Expensive Tastes in Chicago Like Downtown Rooftops and Professional Sports Game

One of the great things about living in a big city like Chicago, you will always find something to do.  I sometimes joke around with friends and colleagues that I am secretly 73 years old because going out on a weekday for drinks is almost unheard of for my new grown-up lifestyle, but it does happen from time to time.  Just recently I decided to check Stubhub for tickets to a Chicago Cubs game because as far as buying tickets at Wrigley Field goes, getting a week day game is the best frugal option you can find(Frugal Tip #1).  During my search online, I found tickets that normally would cost $50 each/$100 for the pair, plus the plethora of taxes and fees, but I was able to purchase them for the discounted price of $57.71, a savings of 54.3% off the original price after you calculate the final price.

Here are the plethora of fees if you go through the Cubs website and Ticketmaster:

  • 9% City of Chicago & 3% Cook County Amusement Tax  ($6.00 per ticket):$12.00
  • Per Ticket Fee  ($4.75 per ticket):$9.50
  • 9% City of Chicago Fee Tax  ($0.43 per ticket):$0.86
  • Total Taxes & Fees for 2 Tickets:$22.36
  • Price for 2 Tickets:$122.36
  • Per Order Fee:$4.00
  • Current Amount Due:$126.36

Here is the Stubhub price I paid for the same Outfield Field Box Seats:

  • Outfield Field Box 102
  • Row 10 | Seat 103, 104
  • 2 tickets
  • Total $57.71

Standing at Wrigley Field for the last outs of the game!


Since Mrs. Even Steven and I do not go out very often during the week it gave us a great opportunity to see a little bit of the city.  My vote was to hang out near Wrigley Field and get dinner and a beer at a place just far enough away to have a local Chicago feel without having every single tourist and Cubs fan alike slammed next to you like a 5:00 traffic jam (did I mention I was secretly 73 years old).  Mrs. ESM opted for none of the above.  She opted for the new rooftop and hotel found in the Financial District of Downtown Chicago.  Since she had made the sacrifice to hang out at Wrigley Field on a Wednesday night to watch baseball for 3 hours, I figured the least I could do is match her sacrifice by heading to see a new rooftop in the city for a drink and some food.

The doors had not been open for less than an hour before I took the elevator up to see the rooftop area.  While a nice venue and one of the few rooftop locations downtown, I was soon kicked right in the nuts with the menu gently placed on our table. While the waitress didn’t come up and directly kick me square in the dangly bits*, she might as well have by handing me the menu and beer list.  Now I have went to clubs in Miami and the college Even Steven has partied like a Rockstar in Chicago, so when I say the prices were in the Soprano voice range I mean it.

Despite the high prices, I ordered a Half Acre, one of my favorite brands of beer in the craft brewery scene here in Chicago and it was not available since the taps had been installed.  This left me with a few craft-style brews all of which costs $10 a bottle, yep you read that right, $10.  The beer I had received, while a nice Chicago brew can be bought at the local mart for $7.49 for a 4 pack, which doing some quick math comes out to a 6 pack for $10 or a nice 600% mark up. Go ahead and soak that in for a second before you read on.


This is what a $10 beer looks like……..when you stand on a rooftop in Chicago that is.


Even better for those who prefer a more well-known and cheaper beer like Miller Genuine Draft/High Life** could be had for just $8 a 12 oz. bottle.  If you think they were not trying to kick me in the huevos* , think again they were aiming for them.  A 24 pack of the same beer can be purchased for $16.99, even better this is over a 1,000% markup.  I’m not going into what Mrs. ESM had to drink I may cry doing the calculations and not be able to continue.  Oh yeah, ladies and gentlemen don’t forget to tip your waiters and waitresses, which of course we did.

