Photo: Merla/Shutterstock

11 Signs You Learned to Drink on the South Side of Chicago

Student Work
by Jill Meinecke Feb 16, 2015

1. You know Western Avenue’s pubs like the back of your hand.

Cork and Kerry’s beer garden is your stomping ground and everyone knows you by name at Keegan’s Pub.

2. You know the Crosstown Classic is the only time you’d civilly drink with Cubs fans (well, sort of).

Tailgating before the game is just as, if not more, important than the game itself. The classic north vs south side rivalry is serious, so serious in fact that throughout the year, fights between Cubs and White Sox fans routinely break out in unassuming bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. During the Crosstown Classic, though, you’ve shared tailgating space with your enemies and have even joined them for an Old Style or game of bean bags.

3. You’ve violated open container laws while chatting up cops at the Southside Irish Parade.

You remember the good old days of the Southside Irish Parade in Beverly, before neighbors started complaining about drunken idiots peeing in their front lawns. Common was the sight of you and your friends drinking green beer while discussing the finer points of bagpiperry with uniformed police.

4. You’ve been to house parties in Little Village.

You’ve definitely attended raging house parties in Little Village. Whether it was someone’s old aunt’s abandoned house, where you had to climb a ladder to an attic to get in, or a random quinceañera party that you may or may not have been invited to, you’ve spent some serious fun times drinking in the Mexico of the Midwest.

5. After a night of partying, you’ve woken up in Gary, Indiana.

Something must have gone either amazingly right or amazingly wrong the night before to have awoken in Gary, Indiana. Chances are you passed out and your friends knew a safe house (over 10,000 abandoned houses to choose from) to crash at for the night. Whatever shenanigans landed you in Scary Gary (affectionately dubbed as “the serial killer’s playground”) after a night of partying must have been deserving of such accommodations.

6. You’ve boasted your Irish heritage to perfect strangers.

In between shots of Jameson, you’ve solicited perfect strangers to endure never-ending tirades of how Irish you really are. If you weren’t born in Ireland, then your parents or grandparents sure as hell were. You’ve got plans to visit Ireland for a pub crawl, and everyone better believe (or else) that you’re more Irish than anyone else at the bar and damn proud of it. “Do you see this red hair? All natural baby!”

7. You appreciate Old Style.

Nothing has you running to fill spots at the tavern faster than an Old Style sign out front. Just because Old Style officially sponsors the Cubs doesn’t mean its crisp lager taste can’t be enjoyed in south side neighborhood pubs, in your fridge, and at any major function or event. It just ain’t Chicago style if it ain’t Old Style.

8. You’ve partied in garages, in pools, under tarps, in cars, in alleys, and everywhere in between.

You know you hail from a hard-core group of partiers when the block party invite reads, “Rain or Shine!” Pouring rain in the summer? You and your friends don’t cancel the party: you improvise. You’ve chugged beers from the “safety” of underneath a tarp, inside a garage, inside a car, huddled underneath roofs in alleys, and anywhere else you could manage to stay dry. And if all else fails, you just jump in the pool with your clothes on!

9. You fought with perfect strangers over which one of you, exactly, is more of a south sider.

After several pitchers of beer, you and your friends have repeatedly argued over who was born and raised closer to Midway Airport or Comiskey Park, who is more of a diehard White Sox fan, and who could put down more Polish sausages.

10. You’ve jumped at any chance to go to a kegger “out in the country” at any of the state schools for a weekend.

When all that city life gets to you, you text your friends who go to school at NIU, EIU, ISU or SIU. You’ve driven 2 hours each way just to go party it up for their homecoming, spring break, or random giant frat party, because you know there’s nothing better to do in the cornfields than to throw giant keggers.

11. You’re the first one to text “Where the party at?” the second the thermometer hits 65 degrees after a long winter.

Spring fever hits Chicago hard in April when the long, harsh winter nears an end and the weather gets warmer. The instant the thermometer reads 65 degrees, you’re out in shorts, grilling brats, beer in hand, and texting your friends “Where the party at tonight?” It is so on.

Discover Matador