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.
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.
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.
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.
Diners have sidled up to the bar at Durbin's to sip pints and nosh on homestyle Irish- and Italian-inspired eats for more than 25 years. In addition to corned beef sandwiches and house-made ricotta-stuffed ravioli, the diverse menu features butterflied filet mignon and baby back ribs slathered in a signature sauce. The restaurant offers a catering menu for special events, from business meetings to birthdays to block parties celebrating the cool neighbors who just moved here from California.
There's something different about Trio Bar. The dimly lit atmosphere might seem familiar, the crowds of friends may feel like family, the vodka-lemonade mix might taste like a distant summer afternoon—but there's a scent in the air that isn't common in bars. That's because Trio's kitchen sends out a steady stream of classic Chicago-style sandwiches stacked with roast beef and spicy giardiniera, Angus beef burgers on fragrant pretzel rolls, and homestyle Italian favorites. Housemade meatballs crown platefuls of spaghetti, and crispy thin-crust pizzas emerge with any combination of 23 toppings, including shrimp, basil, and zucchini. It's this mix of garlic, barbecue sauce, grilled rib-eye steaks, and freshly baked dough that fills the air and transforms something familiar into something entirely different.
Trio Bar's tables let guests enjoy this bounty peacefully while leaving plenty of room for crowds to stand, mingle, and cheer on Thursday-evening karaoke performers. Live DJ sets get the weekends rolling, and flat-screen televisions fill the rest of the nights with sports broadcasts and slow-motion replays of Garry Kasparov's most famous chess moves.
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