Fragrant hookah smoke swims through the vividly hued lounge at Arabian Nights, undulating past curtains, pillows, and curling decorative accents. Guests take in scents through the winding tubes attached to their stations' apparatuses, choosing from an extensive list of shishas that includes herbal varieties for those who'd like to avoid tobacco. Guests are free to bring their own snacks to the lounge, which also serves teas, sodas, coffees, and juices.
The decor is eclectic. In one section, royal-blue walls contrast with the fairy-light-sprinkled vines that crawl around the perimeter of the ceiling. In another, orange and red walls corral a TV and a DJ station flanking a fireplace. Dramatic mirrors, low cushions, and checkerboard walls characterize other regions of the softly lit space, filled with guests surfing the web with complimentary WiFi and caterpillars avoiding political topics on first dates.
More than 100 flavors of shisha infuse Milan Hookah Lounge’s softly lit atmosphere with a smoky haze that swirls off of premium tobacco from brands such as Fantasia and Starbuzz. Tobacco-free hydro herbal molasses comes in a slew of sweet flavors, satiating nicotine abstainers and easing the conscience of leafy, tobacco-human hybrids, and refreshing colas and teas cleanse smoke-saturated tongues. Guests kick back in a cozy lounge area with ceiling-suspended lamps, low couches, and sports-broadcasting TVs as occasional live music and belly dancing swell the airwaves with melodious and abdominal vibrations.
Laugh Out Loud Theater sprays the suburban fringes of Chicago with a thick foam of world-class improv comedy. An extensive, experienced cast brings a highly interactive, audience-assisted experience to the intimate Schaumburg stage, drawing on hive mind suggestions to kick off its inevitably LOL-worthy sketches. Families can provide the laugh track for the 7:30 p.m. show, which serves up healthy levels of consistent hilarity minus the inclusion of swearwords or adult situations such as applying for bank loans and replacing lost driver’s licenses. The 9:30 p.m. adult show is structured the same way, but performers will take audience suggestions that pave the way for hilarious onstage ribaldry guaranteed to knock the buckle-hat off your inner puritan. Both shows rely heavily on audience participation, and LOL’s indefatigable ad-libbers make it a point to invite willing audience members up on stage to help them achieve exponential levels of funny.
Strike Ten Lanes is a state of the art bowling center with 14 lanes, 20 HD televisions, and two lounge and bar areas. Slip into swanky rental shoes, select an appropriately weighted sphere, and battle it out for two rounds against the evil pins. Bowlers can socialize, strategize, or rhapsodize between frames from the long, comfy couches at the end of each lane. Time your rolls and subsequent high-fives to the beat of tunes streaming straight from the live DJ booth into Strike Ten's high-tech sound system.
Chicago City Limits, an official Blackhawks bar, hosts a horde of televised and live entertainment options and a home team of servers who sling a specials-studdedmenu of classic bar fare and drinks. Dinnertime diners can defeat hunger in overtime with a full slab of ribs ($15.95), while pieces of beer-battered Alaskan whitefish lead the weekly all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry to victory ($6.99). Weekday lunch specials arrive tableside sporting a dapper fez and a choice of sides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and include a classically prepared hamburger and chef salad ($4.99 each). Break fasts on Saturdays and Sundays until noon with a choice of french toast ($2.95), a three-egg omelette flanked by potatoes, toast, and coffee ($5.95), or a bacon-topped breakfast sandwich ($3.95). Wash down this array of eats with beer by the bottle, pint, or pitcher, or a cocktail creation coached by a varsity mixologist.
In 1966, taxi drivers Sam Levine and Fred Bartoli finally became fed up with their stop-and-go lives full of honking horns and rush-hour traffic. So they shut off their engines, handed in their keys, and took root. Along with pal George Loverde, they invested in property just off the bustling Magnificent Mile, but then didn’t know what to do with it. According to a 2004 profile in the Chicago Tribune, they got their direction when someone finally said, “Put pizza in it.”
Though the rest is history, it wasn’t quite easy. Bartoli and Loverde came from Italian and Sicilian backgrounds, but neither knew the key to a good pizza. It wasn’t until they hired Alice Mae Redmond, the woman responsible for the dough at Pizzeria Uno, that the Gino's East Chicagoans know and love was truly born. Although Alice Mae retired back in 1989, the recipe for her flaky, golden deep-dish pizza crust lives on.
Today, Gino’s still stands at its original spot on Michigan and Superior but has also stretched to 10 other city and suburban locations. Whether dining downtown or in St. Charles, customers find Alice Mae’s signature crust piled with mounds of cheese, sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes, and plenty of fresh toppings—from sausage and pepperoni to jalapeños and ground beef. Hot from the oven, pizzas arrive at tables snuggled inside seasoned deep-dish pans, ready to welcome a fork and knife. Thin-crust varieties are also available for those who don’t know how to work silverware, as is a bounty of sandwiches.