Theory Chicago
Theory Chicago

Theory Chicago

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.theorychicago.com/
  • Phone: 3126440004x
  • Hours of Operation:


    Lunch: Daily: 11:00am - 4:00pm

    Dinner: Daily: 4:00pm - 12:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Comfort Food, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Blake Macdonald
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Formore information about our food catering options - please visit http://www.theorychicago.com/parties.html
  • Private Party Contact: Holly 3126440004x
  • Entertainment: Live Music. Dj's on Weekends.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: State & Hubbard
  • Public Transit: State & Grand Red Line Stop.
  • Parking: Valet
  • Parking Details: There is limited street parking available. Valet service is available during all business hours. $12 for the first 3 Hours - $17 for 4 or more
A word from Theory Chicago
Our goal is to make Theory your home away from home. Theory is a cozy, upscale sports lounge with an emphasis on comfort, good food, and great service. A sports enthusiast's dream, Theory has over 20 plasma TVs to catch your favorite team, while you relax in one of our over-sized dark leather booths, or in our home theater-style private room. Enjoy our menu with a focus on American comfort food with Mexican and Southern BBQ influences.
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Theory Chicago reviews from OpenTable diners
24 reviews since June 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.8
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelEnergetic
100% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
good for groups (18)vibrant bar scene (16)neighborhood gem (14)hot spot (13)great for lunch (11)fit for foodies (11)late-night find (10)great for outdoor dining (8)special occasion (8)scenic view (7)notable wine list (7)great for brunch (6)romantic (1)Show More
  • Food tasty
    BusinessTrvlr
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Everything we had from the nacho appetizer to the wings, beef and more was delicious. Nice little sports bar, but the food sets itself apart from the norm!
    Special Features:
    late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Football Games!
    ashleyv
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    This bar was great for Patriots fans (and I guess the other teams as well). The owner makes the experience. He is gracious and appreciative of each guest that walks through the doors, often visiting each table to ensure they are having a great time. Major plus is getting to make reservations for tables ahead of time for football games! There is also a back room for larger parties that can be rented out.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Chicago Sports Bar!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    This is a great sports bar. There were a lot of TV's and the manager was very accommodating with what games we wanted to watch. The food was excellent. Our table of 4 had a great time here. Highly recommend!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The BEST Sports Bar in Chicago!
    ChaosChicago
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Great bar, AMAZING staff and best hand-made: burgers, chicken wings, fries, flatbreads, pizza and more…. Despite the sports bar title, this place should be on everyone’s list of bars with food. It’s clean, friendly and some of the best homemade food you’ll find at any restaurant or bar. (They even make their own horseradish sauce). Can’t enough good things about this place, I’m a regular and I bring everyone here for the food and drinks!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome brunch
    Jmerk
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Food was delicious, unique menu items (& spicy), and the staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Iowa Game
    ChiHawk
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Great place to watch an Iowa Hawkeye sporting event, specifically a football game! Atmosphere is exciting and the walking taco reminds me of Iowa City's Pedmall. Now where's the Big A** Turkey Leg!?!?! Just kidding :) I would definitely recommend this place. The owner comes around and makes sure everyone is having a good time and is being treated well by wait-staff.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Awesome spot!
