watch UM-OU in the 2nd round and found out that disturbingly enough, MR is a polygamist - they're a "UNC basketball bar." Bollocks.

Rockit is new and probably does it up right. Moes is a travesty. I've more than once walked by there and drunkenly yelled at them to disassociate themselves from U of M - it's a night club.

I heard that Matilda (just north of Mad River on Sheffield) is UM-affiliated now... I can't picture it, but maybe?

Foote Fetish

August 27th, 2009 at 12:42 PM ^

...used to fly a ND flag so I avoided it for the longest time, even after they switched their allegiances. I stopped in for a couple of games last year, though. Not too bad and it was a lot easier finding a seat than Duffy's. I still have moral issues going to a bar that can make such drastic switches in allegiance.

Can anyone confirm whether or not Matilda's is a UM bar? That place is right by me.


August 27th, 2009 at 12:59 PM ^

I lived right down the street from Mad River when it first opened (sometime in '06) and I remember them being a Michigan bar from the start. Are you sure about this ND flag snafu? Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and make Kirkwood the UM bar and Mad River the Nebraska bar. If only...


August 27th, 2009 at 1:23 PM ^

Matilda's was definitely a UM bar during the NCAA tournament and I've heard that it is during football season as well. I really despise Mad River for games. I went to watch the home opener there last year and I had to leave because nobody was cheering even after Shaw scored the first touchdown...lame


August 27th, 2009 at 12:30 PM ^

But I'd recommend you avoid it unless you really, really, really like frat parties. It's maybe my least favorite bar in Chicago but that's admittedly just not my scene.

03 Blue 07

August 27th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

Matilda is a cool bar, but there's no way it can be a good gameday bar. Unless it becomes the gameday bar for hipsters.

Duffy's any time but a Michigan game (or maybe for brunch) is shitty. However, if you want to get intense and root at a place that is much rowdier than the Big House, it's the place.

I watched the 2004 UM/MSU game at Duffy's, on Halloween, in costume, and it was outstanding. At the risk of being blasphemous, it was more fun than any experience I've actually had at a game, save for the 2002 PSU game and the 2005 PSU game.

It's "douchey" for games because people are loud and drunk and it's crowded. However, they have the best sound system for the game- you can hear everything, they have a shit-ton of TV's, and it's packed with UM fans and alums. I've done Mad River and Moe's, too. Mad River was like the budget Duffy's on gameday, and Moe's was an embarassment to U of M fandom.

And to clarify, I'm 28, so I guess take that with a grain of salt. My buddies wives usually can't take the intensity of Duffy's. If you're with a lady, it is going to be difficult there unless she's die-hard or is the kind of girl that isn't, well, umm, married, or really likes sports and doesn't mind a shitshow.

Speaking of UM bars in cities, I'll be in Austin, TX for the WMU game- any suggestions? Seeing as I like Duffy's on gameday, I'm looking for loud, rowdy, 100% pro-Michigan, and drunk.


August 27th, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

...With 03 Blue 07. I'm 27, so maybe that has something to do with it, but Duffy's has been a fantastic place to watch games since I've been living in Chicago. It's an absolute staple.

restive neb

August 27th, 2009 at 7:09 PM ^

but only because my first experience there was incredible... It was the first football season I lived in the Chicago area (1997). I went to meet up with some friends for the Michigan-Penn State game -- the one in which Michigan destroyed PSU 28-0, and people started realizing that Michigan had a really good chance at the national championship. It was also the same day that Nebraska won on the kicked ball in the endzone. I saw both events on screens at Duffy's. My friends never got in, because they showed up late, and the place was already at capacity. I ended up hanging out all night with a couple of girls I met there.

Unfortunately, subsequent visits never came close to that one experience, forcing me to agree with you. The first time was definitely an anomaly that had nothing to do with the bar itself.


August 27th, 2009 at 12:32 PM ^

Duffy's if you are under 30. Tends to be a mix of die-hards and class reunion though.
Mad River if you are over 30.

Moes Cantina works for both... and not as crowded (if you get there at least 30 minutes before kickoff)


August 27th, 2009 at 12:33 PM ^

To expound on OMG Shirtless' post:

Duffys is a complete clusterfuck. Don't do it. If you're older than 23, you'll be out of place, and if you don't get there when doors open (there will be a line), you won't sit. It is more crowded than a rush-week frat party, and getting more drinks is difficult.

