In pubs across Ireland, the craic, which means enjoyable conversation and gossip, is everything. It's the same at The Curragh Irish Pub & Restaurant, with regular live music, Irish dancing, and live streaming of rugby and soccer matches from around the world. The Curragh's menu relies on its Irish ancestry, with traditional dishes such as corned beef and cabbage or chicken boxty. Beers follow suit, with dozens of Irish ales, including Smithwick's and Guinness, on tap. Whiskeys such as Jameson and Bushmills are also poured through tap-like spigots at the wood-paneled bar. In the summery months, The Curragh's patio radiates with warmth and conviviality, often humming with the cheer and snorted laughter of catered parties.
At a three-times-weekly gathering at A’s Bar, The Chubby Bullfrog combines fine cheeses and smooth sips of five 6-ounce import and craft beers with sausages provided by Perl’s All American Sausage Company and Chicago mainstay G.I. Joe, The Sausage Man, a traveling meat salesman featured on ABC’s 190 North. Sausages' smoky notes commingle with beers' bitter and sharp accents, sending a wave of flavor crashing over sleeping taste buds and destroying their sandcastles. If the Chicago Bears play during Sunday’s class, students receive free food.
A towering, 35-pound pile of Angus beef, American cheese, and bacon awaits those who accept the Da Big Hurt Challenge at Shoeless Joes Ale House & Grille, the 22-year-old sports bar that has won over Chicago diners and Channel 2 News alike. Diners who tackle the challenge are rewarded with a T-shirt and are automatically entered to win the next presidential election. Guests with smaller appetites can enjoy more reasonably sized selections from the sports bar's menu of 14 gourmet burgers, steak, ribs, and pizza. Meals pair with pours from an impressive wine list or the roster of more than 20 craft beers on tap. The restaurant's 36 flat-screen televisions beam sports into the pub throughout the week while guests shoot pool, and singers belt out karaoke tunes on Saturdays.
Zanies Comedy Club presents established comics in Chicago, St. Charles, and Rosemont. Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chelsea Handler are among the many comedic greats who have brought in crowds with jokes since the club opened in 1978.
Bije’s makes pizza lovers feel at home with delicious recipes and friendly service in a laid-back neighborhood bar. Built around a pizza recipe smuggled from the marinara-soaked hills of Lucca, Italy, the menu features a mouthwatering selection of feastitudes for every appetite. Start with a Wambo Combo platter, where fried zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, and mozzarella sticks form a crunchy golden dream team of finger foods ($7.95), before trying a crispy, thin-crust pizza. Forged from hand-tossed dough and topped with handfuls of cheese, vegetables, and meats, each disk delights diners with a personalized collection of toppings ($11.95 for a large, up to $2 per topping). Specialty pies offer a preselected lineup of ingredients such as the fiery buffalo-wing pizza ($12.25 for a large) or Bije's International ($16.75 for a large), a savory summit of prosciutto, mushrooms, and carmelized onions with a romano-cream sauce. Sandwich lovers rejoice at Bije’s choices of bun stuffers lined with italian beef ($5.85) and italian sausage ($5.75), while carb cravers try the house-made ravioli stuffed with meat, cheese, or spinach ($6.95).