Team USA vs. The World may sound like the title of Shaquille O'Neal's autobiography, but it is in fact a mixed martial arts competition that pits 12 of this country's finest mixed martial arts athletes against teams of fighters from Australia, Ireland, and Poland. Stuff your pockets with miniature American flags and gird your thrillcitement nodes for an evening of leg tussles, arm bars, and rear naked chokes. With ground-floor seats, you'll be close enough to see the beads of sweat on the fighters' brows and smell the adrenaline puffs as they condense into clouds shaped like clenched fists in the air above the ring. Fighters scheduled to battle for Team USA include John Hansen (205 lbs.), the 2008 USA National Champion in the LHW Division, Alex White (155 lbs.), who won in the 2009 Ringside World Boxing Championships, and Eric Daigle (155 lbs.), who obtained the lightweight title during the ISCF National Tournament in 2009.
Dance music pulsates through Red Velvet Lounge as party-goers indulge in late-night eats and specialty bar drinks amid a spacious nightclub. Bartenders pours out beverages from a fully stocked bar as guest saunter to the hardwood dance floor illuminated by the sporadic flickers of a colorful lights. Themed parties for Halloween and New Year’s Eve add variety to weekends, and Friday and Saturday nights introduce crowds to special-guest DJs and their finger-puppet entourages. Bites from the Lounge’s Italian-inspired menu fuel evening adventurers, with options including gorgonzola chips, Sicilian tilapia, and lemon-mascarpone torte.
The chefs at Palos Hills Village Pub charbroil 10-ounce Angus beef burgers and toss a slew of pastas with meats and seafood. Servers ferry pub fare favorites to patrons powwowing on barstools, watching sports between sips of beer. The eatery’s private party room seats as many as 50 guests around its cloth-covered tables, ideal for office parties, birthdays, or conventions for linen enthusiasts.
Mark's On 66 straddles the border of two distinct culinary philosophies, sating rumbling stomachs with a menu of timeless Tex-Mex standards while entertaining eyes and ears with sports-bar-style dartboards, TVs, and games. Overstuffed burritos and steamy fajitas intermingle with American-inspired burgers molded from quality beef and steak. Complimentary WiFi and matches on the in-house Wii add to an ambiance often tinged with upbeat notes and perfectly in-pitch meal orders sung by live musicians.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by legendary toe tapper Fred Astaire himself, shepherd students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the Summer Dance Open House provides a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking. During the event, guests sip complimentary glasses of white wine and nibble on snacks as they take mental notes during rumba and swing classes. Professional performances will set a fleet-footed example as guests practice steps with new and familiar partners and shimmy the night away. Apprentice foot flashers can develop their skills and confidence in three group classes, during which they'll trip the light fantastic with fellow students without tripping on the light itself.
Named after a famous player of the traditional uilleann pipes, The Kerry Piper honors the tastes and history of the Emerald Isle by serving authentic Irish eats in a pub steeped in classic decor. Natural sunlight illuminates the earthen walls and richly stained wood that fills the dining room, where live performers play music throughout the week. Meanwhile, the aromas of freshly cooked shepherd’s pie, fish 'n' chips, and corned beef fill the air, transporting patrons across the Atlantic along with big-screen LCD TVs just like the ones that filled Ireland’s ancient castles.