Executive chef Jack Rickey brightens up his dishes at Billy Jack’s Bar and Grill by packing every recipe with crimson tomatoes, yellow sweet corn, and other colorful southwestern ingredients. The fiery flavors of chipotle peppers and chiles stimulate tongues when blended into the poblano-cream sauce poured over sizzling steak and shrimp or the aioli drizzled over sweet and spicy pork medallions. Bold ingredients find their way into seafood dishes as well, from the peaches that sweeten the BBQ roasted salmon to the jalapeno sauce that coats the restaurant's crab-stuffed tilapia and crab-stuffed piñatas.
Martinis Culinary Cocktail Lounge is aptly named—the bar's martini list boasts a roster of cocktails more than 120 drinks long. However, bartenders also pour top-shelf spirits and craft beers to complement their Mediterranean plates, which range from chicken parmesan and tortellini to build-your-own pizzas. The kitchen staff also whips up seafood dishes, such as shrimp stuffed with blue crab and linguine with clams, which evoke Italy’s seaside regions more appetizingly than free glasses of salt water. As patrons drink and dine, the lounge’s weekly shows entertain with comedy sets and live music.
With a rich wood bar, stone pillars, and furniture imported from Dublin, T.J. Maloney's invites comparison to an authentic Irish public house. The similarities extend to the Hibernian fare, which features traditional Irish staples such as colcannon-crusted shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, and tender corned beef and cabbage. Felt-lined booths ensconce diners as they share laughs over pints of stout or glasses of whiskey, and live performances on Friday and Saturday evenings serenade guests with the dulcet sounds of Irish folk music, blues guitar, and Gaelic pronunciation lessons.
Bulldog Brewery was born out of steelworker Kevin Clark's home brewing hobby. But founding his own brewery didn't mean Kevin was ready to quit his day job. And neither have co-owners, Bob Fausto and Jeff Kochis, a steelworker and a second-generation firefighter respectively. The hard work required of having two jobs is in keeping with the brewery's mission: to celebrate small town America and the blue collar workers who live there.
One of the ways they achieve this goal is by providing a place for customers to relax after a hard day's work, whether it's with a grilled panini sandwich or a pint of flavorful lager, stout, or IPA. Their beer also celebrates the working man. The 1890 Stout, for instance, commemorates the year that oil refineries came to Whiting. Its dark, crude-like color conceals notes of vanilla bean and cherry, and it's best consumed while wearing an oil can jauntily perched upon your head.
The 20 taps at the Beer Geeks' pub are filled with a rotating selection of microbrews and craft beers from around the world. Cask-conditioned ales are the product of the pub’s on-site beer engine, and the rest of the bar's staggering selection beers and ciders come bottled. The bottles include craft brews, mass-produced classics, and Trappist beers brewed at seven Trapist monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands where monks still make beer by hand. To complement the bitter hops of their suds, Beer Geeks hosts top Chicago blues musicians every Tuesday night.
Crown Brewing’s statement light fixture isn’t like traditional chandeliers hung with crystals—instead, the amber light that filters down to the floor shines through an array of empty beer bottles. There are plenty of full bottles and pints to be found, however, as the brewery's boasts 12 varieties of brew, including award-winning beers such as the blueberry and Special Forces IPA, which Chicago magazine named one of the city's 36 best local craft beers. From the cozy bar, patrons get a view of the brewery itself, where brewmaster Steve Mazylewski is hard at work crafting batches of customer favorites and testing out his new recipes. Weekly specials include stein nights, discounted growler refills, and half-price pints can be enjoyed inside or on Crown Brewing's outdoor patio.