For more than 20 years, comedians of all levels of notoriety have peddled their laugh-inducing verbal wares on Riddles Comedy Clubs’ stages. An airbrushed city skyline sits behind the corner stage at the original Alsip location, where such comedians as Jeff Dunham, Louie Anderson, and Drew Carey slung jokes to side-split audiences. A full bar with overhanging LCD TVs dispenses alcoholic and nonalcoholic whistle-wetters in between sets at both the Alsip location and the new Berwyn spot. Additionally, Riddles' lots house free parking for those driving from far-off locales or patrons who can't find a limo service that takes knock-knock jokes as payment.
Verdant acreage surrounds Jordan’s Pub & Eatery, which serves as a lively rendezvous inside the calm of the Cook County forest preserve. Homemade pub grub and scratch-made thin-crust pizzas comprise the menu alongside 35 beers, 8 of which flow from the bar’s foam-flecked taps. Like the arcade in the basement of the United Nations, the eatery is an arena for friendly competition: Chicago sports and UFC fights flicker on eight high-definition TVs, and darts slice through the lambent glow of a blinking battalion of arcade games. On Tuesday evenings, amateur crooners pour melodies into the microphone of a top-notch karaoke setup. Kaleidoscopic alcohol bombs cycle through watermelon, cherry, and grape flavors throughout the week, providing tiny alternatives to Jordan’s 16 martinis, which evoke such decadent flavors as key-lime pie and creamsicle.
Within warm, inviting pub of Jack Desmonds, a menu laden with traditional Irish entrees, savory sandwiches, bold burgers, and scrumptious salads transports patrons across the ocean without requiring a plane ticket. Customers can quickly quiet talkative tummies with irish-curry fries ($5.95) or Blarney Balls, potato croquettes with bacon, scallions, and parmesan cheese, served with sour cream ($4.95). Classic dinner dishes such as shepherd's pie ($8.95) and bangers 'n' mash—Irish sausages served with an entourage of mashed potatoes and Irish baked beans ($7.95)—are known to inspire sudden spoutings of limericks, while foods such as the veggie wrap ($6.95) and classic caesar salad ($5.95) sate herbivorous humans and rebellious venus flytraps.
Every Monday night, The Blarney Stone opens its doors to a very special group of people—the geeks. Their weekly hosted trivia night, lovingly called "Geeks Who Drink," allows eggheads and trivia buffs of all walks of life to come together and test their wits as they feast on Irish classics such as the shepherd’s pie and halibut and chips. Meanwhile, cozied up to the bar or tucked behind a table, those who hide their geekiness under a bushel basket can mutter the answers under their breath while nursing an expertly poured pint of Guinness or tearing into one of the pub’s many flavorful burgers. In addition to the trivia night, patrons can satisfy their need for competition with NFL broadcasts and an accompanying football breakfast, a big-screen hookup to a Nintendo Wii, and paired pool tables and dart boards.
Gilhooley's Grande Saloon celebrates its location in the traditionally Irish neighborhood of Mount Greenwood by serving up a menu shining with classic pub grub. Likewise, the pub's extensive beer list boasts a dozen beers on draft along with a large collection of craft and imported bottles. Spirited guests can start with a plate of cheesy irish potato boats ($8.20), beer-batter-fried St. Killian cheese ($8.20), or gnaw on a skyscraping tower of onion rings just waiting to implode into one of many dipping sauces ($6.38). Avoid a bad case of consumption with a hot bowl of sautéed cabbage- and corned beef-infused irish potato soup ($6.25), or test the stomach's flexibility with grilled half-pound burger that, like most LEGO sandwiches, can be easily customized to taste ($7.95).
Sisters Carey Williams and Lisa Marcotte bartended their way through college at the University of Illinois, but their love of the restaurant world didn’t go away after graduation. Carey followed up with culinary school and spent a stint as a caterer before joining Lisa to open Marcotte's Bar & Grill. Now she runs the kitchen, crafting a menu of bar food that ranges from buffalo wings and chicken-salad sandwiches to certified Black Angus burgers and thin-crust pizzas. In addition to the delicious food, the two sisters also entice guests with their family-friendly pub space’s amenities, which include free WiFi, patio seating in warmer months, and weekly events such as bingo, karaoke, and trivia night.
Flashing lights pulsate to thumping beats as smoke rises from a DJ booth framed by projection screens and swaying bodies. Though it may seem like a scene out of a movie, this energetic setting actually takes place seven nights a week at Bobby McGee's. And to keep their lively parties grooving until the wee hours, the South Side staple curates festive party themes, such as a Black Out Fridays and the occasional Hawaiian luau, which boasts an inflatable surfing game and real-life boars wandering through the crowd. Weekend concerts enliven the already convivial mood, as do bag tournaments, live band karaoke, and charity events to support causes such as cancer research.
When not catering to the party crowd, Bobby McGee's transforms the spacious dance area into bar room filled with stools and tables. Diners can dig into half-pound burgers and specialty pizzas topped with buffalo shrimp, and those craving a south-of-the-border meal can turn to the menu's Tex-Mex dishes of buffalo chicken quesadillas and beef nachos. These bar eats can be paired with weekly drink specials, from Old Style beer to shots, or the bar's signature 32-ounce long island drink served in a mason jar.