Now maybe this is the 73 year old man in me remembering when gas prices were .99 cents and shoes over $100 were clearly for the kids with rich parents, but prices have shot up in so many areas it makes me feel like someone is trying to pick pocket me every time I make a purchase.  The other side of this argument and not the hotel rooftop owner side, but the frugal smart spenders out there that say I would never go to this rooftop because we don’t eat out or go for drinks.  This point can only go so far because we all are going to break down and enjoy a meal or drinks with family and friends, those dollars are being ripped from our wallets each time we make that decision.  The dollars and cents of it really is scary to me.  I am a frugal person in general as I fight for a bigger goal of financial independence that will not be denied from over indulgence in the expensive side of the city.  From expensive rooftop to costly beer and a ball game it is very simple to spend hundreds of dollars on a simple one day sporting event and going out for dinner and a drink.

Remember this, the reason the rooftops and stadiums are such wonderful buildings is because they are built with our money. I have said it before on Even Steven Money in reference to casino’s and banks, but take a look around you, chances are if the building is beautiful and luxurious, the everyday person has made a contribution through the sweat and hard work to then spend and in some cases give away their money to the big corporation and the millionaire in the yacht.  I’m over simplifying and trying to make a small villain out of the bigger corporations that I mention, but in reality I am asking each and every one of us to take extra caution, as things are getting expensive.  Check to make sure you are not caught up in an expensive carpet ride of rooftops and sporting events or maybe for you the expensive carpet ride is shopping and gadgets or even cars and leather seat upgrades.  It can happen to just about anyone, so take caution and do your best to avoid the expensive occasions.

Any tips on saving money in an expensive situation, please share in the comments:)

*Thanks internet

**Does it matter which one, either way that’s ridiculous



If you are looking at your finances wondering if you spent too much on eating out or a $10 beer, it’s time to see what you are spending all of your money on. Getting the big picture all in one place with Personal Capital has really helped me see what I can do with my finances today and in the future. Take control of your financial life and you will have more time to enjoy what matters to you most.  If you’re looking for a great way to track your budget, net worth, analyze your portfolio fees, manage your cash flow, and get a handle on your finances for today and the future, sign up with Personal Capital today.

20 Responses to “Expensive Tastes in Chicago Like Downtown Rooftops and Professional Sports Game

  • Nothing better than catching a night game during the summer. I’ve yet to go to Wrigley, but will make it some day. My favorite type of happy hour is work sponsored. Gives me my fill of fancier establishments and therefore I don’t have to foot the bill myself. That being said, visiting a nice rooftop for a beer every once in a while on your dime isn’t going to delay your FI plans 🙂 Glad you enjoyed.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Why CPAs Are Terrible With Their FinancesMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Yeah the game was great, ended up seeing the Anthony Rizzo catch where he jumped in the stands!

      I don’t know if I’m going back to that rooftop though, $10 beer isn’t for me, well not when it only costs $2 bottle.

  • Whenever my family goes to Wrigley, we go to the 7-11 across the street and buy hot dogs, snacks, and drinks to bring into the stadium. For a big family it saves tons and the penny pinchers enjoy paying $1 for a hot dog rather than $8.
    Maggie recently posted…To the Class of 2019My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Nice frugal tip, stadium food and drink are astronomically expensive as you mentioned.

  • One of these days I’d love to watch a baseball game in Wrigley. When we go to a Canucks game in Vancouver we usually eat at the Costco just outside the arena to save money. 😀
    Tawcan recently posted…Sunshine Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Going to Wrigley is worth the experience and such in my opinion, although they are updating things left and right pretty soon it’s going be jumbotrons left and right with nobody watching baseball. Good thoughts on the Costco, frugal tip!

  • Dude… no joke. Going to a game is crazy expensive. I’m in Cleveland… going to a Tribe game is insanely expensive. I’m vegetarian so if I eat a ‘hot dog’ I’ll go for the veggie dog… $9.50. A beer is about $10, and that’s just domestic. I think the same thing you do… “I could buy a 12 pack for this…” But you have to just let it go for the moment and enjoy the experience. Like you said, you don’t always get to do stuff like this. Plus you are going to Wrigley! When the Cavs (and LeBron) play, downtown is a mad house. My best advice for saving money in these situations is to have food and drinks at home with your friends (or whoever you’re going with) and take public transportation downtown. If you can’t do that – then head to the bar before the game and get a few drinks and some grub. It’s too expensive to do it at the game. We have a train that takes us from the ‘burbs right downtown, so it’s nice to do a little pre-gaming with food and drink, walk to the train, then get dropped off right by the game. Doesn’t Chi-town have the L?

