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.
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.
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.
Voted Chicagoland's best pizza by 670 The Score and awarded as the 2011 winner for best beer garden by the Southland Star, Durbin’s rewards watering mouths with a roster of gratifying pub fare, a full bar, and an idyllic outdoor beer garden at every location. Durbin's menus vary slightly between locations, united by an emphasis on meaty sandwiches, comforting fried nosh, pizza, and trademarked ribs. Prime appetites with a Durbin’s Combo—mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, potato skins, and onion rings ($8.50)—or the Kelly Special's mozzarella-topped butterflied filet mignon on toasted garlic bread ($10.95). Durbin's slow-smokes its signature Branding Iron ribs over an open pit of smoldering hickory wood, basting them with secret-recipe barbecue sauce and whispering sweet, flaming nothings to them to tenderize the meat ($11.95 for a half slab, $18.95 for a full slab). The 14-inch stuffed sausage pizza’s layers of meat and cheese are trapped between its saucy crust, forming a delicate closed ecosystem of Italian flavor ($17.95).
As summer months wind down and autumn weather creeps in, Odyssey Fun Farm comes alive—and as it's only open from late September to late October, the farm definitely makes the most of its time. A pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, hay rides, and other fall festivities help families start new seasonal traditions as they enjoy the cooler weather. Visitors can also test their senses of direction in the massive corn maze, which stretches over 15 acres and sends participants through hairpin turns and winding roundabouts in a design that spells the farm's name when viewed from an airplane or the shoulders of a very tall person.
Despite the many leisurely activities, there's plenty of adrenaline to be had—corn cannons send bursts of maize hurtling toward faraway targets, pig races pit swine such as Arnold Schwartzenhogger and David Letterham against each other in a dash to the finish, and ziplines let visitors feel the wind in their hair as they speed high above the ground. At sundown on October weekends, Odyssey Fun Farm turns spooky for its Zombie Safari Hayrides. Those who dare climb into a wagon equipped with 20 paintball turrets, which they'll use to slay every zombie that attacks during the pitch-black journey down a winding farm road.
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 Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association has offered patrons ball-rolling entertainment with numerous local member centers for more than three decades. Over the course of two games (up to a $4 value each), hole-bearing balls can spend at least 20 frames gracefully gliding across waxed planks and toppling tiptoeing pins, or alternately fall victim to the gutters' tempting embrace. No matter which of the 28 participating locations patrons decide to patronize, their toes will be stylishly covered in a pair of rental shoes (up to a $4 value) that work to minimize bipedal friction and maximize the uniformity of spontaneous song-and-dance numbers.
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