Bust out your brackets and buckle up for the basketball blow-out of the year. Make a plan to catch the NCAA Division Men's Basketball Tournament at fun area restaurants, taverns and breweries from March 13 through April 4. Or grab great eats to watch at home with tons of delicious pizzas, burgers, wings and things to choose from. See a full list of restaurants on Chicago’s North Shore Food + Drinks listings.
Best Spots to Watch
Big screens and big fun are the name of the game when you want to catch all the court action. Cheer on your favorite college team with friendly fans at Players Pub (1250 S. River Rd., Prospect Heights) filled with collectible sports memorabilia and serving up their twist on traditional American comfort food and upscale bar fare. Bluestone (1932 Central St., Evanston) is a favorite gathering place for locals and the sports crowd with multiple screens, friendly staff, hand-rolled thin crust pizzas and nightly specials.
Village Inn, Skokie
Perfect Pizza Pies
Pick up plenty of pizza and maybe a “slam-dunk” deal. Family-friendly D’Agostino’s Pizzeria Glenview (2350 Lehigh Ave., Glenview; 241 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling) does thin crust, Chicago-style deep dish, calzones and gluten-free versions. A hot spot for any sporting event, The Village Inn Sports Bar & Grill (8050 Lincoln Ave., Skokie) boasts their award-winning thin crust, but serves up thick, pan and stuffed pies, too. Pinstripes (1150 Willow Rd., Northbrook) features a delicious Italian/American bistro menu with wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads — with classic bowling and bocce on the side!
Happ Inn, Northfield
Burgers: Specialties or Build Your Own
Why not switch up viewing spots and sample burgers across the North Shore at the same time? Grandpa’s Place (1868 Prairie Ave., Glenview) serves up eight different ways from their signature half-pound Grandpa Burger to a set of Mini Burgers to share. The Cadillac Burger at Johnny’s Kitchen & Tap (1740 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview) is hand-packed and covered in Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, crispy onions and BBQ sauce. Hit up Firehouse Grill (750 Chicago Ave., Evanston) for their eponymous Firehouse Burger, a char-grilled, half-pound black Angus beauty on a brioche bun. Or build your own with the array of fresh toppings at The Happ Inn Bar & Grill (305 Happ Rd., Northfield).
Fred's Garage, Winnetka
Who’s Got a Great Wing Game?
You could hardly cheer on your team without a pile of tasty wings. Fred’s Garage (574 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka) dazzles with choices of Ginger-Soy, Buffalo, Bourbon BBQ (fried & grilled) or Sweet Chili. The offerings at Little Honeycomb (540 Lincoln Ave. #2327, Winnetka) lay up some Sriracha Bourbon, Buffalo or Garlic Parmesan options. While Valley Lodge Tavern (1141 Central Ave., Wilmette) adds a Teriyaki flavor experience besides their BBQ or Buffalo versions.
Double Clutch Brewing Co., Evanston
BARS, BITES AND MORE
Brew Pubs are a Slam Dunk
So many local breweries offer excellent eats along with their pours (go in or get to go). A hip gathering spot showcasing an extensive collection of classical cars Double Clutch Brewing Company (2121 Ashland Ave., Evanston) brews beers inspired by the traditions and passions of German brewing. Hangar Two by Tangled Roots Brewing Company (1100 N. Milwaukee Ave., Glenview) crafts a portfolio of beers to suit any palette, from lagers to stouts and beyond. The signature brews at Smiley Brothers Brewing Co. (1615 Oak Ave., Evanston) often complement their Texas BBQ and wood-fired pizzas. Ten Ninety Brewing Co. (1025 Waukegan Rd., Glenview) aims for more unique flavors in their small batch beers. A quintessential neighborhood bar welcomes you with top-notch tavern fare, Evanston’s Ridgeville Tavern (1520 Sherman Ave., Evanston) has plenty of large-screen TV’s to complement the beer, wine and crafted cocktails.
City Works Eatery & Pour House, Wheeling
Hop Over for Craft Beer on Tap
Experience Tapville Social (810 Grove St., Evanston) where you can sample an extensive list of craft libations that include rotating varieties of craft beer from self-pour taps. Choices abound with 90 local and global crafts on draft at City Works Eatery & Pour House (365 W. Dundee Rd., Wheeling). Along with their Texas-style barbecue, Pit & Tap (1168 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette) brings in excellent craft beers from around the U.S., as well as local faves. Yard House (1880 Tower Dr., Glenview) boasts nearly 100 craft beers on hand from crisp to hoppy to ciders. Tap House Grill (1090 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling) made from scratch "addictive" food alongside a large selection of local "creative" handcrafted, exclusive and rare beers on tap.