Ok so the food is greasy, yeah, and the place smells, so what! Billy Goat Tavern is Awesome. This a great place to visit and just have a snack and to say you've been there.
The food is good and greasy, just the way I like it.
The people there are nice enough and its especially good to hit up when you've been drinking and want a munchie spot
Chee-burger, Chee-burger, Chee-burger! No fries-Chips! No Coke-Pepsi! Legend has it that this hole in the wall luncheonette was the inspiration for the skit made famous on Saturday night live by John Belushi, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray among others. To this day the staff still plays it up for the tourist crowd. Good burgers. Worth checking out on your visit to the windy city.
Cheezborger, Cheezborger- If youve ever heard this phrase made popular by John Belushi from old Saturday Night Live episodes, then youve heard of Billy Goats Tavern. Popular for their made to order cheezborgers and their No FriesChips policy, this historic eatery makes a great lunch spot. The burgers taste fantastic but the buns are so incredibly thick you should get the double meat patty so you dont taste just bread. You should also check into some of the rich history that surrounds the place, especially if youre a Cubs fan. Find out why the Cubs havent won a World Series since 1945 and have lunch at this very Chicago tavern.
PROS: great story, good food
CONS: thick bread
The food is reasonably priced and my entire family LOVES this place. Okay the wine is bad, the beer is basic, but you can get a cheap rum and diet coke or a gin and tonic which is fine.
The cheezeburgers are great--not more greasy than fast food, but without the chemicals. Try the steak sandwich.
Think the burgers, chicken breast or steak is bland? Duh--just put on raw or grilled onions! Or both. The buns are fresh Italian and tasty. A+++
Fries are great too. The staff is funky, the decor is funky and interesting. If you get to know the staff, the guys are very nice.
Not for suburbanites. Not known for cleanliness. But that's okay, it's just fine for building your immune system. Keep that hand sanitizer away!
Please. this is just resting on its SNL laurels.
Cheezborger cheezborger. pepsi pepsi chips chips.
come on. a tasteless grilled burger on a wonder bun. and too expensive. if downtown go to LuxBar.
Or go to M Burger on Huron off Michigan.
Pros: the signs around the place. nice nostalgia
Cons: the food
As a journalism student, this place is legendary, and it's a juxtaposition of greasy dive and museum. It's so neat seeing all of the headlines and byline on the walls and imagining the great SNL actors and journalists who have eaten here before you.
The menu is small, which I wouldn't mind if each item were truly good. I had a double cheeseburger, since that's what they are famous for, but it fell short of expectations. The patties were incredibly thin and the cheese was not of very good quality. I can see why the unpretentious atmosphere would be a favorite among industry members, and I saw quite a few business folk chatting it up and having a grand old time with beer and burgers.
Come here for the experience, but if you want great burgers hit up Epic Burger or Edzo's.
Pros: Atmosphere, Decor
The staff was almost as strange as it's patrons...all with as much character as the hambuger bun I was served, quickly left. Some may enjoy it's vibe....
We've only been to Chicago three times and already it feels like we've gotten into a habit of going to Billy Goat's.
When we've flown over from the UK and are tired and jet-lagged, the tavern is great to go on our first night for a carb fest. We love the 'cheseborgers' and the chance to sit and watch the world go by.
Of course it's not the cleanest, flashiest place...but there's loads of those kinds of places elsewhere.
Go, enjoy and know you've seen something bit different.
Pros: atmosphere, food
Cons: whats not to like?
To the rather impertinent Brit - suppose you are entitled to your opinion, though I've been in some dive pubs in the UK that are revered by the locals and couldn't see why but then I wasn't a local. First of all, dive is the word - perhaps not in the OED as used in regards to Billy Goat's but your culinary expectations should be low when that word is used in conjunction with any bar in the States. Second, you're there for the history so if you can't get into that, then nothing else follows, including the staff's perception of your purpose in being there so if your G&T is not up to snuff, go elsewhere. Third, I first became acquainted with Billy Goat's in 1968 while working part-time in the Wrigley Building when I was old enough only to be served a Coke. In 1989, I returned with my husband (who is a Brit, by the way) and my sister and who should walk in but Mike Royko! We bought his book that was being sold behind the bar, 'Sez Who' and Royko personalized it to us. Nick, the bartender, was definitely friendly. Sometimes it's you, the guest, that has to make an effort to the locals.
