The Best Places to Play Bocce Ball in Chicago
Updated June 20, 2019
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Jane threw a ball at Jack, because Jane was playing bocce ball
Bocce can be played on any open field or sandy beach using a set like this one from Amazon.
Bocce ball is an Italian import and also played in France under the name Petanque. The Italian word boccia means to bowl, but many bocce ball players don’t exactly use a bowling form when tossing their balls. A game of bocce begins with a player throwing the target ball, the jack, to the other end of the court. The aim of the game is to then throw your balls so that they’re the closest to the jack. Here are Chicago venues where you can play bocce with a bevv of choice in hand.
Indoor Bocce Ball Courts
The Chicago Athletic Association's Gameroom is an adult's playland. If you can't have a ball here, something is terribly wrong. The bocce court is free and open to the public.
Pinstripes is perhaps more well known as a bowling alley, but also allows up to 10 people to reserve bocce courts by the hour, ranging from $8-12 per person. This Streeterville bocce and bowling bistro is family friendly and close in proximity to Chicago's Navy Pier.
Outdoor Bocce Ball Courts
Al Fresco Leaguers will love these outdoor bocce ball courts in Chicago.
In West Loop, Saint Lou's Assembly has an outdoor court. Nearby Kaiser Tiger has an outdoor seasonal bocce court in their West Loop beer garden. The court is first come, first served, but groups of 30+ can reserve courts for events (beer olympics, anyone?). In the winter, the court transitions into Chicago's only outdoor curling court.
A game of bocce also pairs well as a digestif. Letizia's Fiore (pictured above) and Three Aces in Little Italy/University Village have seasonal outdoor bocce courts for patrons to work up an appetite or work off dessert.
The City of Chicago also has seasonal public courts available, in Clarendon, McGuane, and Hiawatha parks.
Chicago Bocce Ball Leagues
If drop in games don't satisfy your competitive itch, there are also bocce ball leagues and tournaments to enter in Chicago. American Bocce Co. holds pop up events, leagues, and private events around Chicago. Select Thursday nights Chicago Distilling hosts bocce tournaments in its Logan Square distillery through American Bocce Co. Individuals or teams of 4 compete for the ultimate prize - a bottle of locally crafted booze!
Chop Shop has bocce ball leagues, where teams of 4-8 players compete in 2 games per league night. Mad River runs a Monday night bocce league in Lakeview. Bocce league locations have also included the private rooms at Italian grocery, eatery, and brewery Eataly and the dog friendly outdoor beer garden at Clark Street Ale House.