The Best Pre-Show and Post-Show Spots in Chicago

Heading to a show in the Chicago area? Whether you’re in the mood for casual fare or upscale eats, the city has no shortage of delicious places to grab some grub or a drink.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near The United Center

  • The United Center is surrounded by ample parking lots, which is a boon for drivers but can mean finding super-close food is a challenge. However, there are some tasty options within a half-mile radius, starting with the arena’s own Queenie’s Supper Club, which boasts a well-curated menu of wine, cocktails, appetizers, and entrees.
  • Head directly east from the venue and you’ll land at the laid-back Billy Goat Tavern (1535 W Madison St.), whose hearty sandwiches are highlighted by the world-renowned “cheezborger” and dood-focused sports bar The Ogden (1659 Ogden Ave.)
  • If you’re just looking for a pint or two, go north and pop in at the craft brew emporium Goose Island Beer Company (1800 W. Fulton St.)


Best Bars & Restaurants Near Allstate Arena

  • Directly across the street and north from Allstate Arena is a convenient cluster of chain restaurants, which offer a variety of pre-show dining options, highlighted by tasty Mediterranean food at Naf Naf Grill (10433 E Touhy Ave.). Also of note in the complex is Little Angelo’s Pizza & Catering (7112 N. Mannheim Rd.), which serves up piping-hot pies until well after midnight seven days a week, and 24-hour breakfast standby IHOP (7120 N. Mannheim Rd.) for a huge stack of—what else—pancakes.
  • For those who don’t mind a short drive, Mariachi’s Tacos (1936 E. Touhy Ave.) in nearby Des Plaines is a good weekday option dishing up affordable, fresh Mexican food.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near CIBC Theatre

The prime location of CIBC Theatre in the bustling Loop means theater patrons have plenty of dining options, from fast-casual chains to fancier fare.

  • For a special night out, the dark-paneled, secret club-like Cherry Circle Room (12 S. Michigan Ave.) in the Chicago Athletic Hotel offers a sleek, inventive cocktail menu and upscale steak and seafood options.
  • In a hurry? No problem: The Grillroom Chophouse & Wine Bar (33 W. Monroe St.) — located conveniently across the street from the theater — serves up an impressive American food menu with steaks and surprises, such as delectable mac ‘n’ cheese, while a stuffed-to-the-brim pre-show sandwich from Hannah’s Bretzel (131 S. Dearborn S.) is also solid.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near House of Blues Chicago

There are no shortage of food options near the popular River North venue of House of Blues Chicago.

  • In addition to bar food with Southern flair at the House of Blueson-site restaurant (329 N. Dearborn St.), other nearby options include Wollensky’s Grill (318 N. State St.), which offers everything from steaks to sliders, and the adjacent Smith & Wollensky (318 N. State St.).
  • The adventurous will appreciate the authentic Japanese restaurant Katana (339 N. Dearborn St.), whose specialty is robatayaki, or food grilled using the Japanese charcoal Binchōtan.
  • The sleek Italian eatery Siena Tavern (51 W. Kinzie St.) has a generous cocktail and beer menu, as well as late-night kitchen hours on weekends.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near Aragon Ballroom

  • Located in the Uptown district right by the Lawrence Red Line stop, the Aragon Ballroom is near a few choice spots, including the Ethiopian restaurant Demera (4801 N. Broadway).
  • If you’re running late to the show, grabbing tacos or a burrito at Carmela’s Taqueria (1206 W. Lawrence Ave.) or a quick nosh at the Broadway Grill & Chicken (4800 N. Broadway) are your best bets. The latter is a no-frills corner eatery slinging all-day breakfast sandwiches and burgers, as well as delicious marinated chicken dishes.
  • For those looking for a nightcap and to keep the music buzz going, the Prohibition-era Green Mill Jazz Club (4802 N. Broadway) offers nightly live music with a cover.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near Chicago Theatre

  • For a filling pre-show bite to eat, look no further than The Dearborn (145 N. Dearborn St.), which serves up seasonally driven gastropub fare and classic cocktails (and is open later on weekends for a post-show nightcap, to boot).
  • Closer to the Chicago Theatre, The Halal Guys (172 N. Wabash Ave.) offer quick bites in the form of gyro and chicken sandwiches or platters, while the nearby British-style pub Elephant & Castle (185 N. Wabash Ave.) boasts hearty eats such as poutine and shepherd’s pie, in addition to sandwiches, tacos, and modern options such as gluten-sensitive options.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Head north of the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre into Tinley Park itself, and you’ll discover several eateries perfect for pre-show noshes.

  • The Side Street American Tavern (18401 N. Creek Dr.) has a pleasing mix of beers and an array of bar-food staples, including tacos, sandwiches, and wings. 
  • Rich’s Pizza Joint (7020 183rd St.) serves up Chicago-style sandwiches and both thin and deep-dish ‘za.
  • Hamada of Japan (18310 N. Creek Dr.), meanwhile, offers light soups and appetizers and sashimi, as well as traditional Japanese entrees.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near FirstBank Pavilion at Northerly Island

Thanks to Northerly Island’s location — in addition to the generous greenspace, there are multiple parking lots surrounding the FirstBank Pavilion — you’ll have to travel a bit to find food options beyond the concessions at the venue.

  • For a late lunch, South Loop stalwart Little Branch (1251 S. Prairie Ave.) offers up coffee (from Metropolis Coffee), sandwiches, paninis, and other small bites.
  •  Victory Tap (1416 S. Michigan Ave.) boasts a hearty Italian menu and wine list, as well as a daily happy hour.
  • The nearby Chicago Firehouse (1401 S. Michigan Ave.), which is located in an actual former firehouse and does take reservations, serves up date-night-appropriate American cuisine.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near BMO Harris Bank Center

  • Downtown Rockford has several solid casual (and walkable) restaurant options, including the Blue Line Sports Pub & Whiskey Bar (211 Elm St.) — which, as its name implies, boasts an impressively detailed whiskey list in addition to tasty dishes — and the hearty bar-food destination District Bar and Grill (205 W. State St.).
  • Across the Rock River, away from the BMO Harris Bank Center, is the Carlyle Brewing Co. (215 E. State St.), a cozy pub with a rotating craft beer list and homemade root beer to go along with low-key grub, and the taco and cocktail emporium Taco Betty’s (212 E. State St.), which stays open late on weekends.


Best Bars & Restaurants Near Grant Park

Lollapalooza itself has food options brimming with delicious Chicago-area faves, although if you’re feeling adventurous, there is no shortage of options around Grant Park to explore.

  • The breakfast- and lunch-only Bongo Room (1152 S. Wabash Ave.) is a solid pre-fest option for both sweet and savory eats, while the sit-down Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.), which bills itself as a “modern interpretation of timeless Catalan tradition,” offers sophisticated tapas and drinks.
  • The colorful and welcoming Eleven City Diner (1112 S. Wabash Ave.) not only boasts candy for sale up front but also has a huge menu with all-day breakfast, authentic sodas and malts, and Jewish deli standbys.

Loading Events


You Might Like


Step Inside: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas

One more place to catch excellent entertainment on the strip.


Step Inside: FedExForum in Memphis

The Home of the Blues celebrates music, sports and entertainment of all kinds.


Step Inside: Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena

The Sooner State boasts a premier destination for sports, music and a vast array of other entertainment.