Polo Town

April 2021 View more

Oak Brook Polo Club

The village of Oak Brook is the town that polo built,” says Danny O’Leary. While it’s true that O’Leary is the managing director of Oak Brook Polo Club (2606 York Rd., 630.368.5095, oakbrookpoloclub.com), he’s really not biased in this regard—the town’s history speaks for itself.

In 1922, businessman Paul Butler created Oak Brook Polo Club, before incorporating Oak Brook as a village in 1958. “He made Oak Brook the nation’s elite destination for professional polo,” O’Leary says. “Right now, it’s in Wellington, Florida, … but at one time, it was up here for a good 30 to 40 years.”

Watching a polo match at the club is a great way to spend a summer
afternoon in Oak Brook. The 2021 season starts June 27 and runs through September (find tickets online).

“We do play competitive polo; it’s not croquet on horseback in any sort of way. It’s very fast-paced, high-level, adrenaline-filled polo,” O’Leary says. “These guys … are playing in tournaments, so they have something to lose.”

Under current pandemic protocol, spectating is tailgate-style. “Everyone pulls up their cars to the field and that’s where they watch their match from. It’s socially distanced and people bring their own picnics, and there are beverage carts going around,” he says.

O’Leary is also a big restaurant fan, and Oak Brook has no lack of options for dining out. Most are clustered around Oakbrook Center (100 Oakbrook Center, 630.686.3444, oakbrookcenter.com), the village’s crown jewel of an outdoor mall. “In the mornings, you’re definitely going to see me at Beatrix,” says O’Leary of Lettuce Entertain You’s chic, health-centric restaurant (272 Oakbrook Center, 630.491.1415, beatrixrestaurants.com) located near Neiman Marcus. “Good couches, good coffee.” He also digs the mall’s newish food hall, the District, which has stalls from Chicago faves such as Stan’s Donuts & Coffee and DMK Burger Bar.


Another favorite is Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse (2105 Spring Rd., 630.954.0000, gibsonssteakhouse.com), not only for its connection to polo—“It’s like an unofficial polo museum. Their banquet hall area is floor-to-ceiling polo stuff,” O’Leary says—but also the salads, burgers, steaks, and service.

For more fresh air and fun, O’Leary also recommends Oak Brook Golf Course (2606 York Rd., 630.368.6400, golfoakbrook.org) for golfers and Fullersburg Woods (3609 Spring Rd., dupageforest.org) and the 90-acre Mayslake Forest Preserve (31st St. west of Route 83, dupageforest.org) for nature seekers. “If you’re looking to walk, ride your bike, go somewhere to read, those are great escapes that are in the village that, in my opinion, don’t get a lot of recognition,” he says.

Photo courtesy Danny O’Leary, Oak Brook Polo Club, and Beatrix/Lettuce entertain you