Few things are better than heading to your favorite ballpark, chomping into some fine baseball food, and washing it down with an overpriced beer. But every park has its specialties. So when I booked a trip out to Chicago, I wanted to be sure to check out something few other baseball towns can offer: the game from rooftops outside the stadium.
Now, the rooftops aren’t for everyone. Wrigley is certainly a historic ballpark with a great atmosphere and fans. But if you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy the game and some good eats, Skybox on Sheffield, while a little costly, won’t disappoint.
We got our all-inclusive tickets — all you can eat and drink — on one of the many Groupon-like sites and it saved us over $30 each. It came out to $86 per person. Navigating around Wrigley for a 1:20 afternoon game against the Reds, it was clear everyone had a substantial head start on the drinking front. Nothing an open bar tab and endless food ticket can’t fix.
We got through the chaos outside with surprising ease. The lower level of Skybox on Sheffield is an indoor lounge, complete with an appetizer bar and taco buffet, and a bar where we got our first round of drinks. The beer menu offered a nice array of local Goose Islands — and Budweiser products that we mainly stayed away from. The ladies in the group started with a Goose Island Skybox White, a light beer a little too fruity for my taste, while my friend and I went for the more standard wheat, 312. A quick look at the view to the field from the lounge and it was off to the appetizer bar to stock up with munchies to take to the seats. (Photo: Flickr/david.dames)
With beers and a few platefuls of pretzel bites stuffed with cheese and jalapenos in hand, it was time to head to the roof and lock down some seats. Up one level from the lounge is a roof deck stashed under the bleachers, complete with another bar and something of a barbecue pit. Another flight of stairs and we’ve got five seats locked up in the bleachers with a nice view down the first baseline. Still more than 25 minutes before the first pitch was plenty of time to polish off a few stuffed pretzel bites — particularly tasty when dipped in the spicy mustard, but a little dry if you got an un-stuffed bite — and our first round of beers.
Next up, a quick trip back downstairs to test the taco bar (and enjoy some air conditioning) before the game starts. The meats were surprisingly good for coming from a self-serve buffet line. The chicken packed a nice little kick, so for those who don’t like spicy, go for the shredded beef. I tackled a couple soft tacos, which served as a good second round of appetizers — despite a less-than-complete selections of toppings. (Photo: SportsandFood.com)
After downing a couple of tacos, we made it back to the seats in time to see the start of the bottom of the first, where the Cubs’ Tony Campana smacked a liner into left field and raced for a two-run inside-the-park homer. Not every day you see one of those in person.
A few innings of rest for our stomachs, and it was time for the entrées. The menu was packed with options, and while a part of me wanted to go with a loaded hot dog or brat — a baseball staple — the pulled pork was tough to pass up. Slathered in barbecue sauce and topped with coleslaw, at first bite I was more than happy with my decision. As an added bonus, the bun actually held up to the juicy barbecue instead of morphing into a soggy mess like a lesser bun would have.