Diners at New Line Tavern take their meals beneath framed vintage photos of trains and railroad signs as a nod to the eatery’s location within the Powerhouse building, which originally powered the Chicago and Milwaukee railways. The chefs' menu of comfort food is anything but dated and features modern gastropub staples such as burgers, sandwiches, and buffalo wings, “while a long lineup of appetizers (mini-crab cakes, queso fundido, asiago-dusted fries with garlic dipping sauce) beckons for happy hour gatherings,” as mentioned by Metromix. Bartenders serve up an array of international brews and spirits at the fully stocked bar, and out on the patio, diners settle beneath red-umbrella-covered tables that offer shade from the sun and shelter from clouds shooting spit balls.
Simply put, Players Sport & Social Group helps more than 60,000 people each year get together, meet new friends, and have fun. The two-decade-old company has more than doubled in size in the last five years, due in no small part to the wide variety of sports leagues and clinics that it offers at venues throughout the city. Teams or individuals can sign up for sports ranging from dodge ball to beach volleyball to games of "bags," otherwise known as cornhole. Players can check their weekly standings online and review each sport's rules, learning exactly what is considered a foul in kickball or how to dispose of a football opponent's captured flag by burning it in a respectful ceremony.
The company also hosts and sponsors social events such as happy hours, fundraisers, and the Luau: a 55,900-participant grass-volleyball tournament with DJ music, food, and beer. Similarly, The Big Dig volleyball tournament offers the same mix of munchies, brews, and live entertainment, but on the sands of North Avenue Beach.
Each year, Chicago Sport and Social Club draws 70,000 participants together on fields and courts for laid-back games and practices. Looking to make new friends while indulging in some fun competition, players sign up for ongoing leagues and classes, along with single-session sporting events. Sports on the club's roster include tennis, volleyball, football, and soccer, along with activities like bowling and dodgeball. Some leagues and tournaments are co-ed, some are gender-specific, and some are for costumed mascots only. All of the events, however, promise as much opportunity for socializing as they do for scoring points.
As the icy grip of winter tightened its grip around Boston, a group of buddies mourned the impending cold that, history had shown, meant they wouldn't see each other as often until the warmer months. To get around the problem, they decided to find a way to stay warm without sacrificing the fun of social activities. The solution: the cozy indoor setting and endless high-fives of bowling. Thus, in the winter of 2006, Better Off Bowling was born.
Originally a way for friends to keep in touch, the idea caught on and became a league-sized endeavor, spreading to new cities and close-knit crews around the country. Each season consists of six weekly games, during which teams compete in 90-minute matches to combine the four highest scores in a single game. Many participating alleys offer drink specials during the sessions, and Better Off Bowling hosts post-match hangouts with board games for teams to interact with each other and giddily fly kites over the ball returns' air vents.