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.
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.
No matter where you sit, there?s a good chance you?ll be in full view of the game at Harry's Sports Bar?that's because the Countryside pub encircles bar-goers with more than 10 plasma and LCD screens, three oversize projection screens, and 30 or so standard TVs. As the sound system roars with cheers and jeers during professional ice hockey games and MMA matchups, guests drink ice-cold drafts and top-shelf liquor and order thin-crust pizzas and sandwiches. On the off chance there?s no game to watch, Harry?s provides live entertainment of its own, thanks to three pool tables, beer pong, and trivia nights.
Sam Elias knows that being cooped up during long winter days can make people stir-crazy. So in 1993, after moving from Florida, land of palm trees and beaches, to Chicago, land of frigid winds and gray slush, he founded WhirlyBall as a way for people to release pent-up energy even as snow was falling outside. During each competitive WhirlyBall game, which combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and jai alai, players zoom across an indoor 50'x80' court in motorized cars called WhirlyBugs. They wield plastic scoops to toss a wiffle ball back and forth to their teammates before throwing the ball through an elevated goal. Refs keep watch during the games, eliminating score arguments that would otherwise end in sunrise duels. To fuel up for a bout, players nibble teriyaki chicken satay, gourmet pizzas, and prime rib, and swig draft beers, which vary by location.
All three WhirlyBall spots boast off-court diversions such as video games, pool tables, foosball, and air hockey. The Vernon Hills location hosts an indoor rock-climbing wall, and both the Chicago and Vernon Hills locations invite guests into multilevel Lasertron laser-tag arenas, which fill with fog and flashing lights as combatants duck, aim, and invoke Geneva Convention protocols regarding armed conflict.
Two full-service bars, 16 TVs showcasing Chicago sports, and a comfy seating area form the backbone of Output Lounge & Sports Bar, where classic American pub fare and a dizzying assortment of adult beverages greet diners and revelers alike. The menu flourishes with timeless morsels such as piping-hot wings in a choice of mild to piquant sauces, specialty fries, and burgers. The beer list gathers patrons around and croons sea shanties of the more than 60 libations, some hailing from Windy City breweries such as Goose Island and Half Acre. Nightly events range from salsa lessons to DJ-spun and live music. Clients can shimmy on the hardwood dance floor, sit down to eat, or reserve the Zodiac Room, a private lounge equipped with bottle service.
On one side, orange-and-blue-shirted fans cheer on their team, drowning out their green-and-gold-clad counterparts. In another corner, a group wearing red-and-black jerseys cling beer-filled mugs and high-five each other in victory. At Chicago Sports Hub, flat-screen televisions flicker with multiple matches, creating a gathering space for diverse sports disciples. Here, patrons gather around wood-topped tables, ordering from a menu of pub fare served late into the night. Thin-crust pizzas are made from a family recipe, and cheese stuffs the half-pound burger billed the Juicy Lucy, served on a brioche or pretzel bun. Post meal, diners sink balls during free games of pool played beneath the image of the Chicago skyline lining the walls, and on Saturday nights local DJs spin dance music, spurring reenactments of the day’s best touchdown dances.