Benchwarmers feels like your classic Chicago neighborhood sports bar with affordable pub grub, local craft beers, and specialty liquors and cocktails.Benchwarmers is a sports bar and grill on North Avenue between Ashland and the Kennedy Expressway. It’s a quiet, unassuming spot with plenty of free street parking, but don’t let that belie the bar’s rock and roll roots. Co-owner Josh Kerbis spent the '90s hanging with rock stars at Sunset Strip’s Rainbow Bar & Grill, while partner Steve “Fuzz” Kmak was touring with Chicago heavy metal group Disturbed. The partners have installed a dozen NFL package-ready flat screen TVs and outfitted their joint with Chicago sports memorabilia: a Dick Butkus Bears jersey, Hawks stuff, and that horizontal Air Jordan wingspan poster that every 10-year-old of a certain generation had plastered to the wall above his or her bed. (In other words, your 10-year-old self should feel right at home.)
The bar is focused on affordable pub grub, local craft beers, and specialty liquors and cocktails. It’s pretty dang inventive bar food, too. Check out the Japalamari (jap-ala-what?), Japanese-style sweet and sour calamari. They’ve got $7 burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, as well as a great house-made veggie burger. Look for special events like Fridays with the Don Q Rum girls and a Bloody Mary bar and buffet on Sundays. Despite the owners’ mesh-net metal t-shirt and leather pants heyday, Benchwarmers feels like your classic Chicago neighborhood sports bar. Just don’t be shocked if you stumble in one night to witness something akin to Led Zeppelin’s famous mudshark incident.
Bench Burger, $6.99
Pulled Pork BBQ, $6.99
Veggie Burger, $6.99
Monday - Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday, 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.