Mad River is my preferred spot. It's not great, and I pretty much co-sign OMG Shirtless' take - it's less draining, and more comfortable than Duffy's.

Rockit, I have a feeling, will be extremely crowded, just because it's a prime hipster hangout, and is generally crowded as a rule.

Wes Mantooth

August 27th, 2009 at 2:08 PM ^

I actually don't think Rockit will be that crowded. It gets really intense at night seeing as it's a trendy River North spot, but it's usually pretty empty during the day. I don't know what will happen now that it's an M bar, though.

Duffy's is extremely intense and a very young crowd, but when Mich scores a touchdown or grabs an interception and the place blows up, it's really awesome. It's like being back in AA.

I still prefer Mad River, though. I'm no spring chicken and those young'uns with their loud rock and roll music...don't get me started...

OMG Shirtless

August 27th, 2009 at 3:28 PM ^

NEW SPONSOR BAR - Rockit Bar & Grill in River North!
Warmest welcome to our newest game-watching bar, Rockit Bar & Grill! Rockit is located in the heart of River North and offers casual American cuisine that's been featured on Good Morning America, as well as an extensive list of specialty cocktails and beers. Rockit is a part of Rockit Ranch Productions, which is co-owned by Michigan '97 graduate, Arturo Gomez. Welcome to the Maize and Blue family!

Looks like it is the one in River North and one of the owners is from Michigan for those wondering about the connection.

Yinka Double Dare

August 27th, 2009 at 3:36 PM ^

Rockit a hipster hangout? Holy lord god no, it's everything the hipsters detest, I'm not even sure they'd go there for the irony (and boy, do they love irony). In the major tourist area? Check. Formerly known for celebrity sightings in its earlier days? Check. Pop and mainstream rock music? Check. Guys in graphic t-shirts or striped shirts all over the place? Check. No cheap PBR? Check.

Rockit at night is basically Duffy's fratty crowd maybe five years older, but whose douchebaggery has only intensified. Just like all of the the Billy Dec joints, really. And everything will cost way more because it's River North - unless they run raging specials the other UM bars will be cheaper.

I don't know if Mad River will still be an unofficial bar or if they are changing -- you may want to call lest you show up and discover it's changed too late, as this happened to my Nebraska friend the year that McGee's switched over to Ohio State without him knowing it.

I went to the '07 OSU/Michigan game at Duffy's and it was a load of fun (you know, other than the game, which sucked). Ran into a number of people I knew that I hadn't seen in a while, drank a lot of beer, and cursed the general bloody-mindedness of the universe as applied to Chad Henne's shoulder.

The King of Belch

August 27th, 2009 at 12:34 PM ^

You sound like a one man travelling party, dude!

Drinking alone at the bar and carrying around a picture of Charles Woodson.

Do you wear Panther cologne?

I bet you have to beat the babes off with a stick!

The King of Belch

August 27th, 2009 at 12:45 PM ^

I think guys (or gals) should post more parameters on these ubiquitous "Hey man, I'm rocking it on Mars! Where do all the UM fans hang out?" posts.

For instance: Are you wealthy? Poor? Gay? Bi? Lesbian? Transgendered? It would be helpful because someone might send you to a bar where if you aren't wearing high heels and taping the package underneath, you might get beat up. Yeah, there could be a "Michigan Tranny Bar" in Chicago. You never know.

And it might help to know if you are under 30 or something, so you get sent to a place where most of the people aren't wearing Depends and spitting out their dentures every time UM fumbles a punt. As much fun as helping some old dude find his teeth sounds, you might not be into it.

And what are you gonna do if someone sends you to a bar down by the docks or something, and a bunch of lonely sailors have just pulled in?

So give out some parameters for these requests. We're bound ot have many, many more. This way you'll be sent to the right place and maybe they won't find you unconscious in the urinal trough, covered with ice and missing a kidney.


August 27th, 2009 at 12:53 PM ^

I've been to Duffy's once and it's like all of the people in college in the student section who don't give a shit about the game and are there to be cool.

So if you like sorority girls on their cell phones and no one giving a shit about the game check out Duffy's.

