Descend the murky stairs and "Butt on in" as the sign says. Made famous by John Belushi's "Cheeseborger, cheeseborger, cheeseborger" Saturday Night ... More
Billy Goat Tavern
Descend the murky stairs and "Butt on in" as the sign says. Made famous by John Belushi's "Cheeseborger, cheeseborger, cheeseborger" Saturday Night Live skit, the Billy Goat Tavern never fails to please in all of its sleazy glory. For a truly authentic experience, enter late when all the tourists have left. Check out the old Mike Royko columns and photographs on the walls. For lunch and dinner you can order a hotdog, a ham and cheese or a "cheeseborger," but you cannot order fries, only chips. Try the "Doublacheez" for a wallop.
Billy Goat Tavern is an amazing place to eat. Their cheeseburgers are delicious, a little greasy but that doesn’t bother me because they are so good. Definitely a well known place that I would recommend everyone goes to at least once in their life. It is delicious, it is small, but that also makes it cozy. Go, the food is great.
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.
When on a business trip, my buddy grilled the doormen on where 'they' go for beers (not the franchise places they were pointing us 'tourists' to). They grinned and gave us directions to the Billy Goat. We wandered under Michigan Ave past the urine soaked mattresses and stumbling drunks wondering if we'd made a wrong turn that we'd really regret. But no, there it was and we hesitated at the door and then plunged in. Aged newspaper clipping adorned every wall. The counters were 1960s linoleum (last installed in the 1960s apparently). There was nothing elegant about the place and it was simply wonderful. The burgers and fries were nothing special but the beer (from a local microbrewery if memory serves) was great. The conversation and ambiance was worth the walk.
Billy Goat is now a chain coming out of the national popularity this original location has received but the chain locations don't have its raw decor. This is the one and only original.
Billy Goats doesn't play to the SNL skit. The skit played to Billy Goats. You can't assume they are taking and hyping it up, it is what they have always done. I don't even know what to say to you that had Billy Goats at Navy Pier. What kind of person would eat at the Pier when the original is so close. The food is wonderful, the service is great and the value is the best in town. I say give it a shot.
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