While bowlers have become accustomed to playing under fluorescent lighting and perching on vinyl seats, Jillian's updates the experience with a nightclub atmosphere and modern decor. Each lane in the black-light bowling lounge holds up to eight people in a luminous glow that?s harmless to the eyes of baby bats. Between bowling frames, three Brunswick Black Stallion billiard tables engage those with the urge for further friendly competition. Alternately, patrons can turn to the game room where they can get their adrenaline racing. Players sate between-set hunger pangs with the dining room's menu of American eats such as hot wings, burgers, and pizzas.
In 1954, Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio, Bill Haley & His Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock," and Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Movie Theatre screened its first film. Over the next decades, it survived the skyrocketing popularity of cable television and even a tornado, but eventually closed in the 1980s. The projectors weren't powered down for long?in 1989, Mike Harroun saw an opportunity to create a place that combined the nostalgic vibe of a 1950s drive-in with the technology of a modern cinema.
These days, sunset is the cue for ultra high-definition digital projectors to whir to life and FM stereo transmitters to broadcast digital 5.1 surround sound into visitors' vehicles. The two screens change their feature films throughout the season, ensuring that crowds can catch first-run summer blockbusters before the explosions become covered with brown spots. Guests may bring their own food for a small fee, or order from a menu featuring piping-hot popcorn, giant dill pickles, and third-pound Black Angus burgers straight from the grill. That combination of old-fashioned entertainment and new-fangled equipment has won the theater plenty of press, including a spot on USA Today's list of the country's 10 best drive-ins.
Big Fish Bar & Grille's owner lures diners with seafood specialties made from fresh fish, which fill the lunch menu and dinner menu. Begin comestible voyages by knocking back an order of oysters Rockefeller ($14) while basking in the waterfront restaurant's vistas. A golden crab cake, cloaked in seasoned breadcrumbs like a baker playing hide and seek, rests on the Crabby Patty sandwich with Old Bay–sprinkled fries ($11). The Louisiana mac 'n' cheese, a pool of rigatoni noodles swimming amongst waves of a four-cheese sauce, buoys Cajun chicken and andouille sausage ($13). Big Fish wraps up the docket of edibles with a variety of jambalayas, steaks, and chops.
On Saturday nights at Channahon Lanes and Riverfront Lanes, the lights turn down and the music turns up as colored lights flash on the lanes. This weekly event is called Rock It Bowl and lends both bowling alleys the lively feel of a nightclub or the bedroom of a kid who's really afraid of the dark. Bumpers can be called into action on any lane, and even during the day, the clatter of pins is backdropped by music. Between frames, grownups can escape to the bar for a brew and kids can make their way to the video games in the arcade.
Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.
Named in honor of local firefighters and police, The Department's restaurant and liquor lounge serve modern cuisine in a loft-style space outfitted with exposed-brick walls, gleaming wood floors, and an abundantly stocked bar. In preparation for the dinner rush, waiters flip crisp white cloths to hide tables’ risqué tattoos while chefs fire up the grill and stir marinades for gourmet steaks, pork loin, and seafood plates. House specialty dishes reflect the chef's meticulous attention to detail; the Cajun rib eye basks in a marinade for 48 hours, and the crab-stuffed tilapia offsets the rich seafood with a white-wine sauce. At lunch, a menu of gourmet sandwiches and burgers fosters casual meals. Fridays see live acoustic entertainment filling the air with quarter notes as bartenders work hard shaking potent cocktails and luring corks out of wine bottles with maraschino cherries. Those craving al fresco eats during warmer months may dine on The Department's tree-lined, second story balcony.