Chicago >Food & Dining > Billy Goat Tavern
430 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061141.890400 -87.624479
Mon-Fri 6am-2am; Sat 10am-2am; Sun 11am-2am
Neighborhoods: Central, Near North Side
Smelly, Surly, S**t Hole. – On holiday in Chicago with my Girlfriend and after reading the history behind the BGT we decided to have a drink and some food on a Sunday evening at the original location.
On entering the bar at about 7.30pm we nearly turned around and walked out again. If you're thinking of going to BGT DON'T EXPECT 1, a smile- 2, any eye contact from the staff- 3, a please or thank you- 4, a decent drink- 5, any sort of entertainment.
However...you CAN EXPECT 1, surly service without a smile - 2, a smelly, scruffy establishment devoid of any sort of atmosphere ( yes I'm aware of all the history but there are plenty of museums with history...and they tend to have a better atmosphere) 3, A packet of crisps (or chips as yanks call them) with your burger...nice! 4,loads of grainy photo's of the original owner (some Greek bloke who looks like Colonel Saunders) with various 'celebs' who've been through the doors 5, To wait 10 minutes to get served as the grease-ball proprieter is ordering more bbq sauce from his suppliers - 6, a drink that is completely flat and warm, all seved up in a filthy glass inside a filthy bar.
In short this place deserves to go out of business, it's a scruffy dump, the staff and owners are rude...and I wouldn't feed my dog Patch on the food from their kitchen. Avoid.
Cheeseborger Cheeseborger Cheeseborger – For the out of towners who may not know much about Chicago, the famous Billy Goat Tavern underneath the viaducts on Michigan Ave by Navy Pier is a classic restaurant sketch come to life from the old Saturday Night Live days, just like the other classic sketch of Hub's Fast Food Restaurant with "the juice". For Chicagoians, the Billy Goat is more than a hidden gem in Chicago. It's history dating back to the 1945 Chicago Cubs and the Curse of the Billy Goat. For me, my first go around with the Billy Goat Tavern came on New Year's Eve 05 when my cousin and former friend decided to head to Navy Pier to see the fireworks. On the way to the Pier, low and behold the Billy Goat was right on the path. Now I knew about the Curse and the SNL sketch, but never did I imagine the history that was inside surrounding the walls and the ambience. The famous "cheeseborger cheeseborger cheeseborger" line reigns true here, despite having other items on the menu too. But putting history aside, the "cheeseborger" was something unique that I quickly identified as not a typical burger. Whether it was their unique, soft, flakey bun they use of the actual seasoning of the beef, something just jumps out and says to you, "That's a good cheeseborger." You won't find fries here or Pepsi as the other half of the famous line goes "...no Pepsi, Coke, no fries, chips", but who needs them. We even got the chance to meet the owner of the place. So if you're looking for a piece of Chicago history with your "cheeseborger" and chips, this is a definite place to go.
Best greasy dive in the city – Billy Goats is the best dive for a "cheezborger". My most recent visit was the Navy Pier location. Just a speck but still Billy Goats. There is an old saying among the yacht crowd that sometimes you just have to dock at the seediest joint on the wharf. This is that joint. I love it.
interesting place below the street... – There's a lot of history behind this place in regards to the 1945 world series. But let's get back to the restaurant: cheese-burger, cheese-burger, cheese-burger. The burgers are simple: croisant burger with cheese, put the toppings on yourself. it's a simple local sports/dive bar under michigan ave. a little peice of history in chicago.
JAYZUSSSS!!! It's Billy Goat's !!!!!!! – From days when there were FOUR daily newspapers, printers 'round the clock, paper hats and ink smudges, and a shotn'abeer was the stuff of life.
It is THE definitive bar downtown and the food is exactly as promised. If you don't get into it, you have issues. Either see a counselor or get a real job instead of floating information around the globe. OH, and before you leave...buy one of those stupid T-shirts to show you have a true weltaunschaung.
Sadly, in the interest of income, there are two supposed clones. A shame, really--like pretending there are two Michael Jordans. Feasible, but highly unlikely. Culture can't be franchised.
Get thee to the Goat's, or get thee gone.
my favorite things – I can't believe all the people who get on here and complain about the food. First of all, it's a bar OK, and an historic one at that. Secondly, it's a tribute to Chicago journalism. It would take several days to read all of the old newspaper clippings of journalists such as Mike Royko. If you're not interested in any of that, then I guess there's no point in you going, really. I like the atmosphere. There are a gazillion yuppie sports bars/brew pubs and they smell in a different sort of way. This is the real deal. Been underneath Michigan Av since around 1965. Nick, the friendly bartender has been there quite a long time as well and he always has time to chat if he's not busy with somebody else. I also like the fact that there is rarely or no music playing. Quite a refreshing change from the nasty blaring night clubs and sports bars playing jimmy buffett. You don't have to shout at each other to be heard. As for the food, why complain about the thin burgers? I think less red meat is probably good for you, no? you wanna big burger, go someplace else. besides, the the traditional pickles, onions, ketchup is what makes them just fine in my book. Wouldn't wanna eat 'em that often, but like I say, it's mainly a bar. This joint is special. In short, if you wanna go have a few drinks, hang out, browse hundreds of old photos, watch a ball game (or movie) on TV, and read up on some chicago newspaper history, this place is the one and only. Long live the Billy Goat Tavern!
Friendly, fun, take tourists or eat after a hard day at your public relations/advertising job – It is what it is. Cheap, smokey, friendly, fun. We walk in, "HEY!! JAMISON AND WATER! HEY DARK DRAFT!" A couple of greasy burgers, the cubs game. It's all good.
Break a tooth? the dentist at the bar takes a look. Want to talk movies. there's the Tribune's film critic. Want to pet a goat... there's a goat (when the cubs are in the playoffs).
Want to be famous? Order and eat a 17 pattie burger (the current record.)
They have fun with the Saturday Night Live thing, but it is what it is -- a real old school newspaper bar.
User review by harvestpastor – Downtown Chicago... Got two Doubles, Chips and Cokes for less then $15.00. Mickey D's doesn't come close!
Hey I can eat at McD's everywhere. When in Chicago go to the places that ain't everywhere else.
Bad Service? At least Billy Goat doesn't even cast any illussions to having good service like the francises that always boast of having... without really furnishing. The honesty is refreshing.
It is actually a great laid back meal on the Mag Mile that is more genuine then all the upper crust stuff going on upstairs.
awfull – bad burger, bad service, McDonald is much better !!!!!!!!!!! well I have to put 10 words for such a bad restaurant I can say bad, bad, bad
terrific – If you go to the Billy Goat for the great food, you're probably missing the point. By the way, I love the burgers. They may be playing off the comedy of John Belushi, but who cares!!!! This is a Chicago classic that every Cubs fan needs to go to. The guy yelled at my 12 year old daughter when she was ordering and she gave it right back to him. That's the fun of going to the Goat. Of course, throw away the menu, cuz everyone ends up with a double cheezborger anyway!!! We loved it and will be back!!!
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Billy Goat Tavern on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.