    VistorfromCali
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    We held our fantasy football draft here. They provided us wifi passwords and power strips for our laptops ahead of time. Our waitress provided great service and checked in on us frequently. The owner of Theory came by a couple of times to see how we were doing and to ask if there was anything we needed. We ended up chatting with him for a bit and he was a super cool guy. I strongly recommend the place for food and drink. Next time we are in Chicago I will definitely come back.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Fun
    vm1220
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    We had an overall terrific time. Food was delicious, Michelle our Bartender was fun and engaging and Joel the managing partner was welcoming and wanted to make sure that everything was to our liking !!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great
    Hawk15
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Joel is the best. He makes every visit special and truly cares about his customers.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So fun
    AnnasaurusRex
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Joel was so welcoming! The food was AMAZING. This drinks were perfect.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun place to go
    Wendy
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Theory always has really good food. It's not someplace to go if you want to have a quiet intimate conversation, way too loud in both crowd noise and music. But if you don't mind shouting a little to be heard, it's worth it. Their BBQ brisket sandwich is to die for.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Decent lunch spot
    esharpeVIP
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    The food was nothing special, but it was good for what we needed. There were I ptions that worked for everyone in our party of five. The service left a lot to be desired. At one point we had to grab the water pitcher and refill our own glasses, which was off putting. They had been empty for close to 10 minutes with no sign of a server. They got us in and out quickly, which we needed, but it wasn't a stellar experience.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • fun and exciting - ultimate nice
    Gmon
    Dined on 7/1/2014
    this place is our favorite to meet up for lunch with friends and work colleagues! We go a few times a month and they're always the best staff and the food is great! We had a table waiting for us for the USA soccer match 2 hours before the match. We could get there plenty early and relax before the main crowd came in. We love this place and so will you!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 11 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.6
    • Service4.6
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The following 55 reviews are from the Theory Chicago reviews archive.
  • great experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    Had another great experience at Theory. I have never been disappointed when I come here. I recommend it to all my friends. Its almost my go to place to eat.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Breakfast Nachos were DELISH!
    Hideepk
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Came here for brunch and ordered the breakfast nachos, they were awesome! They are in single chips so don't expect a platter of chips, rather a few per person or a plate for one person for a meal.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not what we hoped for
    travelup
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    The restaurant is in a great location just a few blocks of Michigan Ave. Considering the reviews, we expected a really hip place with good food. We found instead a dirty bar that served basic bar food. The music is very loud and primarily played rap music. Totally not what we expected from the reviews. We also had used Open Table and there was only reservations available for 5:30pm. We thought it must be a busy place. Well - by 6:30 there were some tables filled. Open Table gave a bad expectation for a busy place by not having any open reservations for any other time that 5:30. Really disappointing. We totally made up for the dinner by going to the Roof at the top of the Wit just a walk away and had amazing atmosphere and drinks.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Dinner and game
    Trev086VIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    I came with 4 people on a day the Hawks and Bulls were playing. They held the table, and the service was exceptional. The place was packed, and that did not stop our waitress from being incredibly attentive, filling water, making sure drinks were covered and checking in to make sure the meal was good. All four of us thought the food was great. I will be back, and for the level of service we received for such a busy night, I was certainly impressed.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great!
    jljtrade
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Reserved table was ready. Mgr and waitress were very attentive and efficiient! Food was great too. I will def be going back
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A wonderful surprise and new find!
    EatWell
    Dined on 3/30/2014
    We visited Theory for brunch before a Goodman matinee. The NCAA basketball games were just starting and the Shamrock Shuffle had just finished. The place was hopping. All three of us LOVED the expansive selection of items on the menu and the food. Yes, it was noisy, but it was noisy from excitement and friendship. The management and server checked on us frequently but not overly so. We all felt very well taken care of. We will definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • theory
    Eliza
    Dined on 3/17/2014
    Great service. Welcoming atmosphere. Great food and specials. Would definitely eat here again.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent as always!
