Beneath the glow of 12 high-definition plasma televisions, riotous sports fans toast to their teams by clinking glasses and smushing burgers together at First Place Sports Bar & Grill. Between sips of cold beer and bites of handheld eats including sandwiches, nachos, and ribs, bar-goers throw wild shots at three dart boards and play 52-ball pickup around the pool table. Numerous video games, such as 2010 Golden Tee Live, Silver Strike, and Big Buck Hunter, jingle in anticipation of a feeding of quarters, while a jukebox offers a custom soundtrack to sporting revelry.
Suffused with the glow of 19 televisions and a high-definition projector, Chicago Loop Sports Bar and Grill caters to local fans with a menu of bar favorites and ample pours of brews and drinks. A heavily sauced selection of ribs, wings, burgers, and tacos satisfies game-day cravings and lubricates tongues for arguments about whether hockey is staged. Foamy beers and mixed cocktails slide down the bar to waiting hands while events such as trivia, karaoke, live bands, and standup comedy are officiated from the stage.
Chicago City Limits, an official Blackhawks bar, hosts a horde of televised and live entertainment options and a home team of servers who sling a specials-studdedmenu of classic bar fare and drinks. Dinnertime diners can defeat hunger in overtime with a full slab of ribs ($15.95), while pieces of beer-battered Alaskan whitefish lead the weekly all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry to victory ($6.99). Weekday lunch specials arrive tableside sporting a dapper fez and a choice of sides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and include a classically prepared hamburger and chef salad ($4.99 each). Break fasts on Saturdays and Sundays until noon with a choice of french toast ($2.95), a three-egg omelette flanked by potatoes, toast, and coffee ($5.95), or a bacon-topped breakfast sandwich ($3.95). Wash down this array of eats with beer by the bottle, pint, or pitcher, or a cocktail creation coached by a varsity mixologist.
Sam Elias knows that being cooped up during long winter days can make people stir-crazy. So in 1993, after moving from Florida, land of palm trees and beaches, to Chicago, land of frigid winds and gray slush, he founded WhirlyBall as a way for people to release pent-up energy even as snow was falling outside. During each competitive WhirlyBall game, which combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and jai alai, players zoom across an indoor 50'x80' court in motorized cars called WhirlyBugs. They wield plastic scoops to toss a wiffle ball back and forth to their teammates before throwing the ball through an elevated goal. Refs keep watch during the games, eliminating score arguments that would otherwise end in sunrise duels. To fuel up for a bout, players nibble teriyaki chicken satay, gourmet pizzas, and prime rib, and swig draft beers, which vary by location.
All three WhirlyBall spots boast off-court diversions such as video games, pool tables, foosball, and air hockey. The Vernon Hills location hosts an indoor rock-climbing wall, and both the Chicago and Vernon Hills locations invite guests into multilevel Lasertron laser-tag arenas, which fill with fog and flashing lights as combatants duck, aim, and invoke Geneva Convention protocols regarding armed conflict.
Conceived by Las Vegas restaurateur Mark DiMartino, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery evokes Ireland by way of Vegas, with waitresses dressed in plaid mini kilts shouldering trays of chilled beer and pub fare. Like an enchilada stuffed with four-leaf clovers, the eatery’s Irish nachos interpret a south-of-the-border classic in a Celtic way, slathering potato chips in cheese sauce and seasoned ground beef; alternatively, pot roast and vegetables simmer traditionally in the Olde Dublin Irish stew’s Guinness-infused beef stock. Barkeeps pour a full bar’s worth of wine, cocktails, and beer, which surfaces in bottles, bombers, and multi-brew mixes such as the Blue Moon and Guinness combination. High-definition TVs glow with a ceaseless parade of professional and college baseball, basketball, and hockey, and live bands add to the entertainment smorgasbord on Friday and Saturday nights.
Real Time Sports strives to take the idea of a sports bar to the next level with more than 40 TVs broadcasting sports and a menu of atypical bar food. Unusual dishes include smoked shrimp quesadillas, Thai peanut chicken satay, salads topped with grilled Atlantic salmon, and French dip sandwiches made with slow roasted prime rib. In addition, they offer a variety of party packages to accommodate groups of 15 and more.