Open Bar

The Billy Goat Tavern

Year opened 1964 (original location, 1934)

Who drinks here Mostly tourists, but journalists still turn up. It remains the go-to spot for newsroom retirement parties.

Signature drink The Horny Goat (citrus rum, lemon-lime soda, cranberry juice) $6.

All the presidents’ gin Multiple presidents have come, seeking to burnish their Everyman cred. In 1991, Bush the Elder wanted columnist Mike Royko—who was the bar’s most famous regular—to join him for a burger. Royko declined.

Royko’s ghost Owner Sam Sianis says his friend Royko, who died in 1997, continues to haunt his beloved Billy Goat.

Goatlore In 1978, Saturday Night Live’s “Olympia Diner” sketches based on The Billy Goat turned the bar into a tourist attraction (who can forget John Belushi bellowing “Cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger”?). The Cubs’ dismal showing is attributed to a curse dating to 1945, when then-owner Billy Sianis’s pet goat was denied entry to a World Series game at Wrigley Field.

Send recommendations for this feature to

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Tanveer Ali is a Chicago-based journalist who is Chicago's data reporter and social media producer. He has reported for the Chicago News Cooperative, WBEZ, and GOOD Magazine, among others. A former staff writer at the Detroit News, he received a master's in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.