On holiday in Chicago with my Girlfriend and after reading the history behind the BGT we decided to have a drink and some food on a Sunday evening at the original location.
On entering the bar at about 7.30pm we nearly turned around and walked out again. If you're thinking of going to BGT DON'T EXPECT 1, a smile- 2, any eye contact from the staff- 3, a please or thank you- 4, a decent drink- 5, any sort of entertainment.
However...you CAN EXPECT 1, surly service without a smile - 2, a smelly, scruffy establishment devoid of any sort of atmosphere ( yes I'm aware of all the history but there are plenty of museums with history...and they tend to have a better atmosphere) 3, A packet of crisps (or chips as yanks call them) with your burger...nice! 4,loads of grainy photo's of the original owner (some Greek bloke who looks like Colonel Saunders) with various 'celebs' who've been through the doors 5, To wait 10 minutes to get served as the grease-ball proprieter is ordering more bbq sauce from his suppliers - 6, a drink that is completely flat and warm, all seved up in a filthy glass inside a filthy bar.
In short this place deserves to go out of business, it's a scruffy dump, the staff and owners are rude...and I wouldn't feed my dog Patch on the food from their kitchen. Avoid.
Pros: Good Location
Cons: everything else
For the out of towners who may not know much about Chicago, the famous Billy Goat Tavern underneath the viaducts on Michigan Ave by Navy Pier is a classic restaurant sketch come to life from the old Saturday Night Live days, just like the other classic sketch of Hub's Fast Food Restaurant with "the juice". For Chicagoians, the Billy Goat is more than a hidden gem in Chicago. It's history dating back to the 1945 Chicago Cubs and the Curse of the Billy Goat. For me, my first go around with the Billy Goat Tavern came on New Year's Eve 05 when my cousin and former friend decided to head to Navy Pier to see the fireworks. On the way to the Pier, low and behold the Billy Goat was right on the path. Now I knew about the Curse and the SNL sketch, but never did I imagine the history that was inside surrounding the walls and the ambience. The famous "cheeseborger cheeseborger cheeseborger" line reigns true here, despite having other items on the menu too. But putting history aside, the "cheeseborger" was something unique that I quickly identified as not a typical burger. Whether it was their unique, soft, flakey bun they use of the actual seasoning of the beef, something just jumps out and says to you, "That's a good cheeseborger." You won't find fries here or Pepsi as the other half of the famous line goes "...no Pepsi, Coke, no fries, chips", but who needs them. We even got the chance to meet the owner of the place. So if you're looking for a piece of Chicago history with your "cheeseborger" and chips, this is a definite place to go.
Pros: Tourist spot, Made famous by SNL, "Cheeseborger Cheeseborger Cheeseborger..." Landmark in Chicago
Cons: "...No Pepsi, Coke, no fries, chips.", No Parking, small underground place
Billy Goats is the best dive for a "cheezborger". My most recent visit was the Navy Pier location. Just a speck but still Billy Goats. There is an old saying among the yacht crowd that sometimes you just have to dock at the seediest joint on the wharf. This is that joint. I love it.
Pros: It's so divey it's chic.
Cons: no french fries
There's a lot of history behind this place in regards to the 1945 world series. But let's get back to the restaurant: cheese-burger, cheese-burger, cheese-burger. The burgers are simple: croisant burger with cheese, put the toppings on yourself. it's a simple local sports/dive bar under michigan ave. a little peice of history in chicago.
Pros: location, food
Cons: service was a little rude
From days when there were FOUR daily newspapers, printers 'round the clock, paper hats and ink smudges, and a shotn'abeer was the stuff of life.
It is THE definitive bar downtown and the food is exactly as promised. If you don't get into it, you have issues. Either see a counselor or get a real job instead of floating information around the globe. OH, and before you leave...buy one of those stupid T-shirts to show you have a true weltaunschaung.
Sadly, in the interest of income, there are two supposed clones. A shame, really--like pretending there are two Michael Jordans. Feasible, but highly unlikely. Culture can't be franchised.
Get thee to the Goat's, or get thee gone.
Pros: It's real.
Cons: You're probably not.
