Game day seemed like the only day to hit The Stretch (3458 N. Clark St., 773-755-3980), Wrigleyville’s latest steps-from-the-ballpark sports bar. Which means what follows is the account of one relatively sober person among a sea of disappointed Cubs fans—following Wednesday’s loss to Colorado—who had been drinking since at least 1:20 p.m. So, you can take my opinion with a grain of tequila.
I had planned to meet a few friends at the bar. Arriving early, I couldn’t decide if I should head inside—where, I could see, it was super crowded, super loud, and at least one couple was making out with gusto—or outside, where I watched a guy get clocked in the face by someone he had somehow offended. Call me crazy, but outside it was, for ten really long minutes.
Among sports bars, a genre generally not known for its interior décor, The Stretch is a looker—which isn’t surprising, considering it’s from the guys behind the attractive Cortland’s Garage in Bucktown. Thick, cedar-planked walls line the space, as do plenty of flatscreens, including four clustered above the bar. In addition to a respectable beer list of drafts, imports, and cans, signature cocktails come served in 16- or 32-ounce mason jars. I opted for the smaller Knickerbocker, $10, a blend of Maker’s Mark, SoCo, and Captain Morgan with orange, lime, and pineapple juices. (It was fruity—and deadly: I could hardly taste the alcohol. Just what every blotto fan needs.)
But from whom to order? “Technically, there is a waitress, but she’s getting hit on,” observed one of my un-hosed drinking buddies. “I get why this is called ‘The Stretch,’” joked another, eyeing the all-female bartending staff’s tight red tank tops.
Other so-called highlights? Chatting with a very large man engaged in a fun game of “play punching” fellow patrons and sitting silently through a full-blast version of “Living on a Prayer” after futilely trying to talk over it. We noted an abundance of single guys, but my friends told me not to put that down as a selling point.
Before heading for higher ground, we debated whether or not we would have had more fun (i.e., been less horrified) if we had come after a real-deal seventh-inning stretch—and the game’s worth of beers that would have accompanied it. Probably, we decided, but the likelihood that I’ll be back seems a bit of a—you guessed it—stretch.