The Chicago Cubs (along with the Cleveland Indians) are in the 2016 World Series, so it’s time to confess our love of the Billy Goat Tavern. After all, it’s closely tied to the Cubs’ record over the years—at least since 1945.
If you don’t know the story, check it out here. In brief, the Cubs were in the 1945 World Series, game four, to be exact. William Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, took his ticket to the game and his pet goat to the ballpark. The goat, Murphy, was denied entry because, well, he was a goat. The ushers said, “no animals” and, on appeal to the Cubs owner, he said “the goat stinks.” No goat.
In frustration or retaliation, Mr. Sianis reportedly claimed, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more. The Cubs will never win a World Series so long as the goat is not allowed in Wrigley Field.” And the legend of the curse was born. Over the years, the legend grew, and even though goats have been brought onto the field to reverse the “curse,” the Cubs still haven’t won a Series.
Is this the year when all is forgiven?
Stay tuned to the World Series to find out. But in the meantime, here’s our experience with the Billy Goat Tavern, circa 2016!
First, we had to find it. We followed our mobile GPS and it took us to a stairway that appeared a little dicey. Gathering our courage and on a quest, we followed the path down the stairs and stood, bewildered, sure that we were in the right place, but not seeing it.
We looked down, and there it was. For those old enough to remember the “cheezborger” sketch from a 1978 Saturday Night Live episode, the signage might even be familiar. While the sketch called it the Olympia Café, history says it was based on the Billy Goat Tavern, which is located on Lower North Michigan Avenue.
Once we were inside, we sat at a table with a red and white checked vinyl tablecloth and talked with a waiter who advised us, “We’ve got the best beer. Billy Goat beer, light, dark, or Schlitz on tap.” Any other choices were, essentially, laughable.
The menu was essentially cheezborgers, which turned out to be perfectly grilled burgers with cheese, offered in original, double (“the Best”), or triple (“Much Better”). You could also get a plain burger, or a variety of hot sandwiches: steak, ham, salami, hot dog, grilled cheese, or a variety of egg sandwiches. For the price, you probably won’t find a better burger, so go ahead–eat two.
There’s no restaurant that is more old school Chicago than the Billy Goat, and no place that has a history like this one! Today, the Billy Goat is part of a small chain—you can even find them in at O’Hare Airport and other locations across Chicago. If you are there, give them a try.
Just do it soon. You never know what impact you may have on the “curse.”