    LindseyVIP
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    Every time I go to Theory, the experience is stellar. Bring greeted by the owner each time just solidifies the fact that he appreciates the customers and the business. The staff is friendly, the food is good and the atmosphere is always welcoming and fun.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fab Food, Service Needs Improvement
    Munchkin
    Dined on 2/20/2014
    We were a group of five (5) and it took almost 1/2 hour after we placed our order to receive our food. Although the server was very pleasant, we were thinking that maybe our server was new to the job. She came to table 3 different times to ask questions about allergies and our orders AFTER she had put the order in. Overall, management was very attentive and I will be going back. Oh yeah...the eats are rather innovative and SCRUMPTIOUS!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • This bar is great for watching
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 1/12/2014
    This bar is great for watching games at. There are TVs everywhere and they're very willing to change channels so that everyone can watch the game they want to see. They food is good for bar food. It's a little smaller so it's kind of cozy. I definitely recommend Theory if you have a game you want to watch or if it's just a big game day in general.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First time going there was
    Daniel
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    First time going there was for the colts/ pats game... Awesome time awesome bar. Going back again FOR SURE
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • not for families
    metro23
    Dined on 12/21/2013
    this is more of a bar than a restaurant and the loud explicit hip hop music makes for an uncomfortable meal when kids are present. the staff was friendly & the food was tasty. they also advertised a gluten-free menu which was just supposedly "GF" options off the regular menu. do NOT come here if your gluten allergy is severe.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect night
    Heather
    Dined on 12/14/2013
    I highly recommend Theory to anyone in the Chicago area. The staff is friendly and very welcoming. Every time we visit we have a great visit and the food is wonderful. Theory is obviously owned by an individual that cares very strongly about his staff and customers. Thank you!! We will always visit Theory when we are in the city.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good for group brunch
    JillJVIP
    Dined on 12/14/2013
    This was the perfect spot for brunch for 8 adults + 1 three year old! I will say, not sure our experience was totally representative of a typical Saturday brunch there, because this was my first time at Theory. There were no notable games on that day and it was a snowy morning, so we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. But regardless of what the environment is usually like, I can say for sure that the food was great and the service was excellent. I would definitely go back. Our server took good care of us and the owner stopped by a few times to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed. We had a great time.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hawks Game
    Hawksfan
    Dined on 11/29/2013
    Excellent spot to watch the Hawkeyes! Great staff and food.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I continue to come back here
    EddieD
    Dined on 11/29/2013
    I continue to come back here because the owner Joel is a really cool guy whom cares about his patrons and employees.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good bar for more advanced palette.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/23/2013
    Food and swrvice was good but we weren't expecting a bar based on open table description. We weren't in the mood for a bar scene but ended up having a great time anyway. Food was great. We would go back again.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very welcoming atmosphere.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    Very welcoming atmosphere. We were there to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes play. We actually felt like we could have been celebrating in Iowa City! Loved it! Both service and food were excellent!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Turn the rap music down- games on!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 10/29/2013
    Very loud (rap) music for a sports bar, especially considering both the bulls AND hawks were playing. Otherwise, wonderful.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We LOVE theory! The staff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 10/27/2013
    We LOVE theory! The staff is great, the food is great :)
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great atmosphere but the food
    grandriver
    Dined on 10/5/2013
    Great atmosphere but the food was not very good. Had the fish taco's and they were very poor. Taco shells were falling apart when you tried to pick them up and no flavor in the fish. Beer and drinks were excellent. Management was very good, place was packed for the OSU and Northwestern game.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was wonderful - good
    Kost
    Dined on 10/5/2013
    Food was wonderful - good drink specials - owner was attentive and truly wanted you to have an enjoyable dining experience. Can't wait to go back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Downtown Bar
    foodie1VIP
    Dined on 10/4/2013
    I had made reservations based on an online menu posted via open table. Open table did not post that this was a bar - complete with a bouncer at the door carding everyone. The food took forever, my order was wrong I had ordered a salad and got a sandwich. 2 people in my party had long delays (on top of our overall long delay) in getting food. The server was great and kept apologizing. I was disappointed both in atmosphere and in food.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food and service!
    luv2dineVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2013
    Great food and good service! We will definitely back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I went to Theory for a birthday
    Lanacate
    Dined on 9/11/2013
    I went to Theory for a birthday lunch with my family. Not only was the food outstanding but everyone on the staff was attentive and friendly. The cocktails were reasonably priced and delicious along with the ribs which I ordered. I know I will certainly be back.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wings
    Phif
    Dined on 9/11/2013
    Went there specifically for the wings. They did NOT disappoint!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • On Iowa
    LindseyVIP
    Dined on 9/7/2013
    Friends and I went to Theory for the Iowa game this past weekend. We had such a blast. From the decorations to the overall positive climate of the place, we will be going back for many games to come! The owner, Joel, circulated the bar the entire game checking on tables and introducing himself which truly made our presence feel appreciated. Our server Deanna was friendly, on top of our needs and cheered on Iowa with us all. We are looking forward to the rest of the football season at Theory!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, late-night find, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.