ChicagoBlu’s crack team of chefs conjure press-lauded burgers, sandwiches, and chicken wings to round out their menu of classic pub grub. Meal-prefacing portions of Southside skins ($6.99) load crispy potato skins with bacon and cheese, the greatest meal partnership since tea and pinkies. Wrap fists around the steakhouse cheddar burger ($8.99), which wards off hunger pangs with a patty of flame-grilled beef, steak sauce, and onion rings. Boneless chicken strips ($7.99 for five) take marathon swims in sauces such as Bayou Blaze, barbecue, and teriyaki as mouths patiently await them at the finish line. Finally, postmeal cool-downs begin with ice cream ($1.99) anointed with caramel or chocolate sauce and end with talking oneself down from the taste bud–coddling experience.
Post Game Pub & Sedona Grille's upbeat crew slings hearty sandwiches, piping pizzas, and zesty wings from an extensive menu selection. Prevent bellies from roaring at children by savoring a Sedona-stuffed burger, a half-pound patty packed with onions, jalapeños and bacon, and coated with barbecue sauce ($8.95). Specialty pub wings don their breading, dive into in a deep fryer, sear on the grill, and sidle onto plates wearing a bold slathering of honey mustard, barbecue, or hot sauce ($6.95 for eight; $9.95 for 12). Diners can stage their own extreme Wheel of Fortune tournament by spinning a 12-inch pub pizza ($8.50+) and then demanding a trip to Barbados.
The grill gurus at Charleyhorse Restaurant sizzle a menu of sandwiches, entrees, and burgers within sports-centric dining digs. Wax handlebar mustaches over plates of Rollie cheese fingers carved from 40-pound blocks of mozzarella and cheddar cheese before they’re served with a side of marinara sauce ($9). Buffalo shrimp wraps brim with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, and cheddar jack cheese ($9.87), and burgers such as the Smarty Jones, piled high with bacon, cheddar cheese, and fried egg ($9.69), can power patrons through a marathon session of viewing marathon blooper videos. Large appetites may sample entrees such as the pot roast with beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions ($11.95), or nosh on Charleyhorse's malty basket of Carlton fish ‘n’ chips ($10.37).
Rokwelz Bar Meets Grill piles plates with classic pub fare that is well met by pints of varied brews slung in a jovial neighborhood setting. A frosty domestic beer ($3), glass of wine ($5–$7), or spunky mixed drink ($4.50–$7) can cool palates scorched by the punchy, jalapeño-topped Light My Fire burger ($8.99). The brotherly-love-laced beef slices and soft mozzarella cheese of the philly steak Samich ($8.99) presents a sentimental counterpoint to the unblinking new york strip steak ($18.99), a seasoned city dweller that eschews taste-bud small talk in favor of forthright flavor. The chefs at Rokwelz use their uncanny origami skills to flip and spin disparate ingredients into delicious wraps and paninis, such as the ham, cheese, and pesto-strewn Lucky Lefty's panini ($8.99). To cover deafening sounds of satisfied chewing, Rokwelz occasionally hosts live music, and on nice days, guests may elect to be seated outdoors on the large patio.
At TomKelly's Chophouse and Pub, an emblazoned cloverleaf over the door may grant Irish luck to all who enter, but it’s the menu of Irish-inspired pub fare that leaves eyes (and stomachs) smiling. Emerald Isle dishes of corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie join American counterparts including pizzas bedecked with buffalo chicken and po boys topped with prime rib, grilled onions, and mozzarella cheese.
While devouring Irish eats, guests can take in sporting events from 14 plasma TVs or tap their forks to the rhythms of live DJs, who tend to put on better parties than dead DJs.
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.
Intimo's menu whisks diners to the Italian countryside with a variety of authentic house-made entrees. More than 300 bottles of distinct wines hibernate in the 58-degree walk-in wine cellar. Director Frank Pecora fosters a relaxed, sophisticated atmosphere with dim lighting and sleek, dark wooden accents. Candles flicker atop tables draped in white linens, casting shadow-puppet adaptations of Godzilla vs. Fork and Knife on the exposed-brick walls.