Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Where to Drink at MDW

On a layover in Chicago and deciding you need a drink at 9:30 in the morning? Sometimes I feel the same way. Must have something to do with flying Southwest, where I paid the $25 for early-bird and still ended up in the B group. Another problem with Southwest is the rinky dink airports you're stuck flying into to get somewhere else: Houston Hobby, Dallas Love Field, Chicago Midway. Yes, there is the advantage of not having to take a train to another terminal, but the dining options tend to be limited in both cuisine and hours of operation (looking at you, Hobby, with Wendy's the one place open at 8:30 at night). And at Midway, with the ONLY coffee shops being the world's busiest Dunkin' Donuts at the end of Terminal B and Big Shoulders Coffee at the end of Terminal C, you may have to consume an alcoholic beverage whether you meant to or not. So where are you gonna go?

Reilly's Daughter is one choice; rather, three choices, as there is one in the mini food court location in Terminal A and a two-part location in the main food court area that is separated by a seating area (pro tip- it's supposed to be seating for Reilly's but people sit there with food from other places all the time, so keep that in mind when seating elsewhere is scarce. That main food court has lost the good Greek food place and the Vienna Beef Chicago food place, and the place that sold CDs is gone from the airport as well, which I can't say is a surprise. But back to Reilly's Daughter: The Terminal A location has ten beers on tap, some of which you might even drink. Beers include Bud Light, Goose Island Green Line, Modelo, Hazy Little Thing, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin', and Sam Adams Summer Ale. There's not much ambience here, but most airport bars are rather soulless places.

The Reilly's Daughter in the Main Food court looks more the part of an Irish Pub. I could see myself forgetting that I was drinking in an airport.Fewer taps than in Terminal A, but they've got Stone IPA like all proper Irish Pubs. And much like a true Irish pub, you're bound to be stuck next to someone telling a story you don't care to hear. Interesting food options, like the $12.39 brussels sprouts with honeyed raisins and an "Irish quesadilla", which must mean it contains ginger.

Located at the beginning of Terminal B in the former Portillo's location, Gene's Bistro is a sleek, well-lit option with lots of TVs and a varied food menu. I don't care for a bar that bright, but at least it might keep you from falling asleep and missing your flight.

Windy City Taproom looks like an inviting bar you might find in any airport in the country. What I found ironic about this place is that this "taproom" has few tap options. Plenty of macro cans to choose from and not overly lit, unlike some of the patrons.

Situated in the middle of the councourse in Terminal A like an Albuquerque ART bus stop, Harry's is the highlight of the MDW beer drinking experience, especially for the draft selection. Bright, cramped, and busy, Harry's is still worth the visit for the true craft lover as well as for sports fans, as there is a huge display of Chicago sports memorabilia that is worth checking out. This is also the only airport bar to offer Chicago area beers that aren't made by Goose Island. Twelve draft beers include the usual found at the other spots, as well as Revolution Anti Hero IPA, Maplewood Son of a Juice hazy IPA, and Three Floyds Gumballhead.

Expect to pay $9 to $11 for most draft offerings. And please, act appropriately once on the plane so they don't take away our drinking privileges again. I miss the days when a water bottle full of gin and tonic was considered a carry on.

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