CHICAGO — A giant green horde descends on Lakeview every time the Philadelphia Eagles play a football game.
For nearly a decade, hundreds of Eagles fans have packed Mad River bar, 2909 N. Sheffield Ave. for Philly games. The bar's general manager, Danny Horwitch, said 100 percent of the 400-some customers on game days are Eagles backers. That's 100 percent.
"It's crazy," said Horwitch, of Roscoe Village, noting all 32 of the bar's TVs play Eagles games when they're on. "We play all the Rocky Balboa songs, the Eagles touchdown song, all of our bartenders wear Eagles jerseys."
The bar, which has East Coast roots and has one spot in the Philly suburbs, opened in Chicago on Aug. 4, 2006. The first year, about 30 Eagles supporters would show up for each game. It's grown to a point where the bar can't fit in any other Philly fanatics. The most popular drink is an Eagles Bomb, a vodka and Blue Curaçao concoction that's finished with Red Bull, turning the beverage green.
"It's like you're at the stadium, but you're not," said Kim Lendway, social liaison for the "Philly Eagles Fans-Chicago" club.
Lendway, who said Eagles fans need to arrive at the bar two hours before games to make sure there's room available, is like many of the Mad River customers. She lived in Philadelphia for 11 years, became an Eagles fan, and then moved to Lakeview four years ago. Like other Philly transplants, she needed a Chicago place to watch the games.
Horwitch said he's also routinely contacted by Philly residents in Chicago for a business trip who are looking for a perfect venue to see Eagles games.
Lendway expects hundreds of fans to watch Saturday's preseason game against Indianapolis and even more for Sept. 11's regular-season opener versus Cleveland. That day, Horwitch said the bar will be raffling 10 tickets to the Sept. 19 Monday night Bears-Eagles game at Soldier Field.
"It's a lot of fun here," Horwitch said.
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