Humans of Wrigleyville: A look inside Sluggers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A stone's throw from the Wrigley Field marquee, the lights of Sluggers glow on Clark Street.

"It's a go-to on game day," declared Martyn Hilliard in the sports bar's arcade.

You don't have to look far to know you're in a Cubs bar. The team's history and the story of its fans covers the bar's walls. Owner Zach Strauss grew up in the tavern first opened by his dad 34 years ago. He calls it one of a kind.

"We have a dance floor, we have a restaurant, we have a sports bar, we have a dueling piano bar," he listed off.

But what really sets this bar apart are the batting cages upstairs.

"Fathers could bring their sons or daughters and have a drink downstairs in our bar on the first floor and the kids could go upstairs and hit," said Strauss, adding that the parents could take swings too.
"It's always been a place that was a treat for me to come to as a kid," said Kip Kazuk, who still comes to Sluggers for batting practice and a beer, adding, "It's nothing like you've ever seen before."

For some fans, its also a place to celebrate flying the "W."

"This is Cub heaven. This is the place to go to after a Cubs win," said Kazuk.

This was as true as could be in 2016, when Strauss says the Cubbies themselves showed up at his door.

"We open the doors and we're still cleaning and here comes half of the Cubs team walking in the day before the parade. They want to have a drink and party... they were playing the games upstairs," he recalled of the unannounced visit.

With the team's success and neighborhood popularity, there's a lot of change coming to Clark and Addison. But Strauss doesn't blink.

"Our location puts us right in the heart of all of it, so we have a lot to look forward to," he said of a neighborhood landmark still swinging for the fences.

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