Ryans Public House makes meals merry with Irish and American comfort fare and more than 70 beers and whiskeys from around the globe. Guests can devour a little bit of Celtic culture with an appetizer of corned-beef bites—mini open-faced sandwiches with swiss cheese and horseradish-cream sauce ($6.95)—or a whole lot with an authentic fish 'n' chips dinner ($9.75). A hearty shepherd's pie ($8.95) sates meat-and-potatoes cravings, and fish tacos hook diners with a double-lure of Mexican street corn and avocado-cream sauce ($9.95). The Chiappetta burger brings the bounty of two meals, sandwiching bacon, grilled onions, and a half-pound of Angus beef between two regulation-size grilled-cheese sandwiches ($9.95).
Owner Tom Kampschroeder, a wine professional with more than 29 years of experience, shares his grapey know-how with most any guest who walks through Salt Creek Wine Bar's doors. Sample wines-of-a-feather with the wine flight menu, or check out the beers and spirits menu. Wash down washes of tingly wash with Italian delights including artisan cheese flights, pizza, and seafood.
Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
For more than 20 years, comedians of all levels of notoriety have peddled their laugh-inducing verbal wares on Riddles Comedy Clubs’ stages. An airbrushed city skyline sits behind the corner stage at the original Alsip location, where such comedians as Jeff Dunham, Louie Anderson, and Drew Carey slung jokes to side-split audiences. A full bar with overhanging LCD TVs dispenses alcoholic and nonalcoholic whistle-wetters in between sets at both the Alsip location and the new Berwyn spot. Additionally, Riddles' lots house free parking for those driving from far-off locales or patrons who can't find a limo service that takes knock-knock jokes as payment.
Olive or Twist pairs its 36 unique martinis, 20 bottled microbrews, and international wines with contemporary American fare concocted by chef Robert Nava. Shaken or stirred libations range from the Thin Mint martini, which comes in a Girl Scout box, to the Florida Key Lime Pie martini, a dram of Bacardi rum, Midori liqueur, and chocolate liqueur garnished with lime ($9–$11). Diners can also choose from brews including 3 Floyd's Alpha King pale ale ($5) to accompany small plates such as the potato-wrapped prawns with spinach, artichokes, and mustard-seed butter ($10). Tenderloin sliders topped with blue cheese and red-onion confit ($9) annex tummies before calling for reinforcements of classic American sandwiches ($6–$12) or large-plate entrees such as the jerk ribs with an auxiliary unit of saffron shoestring potatoes ($18). For dessert, sweet teeth delight in the banana split ($8) and apple-and-cheese strudel ($5), named after Frank Zappa's overlooked fifth child. Dinner patrons should call ahead for reservations amid Olive or Twist's low-lit tables and brick walls.
Off Broadway Pub's owner, Rick Dahms, always knew his hot wings were something special. What he didn't realize, was that everyone else knew it as well. This became evident when his jumbo hot wings won 670 The Score's listener's best wing award in 2010, taking the top slot largely due to the heaping portions he serves and the amount of meat on the bone. His kitchen doesn't skimp on the restaurant's other entrees either, which range from hearty hamburgers and half racks of ribs to build-your-own pizzas. Two flat screen televisions play the city's game over Off Broadway's lengthy bar, where bartenders pour shots of Jaegermeister, draft beers, and mixed drinks.
At Paisans Pizzeria & Restaurant, chefs paint pizzas with fresh, sweet sauce made daily, and then slide the doughy creations into a menu to coexist with Italian-inspired entrees and sandwiches. Thin-crust, deep-dish, and Sicilian-style pies can carry customizable constellations of meats and freshly cut veggies or can arrive with topping combos predestined to meet and conquer hunger. Ground beef and jalapeños neighbor cheddar and black olives atop the taco pizza ($14.95–$23.95), and ham, pineapple, and green peppers skim along the hawaiian variety ($13.95–$21.95). House-made breading sheaths tender baked chicken parmesan ($10), and italian sausage, grilled asparagus, and garlicky cummerbund flakes festoon farfalle boscaiola's bow-tie pasta ($10). The Luigi Special sandwich’s ($9) brioche bun awaits to enclose a half-pound hamburger or chicken breast, decorated with spicy capicola, salami, and pesto mayonnaise. The team at Paisans Pizzeria & Restaurant works hard to maintain a warm, friendly atmosphere akin to the eatery’s original, introduced to the community more than 25 years ago. Servers are proud to know many customers by name, as the knowledge helps them shout warnings about incoming meatballs just shot from the kitchen’s cannon.