First, let me be clear: People do not come to Billy Goat Tavern for a delicious meal. The hamburgers are mediocre at best and, if you’ve seen the Saturday Night Live skit that made this place famous, then you already know what they’ll say when you try to order fries or a soda. “No fries, cheeps!” “No Pepsi, Coke!” What you will find at the original subterranean Michigan Avenue joint is more than 80 years of history, a steady stream of newspaper reporters (Tribune Tower, where the Chicago Tribune is located, is within stumbling distance) and a disinterested staff made famous by SNL (actually, they’re pretty nice if you shake them out of their act). My recommendation: Come for the dive bar atmosphere and know that the cheezborgers are there, should you really need one after a few brews.
A number of Billy Goat outposts have opened across town (including one on Navy Pier, which is much more kid-friendly; tel. 312/670-8789), but you don’t get the same grit and reputation as with the original.