The Chicago Bears needed a Christmas miracle to top their bitter rivals, the Green Bay Packers, at Lambeau Field on Christmas Day. Unfortunately for Bears fans, and the team, the green and gold played Grinch on Christmas, dealing the Bears a 35-21 loss on the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau.
The loss didn't seem to dampen the spirits of fans around the south suburbs though, as Bears fans, and the occasional Cheese Head, celebrated the holiday and the game at local watering holes.
There was a sparse crowd at Lassen's, but the drinks were flowing and the Bears were on. Both were good things for bartender Joe Escalante. He had another reason to have holiday cheer despite the Bears' poor showing. His parents, Alfredo and Elizabeth, came to their son's work to keep him company and take in the game.
“This is actually the first Christmas I've worked here in my five years,” Escalante said. “It's about as busy as I thought it would be, but it's nice because I have my parents here to keep me company.”
Also at Lassen's was Genevieve Binnie, 24, of Chicago, who was taking in the game with her high school friends, after spending the morning and afternoon with her parents at their Homewood home.
“We're just here to watch the football game and hang out with some people we haven't seen in a while,” she said.
Though the turnout was lower than a typical Bears game, manager Chris Barry said that he was pretty pleased with the crowd at Durbin's. He said the showing was about what he expected; a younger crowd back from school for the holidays with a few regulars sprinkled in for good measure.
“I kind of expected this because it's a Bears-Packers game,” Barry said. “If this wasn't a Bears-Packers game, this place would probably be dead (because it's Christmas).”
Customer Casey Cronin had two reasons to spend Christmas Day at the bar.
“You know, this was really just an excuse to see an old friend from the city and catch the game,” Cronin said.
End of the Game,
On Christmas Day, finding a local bar that is actually open can be a tough task. Luckily for Frankfort residents the newly opened Wild Rover was open for business and had more than enough food and drinks to serve the crowd.
For Jess Strilich, originally from Frankfort and now living in Austin, Tx., the illuminated “open” sign was a welcome sight.
“We went some place else first, but they were closed and they we saw this place and just came here,” Strilich said. “Me and friends just wanted to watch the game and have a few drinks on Christmas.”