Nightlife in Bloomington

Select Local Merchants

While bowlers have become accustomed to playing under fluorescent lighting and perching on vinyl seats, Jillian's updates the experience with a nightclub atmosphere and modern decor. Each lane in the black-light bowling lounge holds up to eight people in a luminous glow that’s harmless to the eyes of baby bats. Between bowling frames, three Brunswick Black Stallion billiard tables engage those with the urge for further friendly competition. Alternately, patrons can turn to the game room where they can get their adrenaline racing. Players sate between-set hunger pangs with the dining room's menu of American eats such as hot wings, burgers, and pizzas.

5201 W War Memorial Dr
Peoria,
IL
US

Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.

8254 E 1425 North Rd
Fairmount,
IL
US

Big Fish Bar & Grille's owner lures diners with seafood specialties made from fresh fish, which fill the lunch menu and dinner menu. Begin comestible voyages by knocking back an order of oysters Rockefeller ($14) while basking in the waterfront restaurant's vistas. A golden crab cake, cloaked in seasoned breadcrumbs like a baker playing hide and seek, rests on the Crabby Patty sandwich with Old Bay–sprinkled fries ($11). The Louisiana mac 'n' cheese, a pool of rigatoni noodles swimming amongst waves of a four-cheese sauce, buoys Cajun chicken and andouille sausage ($13). Big Fish wraps up the docket of edibles with a variety of jambalayas, steaks, and chops.

27425 S Will Rd
Wilmington,
IL
US

Named in honor of local firefighters and police, The Department's restaurant and liquor lounge serve modern cuisine in a loft-style space outfitted with exposed-brick walls, gleaming wood floors, and an abundantly stocked bar. In preparation for the dinner rush, waiters flip crisp white cloths to hide tables’ risqué tattoos while chefs fire up the grill and stir marinades for gourmet steaks, pork loin, and seafood plates. House specialty dishes reflect the chef's meticulous attention to detail; the Cajun rib eye basks in a marinade for 48 hours, and the crab-stuffed tilapia offsets the rich seafood with a white-wine sauce. At lunch, a menu of gourmet sandwiches and burgers fosters casual meals. Fridays see live acoustic entertainment filling the air with quarter notes as bartenders work hard shaking potent cocktails and luring corks out of wine bottles with maraschino cherries. Those craving al fresco eats during warmer months may dine on The Department's tree-lined, second story balcony.

205 N Chicago St
Joliet,
IL
US

Chicago Street Pub's entrée artisans craft a menu of traditional Irish dishes and hearty pub fare flanked by a cascade of ten constant draughts and assorted Irish whiskeys. Start by tongue-diving for deep fried lobster bites ($7.25) then tooth trek to European shorelines with the Irish surf 'n' turf— a platter of two pieces of beer battered cod accompanied by three irish-sausage links ($8.50). The Rugger burger bombards meat-seeking mouths with two juicy beef disks under irish bacon, portobellos, an onion ring, and a quartet of cheeses ($9.95) and garden-garnished options, such as the provolone-packed portobello sandwich, pacify herbivores and newly vegan pet rocks ($7.25).

75 N Chicago St
Joliet,
IL
US

McBrody's eclectic chefs inscribe menu pages with scrumptious tales of pub cuisine. Appetizers plunge french bread into creamy spinach artichoke dip and lasso herds of spicy buffalo shrimp from the seaweed plains of Atlantis. During the main course, bread embraces tender steak sandwiches or flaky grouper Reubens, while patty melts are held together, like most modern skyscrapers, with gooey cheese. Bacardi cocktails are on hand to lighten eating spirits, while buckets of domestic beer offer an effervescent alternative to celebratory douses in Gatorade.

73 W Jefferson St
Joliet,
IL
US