In 1903, Hammond’s first mayor, Marcus M. Towle, opened the Towle Opera House to provide the city with a venue for theatrical productions. Times changed, and with them the theater: the opera house became a cinema, and eventually a string of fashion shops moved into the space. The building seemed destined for a future of holographic retail, but in 2003—a century since the stage first opened—it was reborn as the Towle Theater. Since then, its intimate brick-lined confines have hosted such crowd-pleasing productions as The Musical of Musicals, the Musical and A New Brain.
Twenty-five televisions seem like plenty of screens for watching pro sports, but at Bottoms Up Bar & Grill, they also have three 8-foot big screen TVs for an even more immersive sports-watching experience. However, when the TVs aren’t broadcasting sporting events, they take a back seat to a variety of other activities happening at the Grill. Guests chow down on steak sandwiches and personal-sized pizzas adorned with shrimp and sausage, while listening to the sounds of live bands jamming in the outdoor beer garden during warmer months or inside during the winter. And when the weather is warm, guests can also hurl bocce balls, basketballs, or beanbags during competitive games or confusing food fights.
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.
The legacy of Zuni’s House of Pizza's signature-pizza recipe dates back to 1954. On each pie, gooey cheese melts over robust lochs of sauce atop a thin- or stuffed-crust foundation, which is then peppered with a panoply of fresh pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, or other toppings. At the Cedar Lake location, chefs cycle between a variety of 20 appetizers, 20 entrees, and 13 sandwiches—such as a southwest roll-up drizzled in mexi-ranch dressing. The Dyer location focuses on classic-pizzeria fare, with five specialty pies complementing fragrant farfalle pastas and piping hot calzones. Frothy suds sidle up to slices at both locations for a pairing as classic as muscle cars and drive-ins or drag racing while reading Archie’s comics.
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.