A quick pop down at the Billy Goat Tavern

By Dylan Smith | Sep. 4, 2018

No LION conference in Chicago is complete without a late-night journey into the underbelly of the city, for a burger and drinks at the Billy Goat Tavern. Boot Strapper's ready — are you?

Here's Boot guarding the beer kitty back in 2013, sitting with a contingent of LIONs who fortified themselves with a round of double cheezborgers and cheeps, no fries.

The bar sits in the hidden warren of alleys underneath the surface streets of downtown Chicago, just across the loading dock of the Tribune Tower and steps from the former location of the Sun-Times —it's long been the hangout of journalists looking for a quick pick-me-up. Find it at 430 N. Michigan Ave., down the steps.

"It was 1:30 a.m., a half-hour to closing time in Billy Goat's Tavern, which is in a basement on Hubbard Street near the Chicago River. A dozen or so people sat at the bar. Most of them had finished work at midnight, so it was their cocktail hour. But people who finish work at midnight aren't full of smart cocktail talk. They don't even drink cocktails, at least not in Billy Goat's, where the 'in' drink is still a shot and a beer." - tavern regular Mike Royko, "Midnight Cocktails with a Twist," 1974

Oh yeah, you might've seen a Saturday Night Live skit or two based on the joint. 

Check out more entries in our 2018 conference blog »