Sisters Carey Williams and Lisa Marcotte bartended their way through college at the University of Illinois, but their love of the restaurant world didn’t go away after graduation. Carey followed up with culinary school and spent a stint as a caterer before joining Lisa to open Marcotte's Bar & Grill. Now she runs the kitchen, crafting a menu of bar food that ranges from buffalo wings and chicken-salad sandwiches to certified Black Angus burgers and thin-crust pizzas. In addition to the delicious food, the two sisters also entice guests with their family-friendly pub space’s amenities, which include free WiFi, patio seating in warmer months, and weekly events such as bingo, karaoke, and trivia night.
Every Monday night, The Blarney Stone opens its doors to a very special group of people—the geeks. Their weekly hosted trivia night, lovingly called "Geeks Who Drink," allows eggheads and trivia buffs of all walks of life to come together and test their wits as they feast on Irish classics such as the shepherd’s pie and halibut and chips. Meanwhile, cozied up to the bar or tucked behind a table, those who hide their geekiness under a bushel basket can mutter the answers under their breath while nursing an expertly poured pint of Guinness or tearing into one of the pub’s many flavorful burgers. In addition to the trivia night, patrons can satisfy their need for competition with NFL broadcasts and an accompanying football breakfast, a big-screen hookup to a Nintendo Wii, and paired pool tables and dart boards.
The Lingering Black Death sounds like its best feature is that it can only happen once. However, it happens as many times as you like at The Linger Martini Bar, where the moniker refers to a potent cocktail—a blend of absinthe, Pages Parfait Amour, and Bombay Gin is cut with cherry bitters, a sugar cube, and a dash of sweet champagne. The Death is just one of the bar’s 25 specialty drinks, which incorporate liquors such as Patron, Ciroc, Jose Cuervo, and Bacardi Limon. Patrons who leave their pet woodpeckers at home can enjoy cocktails and appetizers at a 25-foot walnut bar, or lounge on a comfy couch or in a low-clung captain’s chair. And for a bit of entertainment, they can try their hand at five machines with video slots and video poker, or enjoy the sounds of live music that never requires a cover.
Durbin’s rewards watering mouths with a roster of gratifying pub fare, a full bar, and an idyllic outdoor beer garden at every location. Durbin's menus vary slightly between locations, united by an emphasis on meaty sandwiches, comforting fried nosh, pizza, and trademarked ribs. Prime appetites with a Durbin’s Combo—mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, potato skins, and onion rings ($8.50)—or the Kelly Special's mozzarella-topped butterflied filet mignon on toasted garlic bread ($10.95). Durbin's slow-smokes its signature “Branding Iron” ribs over an open pit of smoldering hickory wood, basting them with secret-recipe barbecue sauce and whispering sweet, flaming nothings to them tenderize the meat ($11.95 for a half slab; $18.95 for a full slab). The 14-inch stuffed sausage pizza’s layers of meat and cheese are trapped between its saucy crust, forming a delicate closed ecosystem of Italian flavor ($17.95).
Verdant acreage surrounds Jordan’s Pub & Eatery, which serves as a lively rendezvous inside the calm of the Cook County forest preserve. Homemade pub grub and scratch-made thin-crust pizzas comprise the menu alongside 35 beers, 8 of which flow from the bar’s foam-flecked taps. Like the arcade in the basement of the United Nations, the eatery is an arena for friendly competition: Chicago sports and UFC fights flicker on eight high-definition TVs, and darts slice through the lambent glow of a blinking battalion of arcade games. On Tuesday evenings, amateur crooners pour melodies into the microphone of a top-notch karaoke setup. Kaleidoscopic alcohol bombs cycle through watermelon, cherry, and grape flavors throughout the week, providing tiny alternatives to Jordan’s 16 martinis, which evoke such decadent flavors as key-lime pie and creamsicle.
The Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association has offered patrons ball-rolling entertainment with numerous local member centers for more than three decades. Over the course of two games (up to a $4 value each), hole-bearing balls can spend at least 20 frames gracefully gliding across waxed planks and toppling tiptoeing pins, or alternately fall victim to the gutters' tempting embrace. No matter which of the 28 participating locations patrons decide to patronize, their toes will be stylishly covered in a pair of rental shoes (up to a $4 value) that work to minimize bipedal friction and maximize the uniformity of spontaneous song-and-dance numbers.
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