Pete & Johnny's Tavern & Grille dishes out a relaxed dining experience bolstered by a vast supply of brews and a menu stockpiled with hearty American grill fare. Prelude your potlatch with appetizers such as the steak-cut onion rings, served in a basket or latched around ring fingers for impromptu marriage proposals ($4.69). A 10-inch taco pizza revs esophageal engines with a state-of-the-art three-cheese hybrid of ground beef, picante sauce, tomatoes, and sour cream ($8.99). Follow up taste-bud teasers with a focaccia-bread bruschetta burger ($6.79), the chopped steak with grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, and bordelaise sauce ($9.99), or a full slab of barbecue baby-back ribs ($20.99). Pete & Johnny's libation supply is never in short order, with premium drafts and bottles abutting a range of wines and liquors to keep food company—or to fuel album-length karaoke opuses on Thursdays and Saturdays.
It’s a scene you’d expect to find in a quiet alpine town: inside a charming, half-timbered lodge, lamps of stained glass cast a warm glow on diners as they fill up on German dishes such as Bavarian pretzels and mini pierogis. But this is The Bavarian Lodge, where chefs craft wiener schnitzels from farm-raised, antibiotic-free pork cutlets and bake Bavarian roulade—a beefsteak stuffed with veggies, egg, and sausage—in rich peppercorn gravy. As with any German restaurant, however, the beer menu takes precedence. Here it deserves to, with 35 taps and more than 160 bottled brews lined up in tidy rows. This fine collection of suds won The Bavarian Lodge the title of world-class site from BeerAdvocate, which also gave the Hoover Dam that honor before learning that it was not, in fact, built to stockpile beer.
Q Sports Bar & Grill couldn't fit all its pub attractions under one roof. There were too many beanbags, not enough room for the pool tables, and nowhere for the darts to hide. So, guests can get their Q fix at locations in both Darien and Downers Grove. An Internet jukebox plays convivial tunes as waiters take food orders, describing, if asked, the kitchen's bounty of housemade chicken wings, turkey clubs, Angus-beef burgers (Darien), and burrito and taco entrees (Downers Grove).
Both restaurants invite patrons to wend through a sea of green-felt pool tables and keep in touch with sports via high-definition TVs. Additionally, Q's Darien location boasts a large projection screen and in-booth models in addition to the regular wall-mounted TVs. The Darien spot is also the place to catch performances by local and nationally touring musicians or soak up vitamin D on an outdoor patio.
Ballydoyle specializes in comforting Irish fare and even more comforting Irish ales. Folks will wonder why more meat isn't corned after trying the star of Ballydoyle's sandwiches, the corned beef on marble rye (8.95). Heartier Irish specialties include shepherds pie ($11.95), Bangers and Mashed ($11.95), and Dinny's Irish Fry—an aorta-challenging amalgamation of Irish bacon, Irish sausage, black-and-white pudding, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, two eggs any style, toast, and the keys to Dublin for those that clean their plates ($12.95). Another Irish specialty, boxty ($11.95–$13.95), wraps a homemade potato griddle cake around a variety of fillings, such as vegetables, chicken, and Larry Bird's NBA championship rings. An Irish pub would just be Denny's without an extensive list of draft and bottled beer. Ballydoyle's is one of the only pubs that serves McCaffrey's Irish Cream Ale, making it as delicious as it is exclusive.
Don?t let the shepherd's pie, fish 'n' chips, and draft beers fool you. Though Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery snatches up the best cultural fragments of Scotland, England, and the Emerald Isle, the eatery started in Las Vegas. Restaurateur Mark DiMartino sought to combine the communal, rousing feel of pubs in the British Isles with the campy fun of American sports bars, pairing hearty food and traditional trappings with televisions and waitresses clad in mini kilts and alluring plaid halter-tops modeled after William Wallace?s eveningwear.
Since its founding, Tilted Kilt locations have popped up in 25 states and two Canadian provinces, serving all manner of hybrid dishes such as the Scottish cheese steak, the Sloppy Jane made with sliced turkey or shaved rib eye, and the Tilted Guilt, an ice-cream sundae perched atop a cookie.
Tommy Nevin's Pub was founded by Steven Prescott and christened for his grandfather Thomas Nevin, a WWI veteran. The flagship location in Evanston touts a bright red façade that pays homage to the renowned Temple Bar in Dublin, and the menus at all three locations likewise salute the culture of the Emerald Isle. Though it inhabits a decidedly Celtic corner of the pub world, Chicago Bar Project deemed the Evanston outpost “the best bar in the suburbs” for its “intriguing combination of country Irish pub, modern Chicago bar and cutting-edge alternative music venue.” Chefs whip up corned beef and shepherd's pie as bartenders handle taps and spirits. Friends can cheer on local sports teams on TV or wrack their brains to remember the name of Azerbaijan's currency and most popular potato-chip flavor at weekly trivia nights.