Visitors to the Elgin Public House step into a cozy interior reinforced by exposed-brick walls. A culinary crew revives weary locals with a menu of hearty pub eats and a beer selection of 87 varieties imported from across Europe and the United States. Chefs use certified-Angus beef for burgers, stuff pork chops full of bleu cheese cornbread and mango chutney, and hand-cut steaks in-house after aging them a minimum of two weeks to ensure optimal flavor and prevent them from prank-calling patrons. A calendar of weekly events keeps things lively with regular offerings such as Wednesday-night trivia, Friday-night fish fries, and daily specials. One Tuesday each month, limited-seating dinner-pairing events offer six-course meals, with each course accompanied by an alcoholic beverage, such as red wine or tequila.
Conceived by Las Vegas restaurateur Mark DiMartino, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery evokes Ireland by way of Vegas, with waitresses dressed in plaid mini kilts shouldering trays of chilled beer and pub fare. Like an enchilada stuffed with four-leaf clovers, the eatery’s Irish nachos interpret a south-of-the-border classic in a Celtic way, slathering potato chips in cheese sauce and seasoned ground beef; alternatively, pot roast and vegetables simmer traditionally in the Olde Dublin Irish stew’s Guinness-infused beef stock. Barkeeps pour a full bar’s worth of wine, cocktails, and beer, which surfaces in bottles, bombers, and multi-brew mixes such as the Blue Moon and Guinness combination. High-definition TVs glow with a ceaseless parade of professional and college baseball, basketball, and hockey, and live bands add to the entertainment smorgasbord on Friday and Saturday nights.
All it takes is one step through the unassuming glass door on the first floor of the historic 1851 St. Charles Hotel building. One step to enter a charming, cozy setting awash in low lighting and filled with the aromas of herbs and sizzling meats. The intimate space is home to The BeeHive Tavern, whose owners—inspired by the atmosphere of vintage pubs—decked out their establishment in dark mahogany accents and furnishings that, just like George Washington's teeth, are made from wood. Top-shelf spirits, wines, and imported beers flow at the polished bar, and servers ferry burgers, herb-tossed chicken wings, fish tacos, and other classic pub dishes to booths in a restored dining room. Meanwhile, a separate game room with billiards provides post-meal diversions.
Alibi fuses the dancing, cocktails, and music of a lively nightlife destination with the tender steaks, flavorful seafood, and pastas of an upscale bar and grill. Revelers dance under ribbons of multicolored light on the wide-open dance floor as live musicians regale audiences with catchy guitar hooks, blistering sax solos, and impassioned defenses of their modern jazz Master's theses. Mahogany-hued hardwood floors and glossy bar tops accented with polished brass frame specialty cocktails or flavored martinis, and teams of black-clad servers trot out plates of filet mignon, bone-in rib eye, and asiago-stuffed shrimp.
If you had to put a word to the cozy, jovial atmosphere at McNally's Irish Pub, the first one to come to mind probably wouldn't be "craic." That is, unless you're Irish. It's the term for the special kind of camaraderie for which Ireland's neighborhood pubs are known, encompassing everything from the quaint decor to the rounds of after-dinner drinks that keep gatherings rolling. At McNally's, that feeling is everywhere, from the sound of pubgoers clinking glasses of Guinness and Smithwick's to the familiar aroma of juicy corned beef and other Irish dishes. On weekdays, the good times start at lunch and carry on into the evening, with regular opportunities to participate in pub events or listen to live Irish music.
At the bar, there's something for just about everyone with a range of Scottish and Irish whiskeys and the Lurgan lager, made just for McNally's. Once everyone is in high spirits and starts to remember they haven't spoken to their plants yet that day, pubgoes leave for the evening, often coming back another time for one of the restaurant's traditional Irish breakfasts.