Darts. A word that is most definitely synonymous with old people and jolly old England. Besides the classic billiard table in most bars across the country, most “indoor leisure sports” are a thing of the past. Most young people don’t need a reason to drink. It surrounds our nightlife. We migrate between bars, pubs, ale houses and nightclubs frequently; some of us nightly. But if you’re looking for a decent neighborhood bar with something more to do while you chug and sip, darts is one option that seems to be making a decent comeback in the Chicagoland area.

(credit: mullensbarandgrill.com)

Close to Wrigley Field and a slew of trendy bars and pubs, there’s a lot going on. Like most pubs, they always have sports on the big screens and a touchtunes jukebox blasting on high. They usually have at least 12 beers on tap, including seasonal and local brews. It also doesn’t hurt that they have a full service kitchen. They have 3 dart boards in back near tables for casual play, or just for hanging out.

Note: There is also a foosball table if you’re feeling frisky.

If trendy collegiate isn’t your style, check out Cody’s, a neighborhood pub that is a little darker and a bit more homey than most. A huge plus, is that it is super dog friendly. A back yard/patio with outdoor dart boards, a grill, “bags” and a bunch of picnic tables makes for a great time in warmer months. If you feel like shooting darts, they have a separate area inside with 2 dart boards, a couple of tables, 2 TV’s and a pinball machine. That’s right, I said pinball! Reasonably priced drinks, and about 6 beers on tap including goose island drafts among the usual domestics.

If you’re into the authentic Irish pub, Look no further than Mulligans in Roscoe Village. Guinness on tap and $3 Jameson shots. Need I say more? Oh! They also have a great dart setup. Near the back of the room they have 7 well lit boards, evenly space for use. If you’re feeling like a dart shark, check out one of their blind draw dart tournaments they have twice a month.

NOTE: Robey Pizza Co across the street makes a killer hoagie.

(credit: ricochetstavern.com)

Lincoln square is mostly known for Chicago’s version of Octoberfest every year. Right on Lincoln is Ricochets, a pretty neat bar. Nothing fancy, but the crowd has always seemed a bit younger and chipper than most. They have three dart boards, but the kicker is that they also have electronic scoreboards. You don’t like all that subtraction in 301 or 501? Just type in your score and it does the rest! I know it doesn’t sound like a hard gig, but trust me, more often then not people can’t subtract 57 from 226 off the top of their heads.

It’s 169 by the way. (Ed. Note: he’s right, we double checked with a calculator and everything.)

(credit: The Mutiny's Facebook)

… And for those of you who like loud, crass and bitchin’, there is always The Mutiny. A very entertaining metal/punk bar, most people don’t realize they even have dart boards unless they turn on the specific dart related lighting for you, but you have to ask nicely. Other than darts, they always have super great specials on cheap draft beer, loud music and a free pool table. Don’t forget to look up and check out the album art on the ceiling tiles. I’ve seen some decent local music here, and don’t be surprised if you run into someone hanging out for the night who just happens to be in town on tour. It’s happened a few times.

Kevin Kern exclaims his love for darts at Moe's Tavern (credit: Mason Johnson/CBS)

These may not be the best bars for competitive dart players, but they definitely are the best if you’re just looking to hang out, have a good time and you have darts on the mind. All darts mentioned are steel tip darts. not the lame plastic tip crap you find in suburban bowling alleys. There are a lot of other great bars that have boards, so here are some honorable mentions:

  • Sidekicks: decent pizza, also has ridiculous Karaoke
  • Will’s Northwoods Inn: if you feel like arguing with some Packer fans
  • The Levee: if you like danger, and don’t mind getting mugged
  • Moe’s Tavern: there is no description that can truly sum up the ambiance of Moe’s
Dave Johnson, CBS Chicago