It's not the favorite of The Bachelorette
winner and Chicago native Ed Swiderski for nothin'. Nestled in the city's touristy River North area, Blue Frog Bar and Grill is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise overpriced downtown of chain restaurants and trendy wallet-busters. How different is the Blue Frog? Two words: free parking. Cheap eats and canned beer dominate this divey hangout. The floors are sometimes sticky and there aren't any windows, but this hole in the wall is non-stop fun. Toys hang from the walls and the ceiling, making Blue Frog feel like a playground for grownups.
The grill part of "Blue Frog Bar and Grill" consists of no less than 15 kinds of burgers and at least eight different chicken sandwiches, at affordable prices around $6. The Straight From Hell Kick Ass Chili is a favorite here, but the food is really beside the point. Blue Frog has more than 100 games: everything from Chutes and Ladders to more adult games, like the popular Jenga and the obscure Battle of the Sexes. Plenty of trivia games satisfy all types of geeks, with a variety of subjects including Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons and Major League Baseball. (Trivial Pursuit purists won't be disappointed either.) A small outdoor patio offers a refreshing outdoor arena during the warmer months.
After 10 p.m., a crowd of bachelorettes, grungy hipsters and karaoke die-hards share the mic for karaoke on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This place is pretty popular, so if you want to sing, get there early or expect to wait an hour or more for your song to get called. Amateurs beware: Blue Frog sees some pretty good performances, and on busy nights, your song will get cut short if you're not at the top of your game. Bring it, as Kirsten Dunst from that cheerleader movie would say.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Aimee Hall