An oversize photograph of a rhinoceros hangs on one of the walls at White Rhino Bar & Grill, serenely surveying a kingdom accented by natural stone and brightened by the glow of 21 flat-screen televisions. With the noble beast’s blessing, diners can tear into savory American food ranging from griddled steaks and slow-cooked ribs to pizzas layered with andouille sausage, shrimp, and gouda. Bartenders mix cocktails, host wine tastings, and serve more than 110 beers, and DJs spin music that often leads to nighttime dancing and spontaneous daytime jazzercise sessions.
Bulldog Brewery was born out of steelworker Kevin Clark's home brewing hobby. But founding his own brewery didn't mean Kevin was ready to quit his day job. And neither have co-owners, Bob Fausto and Jeff Kochis, a steelworker and a second-generation firefighter respectively. The hard work required of having two jobs is in keeping with the brewery's mission: to celebrate small town America and the blue collar workers who live there.
One of the ways they achieve this goal is by providing a place for customers to relax after a hard day's work, whether it's with a grilled panini sandwich or a pint of flavorful lager, stout, or IPA. Their beer also celebrates the working man. The 1890 Stout, for instance, commemorates the year that oil refineries came to Whiting. Its dark, crude-like color conceals notes of vanilla bean and cherry, and it's best consumed while wearing an oil can jauntily perched upon your head.
War almost was not the name slapped across gold records such as The World is a Ghetto and Why Can’t We Be Friends? When the name was first suggested, as founding member Lonnie Jordan recalls, the band thought it might sound too radical. But then they reconsidered, Jordan says, and decided to “wage war with melody, rhythm, and harmony as our weapons and the songs as our ammunition. We spoke out against racism, hunger, gangs, and crime and fused rock, jazz, Latin, and R&B.”
Blue 82 covers all the sports-bar bases by keeping its patrons well-fed and up to speed on their favorite teams' scores. As diners dig into heaping piles of nachos dotted with chicken or pork, servers move between tables, clearing empty plates that once bore burgers stuffed with cheeses and peppers. In the evenings, on-screen sports entertainment competes with music from live bands and DJs as bartenders pour out drink specials and crack open beers.
The Lingering Black Death sounds like its best feature is that it can only happen once. However, it happens as many times as you like at The Linger Martini Bar, where the moniker refers to a potent cocktail—a blend of absinthe, Pages Parfait Amour, and Bombay Gin is cut with cherry bitters, a sugar cube, and a dash of sweet champagne. The Death is just one of the bar’s 25 specialty drinks, which incorporate liquors such as Patron, Ciroc, Jose Cuervo, and Bacardi Limon. Patrons who leave their pet woodpeckers at home can enjoy cocktails and appetizers at a 25-foot walnut bar, or lounge on a comfy couch or in a low-clung captain’s chair. And for a bit of entertainment, they can try their hand at five machines with video slots and video poker, or enjoy the sounds of live music that never requires a cover.
With a rich wood bar, stone pillars, and furniture imported from Dublin, T.J. Maloney's invites comparison to an authentic Irish public house. The similarities extend to the Hibernian fare, which features traditional Irish staples such as colcannon-crusted shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, and tender corned beef and cabbage. Felt-lined booths ensconce diners as they share laughs over pints of stout or glasses of whiskey, and live performances on Friday and Saturday evenings serenade guests with the dulcet sounds of Irish folk music, blues guitar, and Gaelic pronunciation lessons.
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.