Think you need IV therapy and a full bottle of Ibu on New Year’s Day? Try Black Wednesday, or Thanksgiving Eve, which has become a contender for the biggest drinking day of the year. And why not? You can reconnect and commiserate with old chums the day before facing drunk uncle, bawdy granny, questions about your relationship (or lack thereof) and ten pounds of leaden foodstuffs in the gut. Some smart Chicago bars offer festive drink and food specials, retro arcade games and XYZ that say “welcome back home.”
Timothy O’Toole’s Pub
622 North Fairbanks Court
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 642-0700
www.timothyotooles.com

Since your relatives may try to cut yours off on Thanksgiving, indulge in a “Bucket of Ball” at Timothy O’Toole’s Pub during its seventh annual “Turkey Testicle  Festival” and pumpkin pie eating competition on Black Wednesday, November 23. The winner of the turkey testicle eating contest is rewarded with a whole frozen turkey and the  pumpkin pie winner gets a $25 gift certificate (be sure to show up at O’Toole’s and register before 9 p.m. for either contest). Moisten your mouth with one of 48 craft brews on tap, or imbibe with Black Wednesday’s drink specials, including: $6 pints of Guinness “Black List” beverages; $4 pints of Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light; $6 Absolut mixers; and $6 Fireball shots. Try chef’s Thanksgiving themed dishes like a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Plate; Open Faced Hot Turkey Sandwich; Deep Fried Stuffing; and a “Bucket of Balls” – deep fried turkey testicles served with choice of dipping sauce.

aliveOne
2683 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 348-9800
www.aliveone.com

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Start early on Wednesday, Nov. 23 when the Lincoln Park bar features a Half-Price Everything Happy Hour from 5 to 7 p.m. or stop in anytime on Drinksgiving for aliveOne’s signature craft cocktails. Options like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds as well as the Hunter S. Thompson with Novo Fogo Cachaca, Cointreau and lime, will be half-off all night long. Put dibs on a pool table (free to play on Black Wednesday) and don’t miss the front bar’s great selection of microbrews and the city’s only all-live music jukebox, with countless options for sing-a-longs, mordant nostalgia or just plain fun. 

Headquarters Beercade
213 W. Institute Place
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 291-8735
www.hqbeercade.com

Both locations (River North and Lakeview) pin the needle on the nostalgia meter at a solid 10 with free game play on more than 60 games; enough fun cocktail and craft beer options to either enhance or dim youthful memories; and menu items reminiscent of what you slammed after school – like house made pizza rolls, Ravioli Oh’s (mini beef ravioli with sweet red wine tomato sauce and gorgonzola, served in a can) and something dubbed The Grilled F**king Cheese Experience sided with tomato soup, fries and a pudding cup. Meet your buds on Black Wednesday for a Drinksgiving event with Avery Brewing.

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Public House
400 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 265-1240
www.publichousechicago.com

The gastropub partners with Tallgrass Brewery with a representative on-site from 5 to 7 p.m. Sip  complimentary samples of three Black Wednesday-inspired brews: Buffalo Sweat, Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat and Bourbon Barrel Buffalo Sweat. Executive Chef Jeremy Tannehill and Corporate Pastry Chef Amy Arnold collaborate on a housemade food pairing to accompany the complimentary sample of the brews and if you’ve ever dined at PH, you know it’ll be stellar.  All three beers will be available by the pint for $5 all day long in honor of Black Wednesday or go with a flight of all three for $9.

Division Street Entertainment District
Between State Street and Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 642-2344
www.rushanddivision.com

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Why party at one bar when you can move among ten of them on Black Wednesday? Participating Thanksgiving Eve Division Street Entertainment District bars include The Lodge, She-nannigans, The Hangge-Uppe, The Original Mother’s, Mother’s Too, Coconutz, River Shannon, Streeter’s Tavern, Pippin’s Tavern and Mahoney’s Pub & Grille. Hop on the complimentary trolley between bars to create your own Pre-Feast Pub Crawl with drink specials, games and prizes at each venue.

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Post Author: Jacqueline Runice.