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I do my best to not even buy anything at the game itself, they have you locked in there like being on an airplane. Yeah getting to and from the game especially for us is easy, just take the Red line to drop you off right in front, which is nice. Gets a little crowded after the games but that’s usually the least of our concerns, sometimes we will grab Uber to get back home since it’s a couple transfers to get home and it’s late, but nothing to crazy.

  • I know what you mean! Living in LA there are tons of awesome things to do, most of which are pretty expensive. My husband and I tend to be boring and don’t go out much. Last time we splurged on a really nice dinner (which was probably 4 months ago) I noticed one of my favorite wines was on the menu. The price of a single glass was more than I pay for an entire bottle at the grocery store. No thank you! lol
    Jessica recently posted…Shopping Ban Update: Brutal Honesty TimeMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      LA is probably even more expensive than Chicago if I can even imagine that. The one bonus we do have in Chicago is a good amount of restaurants offer BYOB since the license to serve alcohol is so expensive, in many cases you can bring that bottle of wine with:)

  • I feel your pain. We have friends in Boston that always want to do this and my grown-up frugal self cringes every time I get the bill. I don’t have a solution except to be anti-social, pre-game at home (or just eat apps to offset the drink costs), or go see White Sox game. You should be able to get that pretty cheap considering how bad they are. Go Twins!
    Jason recently posted…The Results of My $200 Budget ExperimentMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I will not be seen rooting for the Sox, I’m not even sure if I would want to go and see another team, feels dirty! Yeah it’s a tough spot to be in for keeping the costs down, another frugal tip just eat the appetizers to save money, I like it!

  • Gotta love it when you can get tickets at a great price, right??? My wife and I decided to go on a date out on the town checking out some new businesses. Some of the restaurants were pretty spendy…so we just had an appetizer at each one. We got to try out several spots, and ended up being fairly inexpensive overall!
    Brock @CleverDude recently posted…Teens And Money: When There’s Too Much Month at the End of Their MoneyMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Yeah getting the tickets at a great price was definitely the best of the night, paying for drinks that almost equaled that, well not as much;) The appetizers idea is a great way to lower costs rather than spend money on a main dish, however getting 5-10 appetizers might not be as price effective, HaHa!

  • This article made me laugh and cringe at the same time. Both are reactions to remembering myself in similar situations. We’ve all been there. If you aren’t watching your p’s and q’s it’s super easy to drop a bunch of money on an evening out. What’s even crazier is that people do it all day every day without ever seeming to notice.

    On the flip side, it sounds like you guys had a great time and indulging in nights out every once in a while is a must. Also, who in the hell is ordering an $8 MGD when they can get a $10 craft beer? Good call there, Even Steven. Cheers!
    The Bearded Dragon recently posted…Financial Details of Our Belize TripMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I love that you noticed my well played choice of a good craft beer for just $2 more:)

  • Although Chicago is expensive, it wil seem relatively inexpensive after you go to Manhattan. I was just there and felt mugged every day. $18 pancakes, $14 burgers. Wow! All before tax and tip too.
    Financial Samurai recently posted…Spraying, Praying, And Missing! Analyzing A Failed Real Estate OfferMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Very true, everything is all relative. After I wrote this, I actually forgot that when you go to a stadium paying $10 is the normal for a drink and i’m sure Manhattan is a special place for expensive items.

  • Yeah, gets pricey, but it’s all good in moderation, right?

    There is still time to catch two more free Millennium Park concerts this summer! (tonight and Friday). Free, BYOB, BYOfood, outdoors; can’t lose.

    And you appear to be drinking a beer from Off Color, which in my opinion is even more delicious than Half Acre, so you win!
    Mike recently posted…A Guide to International Travel with an iPhone on AT&TMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Hey good to see you around Mike! I don’t know about all of that better than Half Acre talk, but it was a good beer. And you are correct moderation is good;)

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