I can't believe all the people who get on here and complain about the food. First of all, it's a bar OK, and an historic one at that. Secondly, it's a tribute to Chicago journalism. It would take several days to read all of the old newspaper clippings of journalists such as Mike Royko. If you're not interested in any of that, then I guess there's no point in you going, really. I like the atmosphere. There are a gazillion yuppie sports bars/brew pubs and they smell in a different sort of way. This is the real deal. Been underneath Michigan Av since around 1965. Nick, the friendly bartender has been there quite a long time as well and he always has time to chat if he's not busy with somebody else. I also like the fact that there is rarely or no music playing. Quite a refreshing change from the nasty blaring night clubs and sports bars playing jimmy buffett. You don't have to shout at each other to be heard. As for the food, why complain about the thin burgers? I think less red meat is probably good for you, no? you wanna big burger, go someplace else. besides, the the traditional pickles, onions, ketchup is what makes them just fine in my book. Wouldn't wanna eat 'em that often, but like I say, it's mainly a bar. This joint is special. In short, if you wanna go have a few drinks, hang out, browse hundreds of old photos, watch a ball game (or movie) on TV, and read up on some chicago newspaper history, this place is the one and only. Long live the Billy Goat Tavern!
Pros: no loud music, living history, Nick the bartender
It is what it is. Cheap, smokey, friendly, fun. We walk in, "HEY!! JAMISON AND WATER! HEY DARK DRAFT!" A couple of greasy burgers, the cubs game. It's all good.
Break a tooth? the dentist at the bar takes a look. Want to talk movies. there's the Tribune's film critic. Want to pet a goat... there's a goat (when the cubs are in the playoffs).
Want to be famous? Order and eat a 17 pattie burger (the current record.)
They have fun with the Saturday Night Live thing, but it is what it is -- a real old school newspaper bar.
Pros: Cheap, fast, fun
Cons: CHEAP food. Order something fancy...
Downtown Chicago... Got two Doubles, Chips and Cokes for less then $15.00. Mickey D's doesn't come close!
Hey I can eat at McD's everywhere. When in Chicago go to the places that ain't everywhere else.
Bad Service? At least Billy Goat doesn't even cast any illussions to having good service like the francises that always boast of having... without really furnishing. The honesty is refreshing.
It is actually a great laid back meal on the Mag Mile that is more genuine then all the upper crust stuff going on upstairs.
Pros: Good Burger, Good Price, No Pepsi
bad burger, bad service, McDonald is much better !!!!!!!!!!! well I have to put 10 words for such a bad restaurant I can say bad, bad, bad
If you go to the Billy Goat for the great food, you're probably missing the point. By the way, I love the burgers. They may be playing off the comedy of John Belushi, but who cares!!!! This is a Chicago classic that every Cubs fan needs to go to. The guy yelled at my 12 year old daughter when she was ordering and she gave it right back to him. That's the fun of going to the Goat. Of course, throw away the menu, cuz everyone ends up with a double cheezborger anyway!!! We loved it and will be back!!!
Pros: Cheap, Fun, Full of History
Cons: None in my book
I visited the BG for the first time recently because some family from out of state wanted to experience something that's authentic Chicago. We barely got through the door before the cook hassled us for our order. When we couldn't order right away he verbally insulted us. We decided to leave right then. If you've never been there before, I would recommend not wasting your time.
Cons: Rude Staff, Bad Atmosphere
There is much history in this basement...but the food is the worst I've ever had. Eat first before you go is the best advise I could give. One visit is all it takes, I can't believe that they have repeat customers. Get out of the 70's and into the new millinium, its all about customer service and great product today.
Pros: I didn't get sick
wmosler needs to stay uptown in the yuppy joints! not a trip to chicago goes by that i don't visit the billy goat, and jeff my favorite bartender, every day. i would gladly go home smelling like "day old beef suet and Luckey Strikes" rather than filet mignon and cuban cigars. see you in may!! my son can't wait for double cheese
It's a smelly grease pit. They would do better serving the old goat. But it's part of Chicago: the real city under the Wrigley Building, twenty feet below Michigan Ave. I tell people to go there to have a drink, spot a few local celebs (mostly reporters, politicians, and other chain smoking alcoholics). Don't bother with the food. By the way, you will leave smelling like day old beef suet and Luckey Strikes.
