Even if Gulliver's ovens went cool and the warm-weather chatter on its back patio went silent, visitors would still be drawn through the unassuming façade to witness the sights inside. Fortunately for hungry patrons, the kitchen continues to operate, quieting stomachs' growls with its take on Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. After slapping a mound of their housemade dough into the pan, chefs carefully contour the crust to leave thick, chewy edges and a thin, golden bottom. Next, layers of cheese, are topped using fresh ingredients. Pub-goers can also enjoy a tasty cornucopia of Italian soups, fresh salads, sandwiches, 100% Angus beef burgers, wings, and entrees sates pizza-averse diners. Sports fanatics can revel in traditional meals and watch their favorite team on 27 HD-TV screens. On Friday's, families can entertain their kid's with magic and balloon artistry shows.
Nova Lounge's chefs load half-pound burger patties with six types of eclectic toppings while bartenders fill steins with eight bubbly draft beers. On the menu, the Inferno burger ($9) stokes oral furnaces with spicy chipotle and jalapeno peppers, pepper jack cheese, and pico de gallo chopped with a set of knives once owned by the Greek god Hephaestus. A breakfast club burger stuffed with bacon and eggs ($9) keeps morning meals up past their bedtime, while the jet-setting Geneva burger invites sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese ($9) to ride the rollercoasters of diners’ digestive systems. Draft beers such as Miller Light, Guinness, and Blue Moon balance the burgers’ zesty proclivities with cool temperatures and teams of tiny bubbles certified in tastebud massage.
From the beckoning peals of jazz-playing buskers in Jackson Square to the amiable rush of revelers traipsing down Bourbon Street, New Orleans’ French Quarter earns its reputation as one of America’s liveliest locales. The chefs at French Quarter New Orleans Kitchen bring this same bonhomie to the plate, recreating Cajun staples including blackened fish, gumbo, and Cajun-spiced steak. Like holding a jazz funeral for a dead goldfish, the dining room’s bead-strewn chandeliers and gold and crimson walls add a touch of Fat Tuesday flair to everyday life. As guests sup on spicy jambalaya and sip southern cocktails, a lineup of live acts entertains crowds with DJs and blues bands.
Roundhead's Pizza Pub keeps head holes stuffed with an assortment of menu items as patrons affix their sight-spheres on one of the sports bar's more than 28 TVs. Roundhead's special pizza, packed with sausage, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms (12", $16.25+), silences the grumbling bellies of Blackhawks and Bulls supporters as they argue about whether hockey players or basketball players make more capable museum docents. Kick off a Thursday night trivia session in Lombard with a generous portion of meat-filled homemade lasagna ($11.59) or an order of ultimate nachos, an assortment of cheese, chili, sour cream, and jalapeños perched atop a tortilla chip-mountain like a gooey, amorphous Sherpa ($9.49). Roundhead's also offers a formidable lunch buffet ($7.99), served weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which turns growling midday munchies into whimpering afternoon siestas.
Beer House couldn't be more accurately named. The global beer emporium showcases more than 60 on-tap pours, as well as hundreds of bottled craft beers from top breweries, such as Omission and Dogfish Head. Amid all the beer love, bartenders also serve several gluten-free brews and on-tap wine that travels straight from winery barrels to Beer House's pour lines.
Though the beer behemoth serves no food, patrons are welcome to bring their own or order meals from neighboring burger, pizza, and sushi joints. And what the taproom lacks in food, it makes up for in televisions—with 14 60-inch flat-screens and one 80-inch—all of which show the evening's biggest games. On non-game nights, live musicians serenade visitors, be they at the bar's 20-seat community table or starting up a rival band across the room.
Mike O'Donnell's Irish Pub ushers patrons from a broad stretch of Franklin Avenue into a bar from which all pretense has been stripped away in favor of a cozy vibe conducive to unwinding. Even the ceiling tiles broadcast the pub's ties to the community in the form of quaint, business-card-style ads for local businesses. In the game room, friendly competitors hone their skills at the dartboard and draw cues for dibs on the pool table between bites of Irish-inspired appetizers and burgers hot from the grill. Meanwhile, barkeeps refill glasses and chat with regulars as flat-screen TVs keep crowds updated on sports action and the latest commands from Big Brother.