I've been to Moe's for the UM/OSU game and I wouldn't recommend it it's next door to Barleycorn (OSU bar) which can cause for some not fun experiences.

Of all of the options I'd probably check out Rock-it and I did like Mad River but it entirely depends on your preferences.

My preference is to have a seat and drink and hang out and watch the game with people who give a shit.

Wes Mantooth

August 27th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

I don't agree at all that people at Duffy's don't care about the game. I don't go to Duffy's anymore b/c the crowd is too young for me, but back in the day I went a lot and I've always thought it was a really intense game-watching atmosphere. No one I know gets cell phone service in the back room so you're basically cut off from the outside. No distractions. And every time there's a big play, the place goes absolutely nuts (or in the case of the horror...absolutely quiet. A guy was walking out in tears after that game). Some of the best & most heated conversations I've ever had about Mich football were in that bar.

03 Blue 07

August 27th, 2009 at 4:46 PM ^

I wonder what game you were there for. Cell phones don't even work in there, unless you're by the windows in front. Did Michigan not score a touchdown while you were there? It's deafening when that happens, or a big play in a close game.

By the way, I don't like Duffy's at all unless it's for a Michigan game. But for a U of M game, it's definitely the most intense place I've watched a game outside Michigan. I'd put it up there with Brown Jug in Ann Arbor or Scorekeepers in Ann Arbor for an away game, for sure. It was also a good time for U of M's opening round NCAA hoops game.

EDIT: I wasn't disagreeing with Wes Mantooth- his take is exactly what I was saying as well.


August 27th, 2009 at 12:54 PM ^

".....On Sundays in the fall, this Chicago sports bar transforms into a haven for Pittsburgh Steelers fans; but the steel-city expats move aside on Saturdays, when Dark Horse becomes home-away-from-home for University of Michigan Wolverines...."

I went to this bar and Duffy's during a bar crawl for my friend's bachelor party this summer and Dark Horse was a pretty cool place. Might want to check it out.

I'm more than likely going to be in Chicago for the Iowa game and was thinking I was going to go to Duffy's, but with all the negative experiences said on this board and it being a night game, may decide to go to Dark Horse instead.


August 27th, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

I went there to watch the Penguins play in the semifinals before playing the wings with a co-worker (he's from Pittsburgh). I really don't see why it would be a Michigan bar with allegiances to the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates.


August 27th, 2009 at 1:36 PM ^

I go there often and know the owners (from Penn)... they switched from UM to PSU three seasons ago when their Penn people bitched that they had no place to watch PSU (and since they never drew big UM crowds they made the switch) It is a Steelers bar on Sunday and PSU bar on Saturday. Like any bar though, if PSU is not playing, they will put on the Michigan game, however, if the PSU crowd shows up for their 2:30 game your 11am UM game will be put on a corner-tv


August 27th, 2009 at 12:55 PM ^

There used to be a bar called Orange Crush on Halsted in Lincoln Park.

I watched the 2003 Oregon game there. Then, it was a Michigan bar. It was a good crowd, rowdy in a good way and bot at all overly crowded or played out like the Duffy's scene.

But I havent lived in Chicago in four years and I am sure a lot has changed.

Cubs still stink, though.

Todd Plate's n…

August 27th, 2009 at 1:03 PM ^

almost forgot about that place, did my first open mic there in '03. I believe it was renamed The Mix at some point and now appears (i live about a block from there) to be closed down.

if only Duke of Perth would put 1 tv in for me to watch UM games.


August 27th, 2009 at 1:55 PM ^

That place has changed names 4x in 4 years. No longer Orange Crush... I think it's a "place for live bands" type bar now

Place was great... but when I watched the UCLA loss there (2001?) the group in the back room had tvs on a different satelite and we heard their reaction to Navarre's interception 3 seconds before we saw it on our tvs... that pretty much can ruin a game-watching experience (that, and of course, the interception)


August 27th, 2009 at 1:01 PM ^

I live down the street from Duffy's and yes it is indeed a cluster fuck on gamedays. I went to Mad River a lot last year. It's a fairly solid place to watch a game, decent specials, and MUCH easier to find a seat than Duffy's.

Seems like there is a fair amount of Chicago posters on the board. Anybody down for picking a bar and setting up an Mgoblog bar tailgate for the season?