Owner Tom Kampschroeder, a wine professional with more than 29 years of experience, shares his grapey know-how with most any guest who walks through Salt Creek Wine Bar's doors. Sample wines-of-a-feather with the wine flight menu, or check out the beers and spirits menu. Wash down washes of tingly wash with Italian delights including artisan cheese flights, pizza, and seafood.
Off Broadway Pub's owner, Rick Dahms, always knew his hot wings were something special. What he didn't realize, was that everyone else knew it as well. This became evident when his jumbo hot wings won 670 The Score's listener's best wing award in 2010, taking the top slot largely due to the heaping portions he serves and the amount of meat on the bone. His kitchen doesn't skimp on the restaurant's other entrees either, which range from hearty hamburgers and half racks of ribs to build-your-own pizzas. Two flat screen televisions play the city's game over Off Broadway's lengthy bar, where bartenders pour shots of Jaegermeister, draft beers, and mixed drinks.
Ryans Public House makes meals merry with Irish and American comfort fare and more than 70 beers and whiskeys from around the globe. Guests can devour a little bit of Celtic culture with an appetizer of corned-beef bites—mini open-faced sandwiches with swiss cheese and horseradish-cream sauce ($6.95)—or a whole lot with an authentic fish 'n' chips dinner ($9.75). A hearty shepherd's pie ($8.95) sates meat-and-potatoes cravings, and fish tacos hook diners with a double-lure of Mexican street corn and avocado-cream sauce ($9.95). The Chiappetta burger brings the bounty of two meals, sandwiching bacon, grilled onions, and a half-pound of Angus beef between two regulation-size grilled-cheese sandwiches ($9.95).
Built in 1925, the historic La Grange Theatre was recently renovated to restore its original murals, install comfortable seats, and deck out the walls with a brand new sound system. Choose from an array of discounted, recently run films that paint four silver screens with cinematic action, comedy, and romance. Beforehand, moviegoers can swing by the new concession stand for icy sodas, buttery popcorn, and sweet fistfuls of candy. On the way to your seat, admire the glow that the twinkling chandeliers cast upon the touched-up ceiling murals, which depict pastoral scenes of lords and ladies silencing their cell phones.
Bursting with two fully equipped dance studios and a philosophy of noncompetitive learning, Dance Center of LaGrange brings skilled teachers and a miscellany of dance types to the feet of dancers both young and old. Tykes can twirl toward the 45–60 minute summer-session classes to introduce tentative toes to preballet and creative movement (ages 3–4), learning new moves and gaining confidence while composing a rhythmic symphony with their 10-toed orchestra. The Storycise class (ages 3–5) combines storytelling and exercise to produce a hybrid fitness adventure filled with heart-pumping moves and poses that spell entire novel chapters. Teens can hit up the modern/jazz class for a medley of Broadway-style shimmying, and grown-up steppers can twist into adult tap, lacing up specialty shoes to conquer rapid routines and drum out grocery lists onto the hardwood floor.
No matter where you sit, there’s a good chance you’ll be in full view of the game at Harry's Sports Bar—that's because the Countryside pub encircles bar-goers with more than 10 plasma and LCD screens, three oversize projection screens, and 30 or so standard TVs. As the sound system roars with cheers and jeers during Blackhawks games and UFC matchups, guests drink ice-cold drafts and top-shelf liquor while noshing on thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches, and other menu offerings. On the off chance there’s no game to watch, Harry’s provides live entertainment of its own, thanks to three pool tables, beer pong, and trivia nights.
Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.