Dubbing the theater “The Palace” when it opened in 1921, Chicago architect J.S. Aroner strove to capture a regal ambiance with a patchwork of diverse, though uniformly opulent, building styles. Patrons today can spot baroque, Greco-Roman, and even art-deco designs as they drift through the restored rose, blue, and cream entryway. But in 1959, The Palace was crumbling, and it seemed that future generations would miss out on this aesthetic experience. A concerned citizen by the name of Mrs. Ella Morris swooped in, though, purchasing the building for an undisclosed sum and then selling it back to the city for $1, which she promptly blew on gumballs. Newly named, the theater welcomed such acts as Louis Armstrong, REO Speedwagon, and Fleetwood Mac in the ensuing decades until a major, two-year overhaul began in 1998. Now restored to its original condition, the venue hosts standup acts, Broadway musicals, big-name concert performances, and fully produced ballets.
The nature of the seasoning that gives Whiskey Dick's Five Star Dive Bar’s handmade, never-frozen beef patties such a bold flavor will forever remain a kitchen secret. The origin of the 5-Star Stack burger’s name, however, is anything but secret: the towering structure consists of two grilled cheese sandwiches that bookend two patties crowned with grilled onions and bacon. Along with the behemoth entree, Whiskey Dick’s menu includes bar classics such as mozzarella sticks hand-dipped in housemade breading, as well as a half-pound ground beef burrito rolled in a jalapeño cheddar tortilla.
To complement the meaty dishes that emerge from its kitchen, Whiskey Dick’s hosts entertainment every night, including football games broadcast on a 108-inch HD screen. Open jams let musicians gather for impromptu melody making, live bands rock out every weekend, and acoustic musicians play after-dinner sets that soothe stomachs more effectively than the nightly lullabies you sing to your navel.
It can be hard to keep track of how food is produced when it comes from the other side of the country. That fact, along with a desire to support the area economy, explains why chefs at Constant Spring––a non-smoking bar––attempt to source their ingredients locally. Hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and veggie patties shaped by hand fill sandwich buns. In the kitchen, chicken marinates in buttermilk before a trip to a deep fryer, and pots of housemade jerk sauce pour forth steam like a supercomputer trying to write a birthday card. More than 50 beers run in sudsy rivulets from glasses, hinting at the hard work of brewers at Left Hand, Founder’s, and 3 Floyds.
Riviera Theatre is a newly renovated artifact of the 1920s that illuminates silver screens with independent or hard-to-find movies. Cinephiles can choose from a variety of upcoming features, which include The Other Woman with Academy Award winning Natalie Portman, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, which follows a man battling morbid obesity by only drinking fruit and vegetable juice. Platonic partners can sip on sodas and share a large bucket of popcorn that's lightly buttered so hands can slip out of awkwardly long handshakes. Amidst ornate molding and golden lighting salvaged from Riviera's vaudeville days, viewers enjoy films amplified in 5.1 digital surround sound within a 370-seat auditorium.