The only reason this place is even existing is because of an old Saturday Nite Live skit and the "curse". I've been to both-the food is over priced, tasteless and the serve lackluster at best. Don't waste your time nor money.
Pros: near United Ctr, parking
Cons: , tasteless food, no fries
In all honesty, I don't even know how that place stayed in business. Most of the food they have is terrible. The food is actually expensive when you consider the fact that you don't even get fries with your order. You have to order fries separately. The burgers are horrible. Flat and tasteless!! The buns they put them on are twice the size of the burgeres so you are eating mainly bread. The place simply looks like a place you would go to after work to have a couple of beers. I would never recommend it to anyone. Only the beers and drinks are worth the time to visit BillyGoats
Pros: good parking-depends, cheap drinks, clean bathrooms
Cons: , expensive, terrible food
This is a restaurant to experience what Akroyd and Belushi enjoyed in the '70's in Chicago. A place to grab a quick burger, chips (no fries) and a Coke (no pepsi). They were making double cheeze when we went. The patties are flat so a double is probably worth it more than the single cheeze.
Not recommended if you have a queasy stomach or nursing a hang over. The burgers are a bit greasy but remember, it is not a four star restaurant.
Highly recommended for the tourist during lunch.
Pros: Inexpensive, Nostalgia
Cons: , Not easy to find.
Everybody talks about the great hamburgers, well, the burgers are no different from the burger you can get at any other smoke-filled bar around the country. The service was rude and the "cook" told me to tip him. The real curse of the Billy Goat is on this tavern and its food. Don't waste your time and avoid at all costs.
Cons: , rude employees, over-rated
This is a great hangout for a beer/burger and watch the Cubs or any other game that is on. The buns make the burger, and you make it your way.
Pros: inexpensive, good meeting place
I was really disappointed in the Billy Goat Tavern. They serve very ordinary burgers, in fact many fast food burgers are better and I would have been happier eating one of them. Since the bun is too thick and the patties are thin, the main thing you taste is the bun.
The Billy Goat is unique mainly because of Mike Royko, and secondly SNL. Ambience is not even in the picture. The quality of product is not even an issue...it's ordinary.
The Billy Goat is an institution that has run its course until it gains another Royko to frequent it daily
A Chicago landmark? Sure. Worth checking out to soak up local lore? Definitely. Does the food stand on it's own? Certainly not!
By 'food', I mean the 'classic' cheezborger. I've had cheeseburgers here three times and have yet to be served anything even approaching Burger King quality, to say nothing of PJ Clarkes, Twisted Spoke, RJ Grunts, Weiners Circle, or any number of other 'burger-centric spots in the city.
The gigantic, bone-dry rolls require a Herculean effort to chew, and the thin, greasy patties inside are completely devoid of flavor. To put it plainly, this is one of the worst burgers I've ever eaten.
In the end, like watching a shell game being played on the El, eating here once is a worthwhile ritual in the process of becoming a Chicagoan. However, knowing enough to not come back should be part of that process as well...
Pros: Atmosphere, Local Flavor
Cons: Awful burgers
The BGT must still be open only because of SNL--if it weren't for that, the overpriced and undersized cheezborgers would have put them out of business long ago. You might want to go just to say you've gone, but you won't find any reason to rave about the food. Saying that, the service was fast and friendly and the walls were good for a quick read. Still, if you want a good burger in Chicago, go elsewhere.
Pros: Location, Service
Cons: Food, Prices
If you are looking for a thick burger made of quality beef that tastes like something you get at a friend's cookout -- go elsewhere! These burgers are way too greasy! They're also flavorless and thin -- like a McDonald's small, single-patty burger. As for ambience, there's not much. Atmosphere, (which is only attributed to the Saturday Night Live skits), quickly wears off.
Pros: Experience SNL skit
Cons: Greasy burgers, Bland burgers, little atmosphere
Cmon, are you really coming here for a 4 star meal? The cocktails, atmosphere and groups of people sitting around laughing and reading the history of Chicago are what this place is all about. SNL may have popularized it, but the Billy Goat is still the same place that Belushi and Akroyd depicted. Order a "doubla", have a beer, and enjoy some old city history, with the hundreds of photos and newspaper clippings on the wall. You will definitely catch a local reporter here if you drop by in the early evening. It is a "Not-so-secret under Michigan Avenue" hideaway, where you can escape the glamorous shops and sneak downstairs for some Chicago folklore, and some fun food and drinks. That's what makes it a great burger, not just the taste, but the flavor of it all.
