Bears fans drown sorrows in free drinks after Lincoln Square bar picks up tab

Chicago
By Chicago 3 Min Read

If Bears fans have to keep watching their team blow it week after week, at least this time some of them got free beer.

As the Bears extended their losing streak — which stretches back to last season — to 14, the Claddagh Ring Pub in Lincoln Square decided to bet on the home team — with pretty high stakes.

“We’re so confident that the @chicagobears are going to win this Sunday, that if they don’t, your entire tab is on us,” the bar posted on Instagram.

Claddagh Ring Pub, 2306 W. Foster Ave., ended up paying the price after the Bears blew a 21-point lead against the previously winless Denver Broncos, who had just been trounced by the Miami Dolphins 70-20 the week before.

As the game progressed, so did fans’ drinking patterns, said bar owner Kris Jackson. At points when the Bears appeared to have a shot at winning, fans slowed down. When it seemed like they’d once again do what the Bears do and lose, the drinking pace shot up.

“There were Bears fans rooting for them to win, and Bears fans rooting for the free beer,” Jackson said.

In the midst of a disheartening losing streak, the “wild atmosphere” of pounding on the bar, whooping and cheering was a welcome change, he said.

Chicago Bears fans react to the score during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.

Chicago Bears fans react to the score during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

“When the teams aren’t doing too well, that kind of hurts our pockets. It hurts the business,” Jackson said.

He saw that in action during last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. While much of the attention was on Taylor Swift’s attendance in Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce’s suite, Bears fans hung their heads and left the bar early during the 41-10 blowout.

So this week, he decided to incentivize people to come and stay, risking everyone’s bar tab on a Bears win. In all, the bar ended up paying around $5,000 in drinks, Jackson estimated.

He’s hopeful the Bears will end the dark days of losing Thursday when they play the Washington Commanders. But other than that, he said, the season looks bleak.

“They’ll be lucky to win three or four games this season,” he said.

After an 0-4 start to the season, the Bears are among the worst teams in the league. In their division, the Detroit Lions lead the NFC North with a 3-1 record, followed by the Green Bay Packers at 2-2 and the Minnesota Vikings at 1-3.

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