Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge’s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 17 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.
Glowing wall sconces glint off burnished-wood furnishings at Skores Sports Bar and Grill, where textured yellow walls hoist up 19 plasma TVs. Cheering sections perched atop bar stools can hurl hoots and hollers at the NFL and UFC athletes who grace these screens as bartenders pour craft suds from the likes of Goose Island, and as chefs conjure upscale bar fare from secret recipes and homemade ingredients. With grumbling stomachs silenced, diners can swivel hips to the toe-tapping tuneage of a DJ, live band, or internet jukebox, or hone their hustling skills on any number of dart boards or touchscreen games. Those glued to the TV or their child's science project can take advantage of Skores’ delivery services, which ferry food to patrons as late as 2 a.m.
For Delores Balogun, the founder of iGlow Mentoring, it was the inspiration from mentors in her own girlhood that carved her path toward motivating girls and young women to empower themselves. Now, the humanitarian establishes regular mentoring events and programs that encourage female youngsters to believe in themselves and learn from each other, hopefully—as the iGlow acronym illustrates—Inspiring Girls to Lead Our World.
Like a Picasso portrait of a bowling alley, Kings presents many facets stitched together seamlessly. Within the vibrant 27,000-square-foot interior, ‘70s supernova-style chandeliers and overstuffed lounge seating hark back to the retro roots of Americana while more than 50 big-screen HDTVs and projectors inject a spike of modern, technology-driven society. Above 20 bowling lanes, whose oil glistens under colored lights, sports stream so that not a play is missed. Three billiards tables, on the other hand, rest in a lounge area that is relatively private, cut off from the rest of the world and the crash of pins by muted red walls. Kings has hosted thousands of parties at locations across the country since its opening, and has private party rooms, where six bowling lanes lit with black lights complement the dotted light spread by a spinning disco ball.
Though kids are welcome to bowl and eat, the decor begins a message that ends with the 21+ policy in the evenings: this is not the average bowling alley. On granite topped tables amid the dining area's curtain-draped walls, patrons can dine on a menu of pizza, burgers, and ribs. Outside, chrome-topped tables dapple the patio, beckoning young lovers or negotiating world leaders to enjoy a specialty cocktail—such as the Big Balls for Two—or share an ice-cream float.
Chicago may be a city of industry, of big shoulders, and of windy gusts, but it's also a city of food. Just ask the residents who frame their pasts with memories of dining at iconic restaurants or plot out their futures with reservations at new hotspots. Or better yet, ask the board and committee of Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame, a group wholly dedicated to celebrating the city's rich culinary life.
Ever since 2005, the group has been recognizing those who've taken Chicago's dining scene to new levels. They do so through an annual Chef's Hall of Fame bash, during which guests can sip drinks and mingle with some of the food industry's brightest stars. Past Hall of Fame inductees include legendary chefs Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and Priscila Satkoff. The 2014 event brings in luminaries such as Stephanie Izard, the James Beard award-winning chef behind Girl & the Goat and Little Goat. The organization operates beyond the annual bash too, by preserving rare kitchen artifacts, cookbooks, and fossilized silverware in a culinary museum.