Pros: fun, history, cheap eats
I just wanted to chime in because I thought the rating was awfully low. This is a nice place to get a great cheeseburger. Try to get away with just one!!
Let's be real. Is this restaurant getting top billing because it was immoralized on SNL? Or by sheer virtue that it resides where there's little competition. Because unless your taste-buds are dead, their burgers are the thinnest, blandest, most non-descript, waste of beef I've ever tasted. I walked in expecting a special treat, by legecy alone. I watched in horror as extremely thin patties were slapped on the grill. I wondered why everyone around me was ordering double and triple cheesebugers?. Well, I found out!!. Because I ordered the single!. It would take 3 of Billy Goat's patties to make 1 single cheeseburger from anywhere else. The bun was too big, but tasty. I ate my overpriced bread in disbelief. I scarffed down half and tossed the rest. I left in utter shock. The truth is, Billy Goat Tavern is really a goat....bbaaaadd.
Pros: Convenient, Parking
Cons: Taste, Price, Ambience
You cannot even include Billy Goat Tavern in this list let alone the top. Is that what you all call a burger? It is comparable to a McDonalds burger and even that will give some competition. I don't know about you, but when I eat a burger I like to taste meat, not just bread. The bun which is also of low quality, over powers this thin flimsy burger. This place should not be included on this list and is by far the worst burger I have ever had.
Cons: Flimsy Burger, Stale Bun, Bad Condiments
good coat of grease after a night of drinking, try kilroys in lansing, half the bun and 3 times the meat
Pros: quick, clean
Cons: too pricy, too greasy
I like the burger's quite a bit. No nonsense. Good prices. They serve it to you face up so you can put the condiments on how you like it. One down side is that there isn't any lettuce or tomato available. But I won't fight tradition.
Pros: Fast, Price, Tradition
Cons: No Lettuce
I wen here because of the SNL skit. I found that the food is pretty good too. Just as well because the staff didn't go into the SNL routine like I had hoped. I deliberately ordered fries and a coke. No fries Chips, No Coke, Pepsi!
The cheeseburgers are nice and greasy. In fact, the whole joint was greasy. But you can't really expect to go there and be entertained with swans and violin players. This is in every sense a dive and a joint that makes a fine burger.
Pros: a landmark of Chicago, tasty, fun
Cons: greasy, dreary
The Chicago atmosphere, the Blue Collar crowd...this is what Chicago style eating is all about!!
Pros: The Kaiser Roll, old chicago ambience, No Fries...Chips!
Cons: Good luck parking
Billy Goat Tavern - Where you can start your heart attack right away. If it wasn't for SNL, this place would be a just another slimey hole in the wall. I've eaten there on a number of occasions only because my fellow lunch mates wanted "Da Goat" but I find no appeal and there's nothing special about their burgers. Want fries? Nope, only chips. Sorry but times have changed not to mention the other Goat locations around Chicago serve fries, fairly good fries at that.
Cons: greasy, no fries, expensive
I've tried their cheezburgers several times (5x) at different locations and cannot see what the big fuss is . The sour dough bun it comes on masks the taste of the so called thin slice of meat they place on it. I've taken several guests (16) and they all agree. If you want a great tasting cheesburger try a double plain cheesburger at Portillo's . I guarantee you , you'll stop thinking the way about Billeeez. I will give ambience an 8 but the drinks are clouding your taste buds. I( I don't wrk for Portilo's0
The Burgers cost more than you would expect to pay for such a skinny burger
it's greasy food. the best hamburgers are at McCormick's in Lake Bluff
Cons: greasy, smoky, dirty
Sat and ate one hamgurger on Navy Pier. It was small dry and not very tasty. Even though it was plain,, a plain burger is the true taste test , i think
Pros: nice view
Cons: bad parking
great place to have a burger and a few drinks and meet people from all over the world, come as you are. Meet locals or people from anywhere in the world. Waiters are very friendly, and help you to meet people while there.
The burgers are disgusting. They're dry and unappetizing. I wouldn't recommend anyone who wanted a good burger to go to Billy Goat Tavern