Riddles Comedy Club has been rolling out the laugh-barrels for more than 20 years, propelling standup stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carey, and Martin Lawrence into the spotlight. Today’s deal treats visitors to the show of their choice between now and the end of May, plus tickets to any future show attended after the first show. In addition to entertaining the troops in Iraq, Al Del Bene (October 14–15) has accompanied Dane Cook on his Isolated Incident tour. Political satirist Tim Slagle (October 21–22) will give funny bones a pre-election tickling, and Trial by Laughter champ Mike Baldwin (October 28–29) plans to fill bellies with laughs before guests pack them with Thanksgiving stuffing. Instead of rehearsing their own standup routines for crowds of fickle mannequins, club-goers can practice them on Riddles’ friendly bartenders as they sip beers, martinis, or Long Island iced teas.
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.