For centuries, there weren’t many lively, TV-enhanced pubs with gourmet food coming out of the kitchen. Luckily for those in Naperville, Tap In Pub & Carvery balances good times with a few good eats. As patrons cheer on the home team or diss a rival town’s Jeopardy contestant, chefs carve sandwiches to order, such as Thanksgiving sliders with sage stuffing and cranberry jam, or a torta cubano with hand-carved pork, ham, Swiss, and sliced pickles. Succulent meats pair nicely with throwback beers and local craft brew drafts from Solemn Oath, Two Brothers, and Revolution. Guests wanting something a bit sweeter can get a seasonal Arnold Palmer or a signature cocktail such as the Ben Hogan with Buffalo Trace bourbon, cherry Madagascar vanilla molasses, ginger beer, and fresh sprigs of mint. For sports fans, the venue plans to add golf simulators in the near future.
Tommy Nevin's Pub was founded by Steven Prescott and christened for his grandfather Thomas Nevin, a WWI veteran. The flagship location in Evanston touts a bright red façade that pays homage to the renowned Temple Bar in Dublin, and the menus at all three locations likewise salute the culture of the Emerald Isle. Though it inhabits a decidedly Celtic corner of the pub world, Chicago Bar Project deemed the Evanston outpost “the best bar in the suburbs” for its “intriguing combination of country Irish pub, modern Chicago bar and cutting-edge alternative music venue.” Chefs whip up corned beef and shepherd's pie as bartenders handle taps and spirits. Friends can cheer on local sports teams on TV or wrack their brains to remember the name of Azerbaijan's currency and most popular potato-chip flavor at weekly trivia nights.
Totals Sports Bar's electrified atmosphere unites fans of teams, tunes, and eats seven days a week. Alongside a mammoth projection screen, 24 large televisions join forces to upend boredom and beam big games straight into thirsty eyes. As guests browse the variegated menu of succulent burgers and satisfying entrees, chefs step out from behind an onsite smoker to test the structural integrity of dinnerware with heaps of barbecue pulled meats and char-grilled baby back ribs. An extensive beer menu offers to offset savory bites with sudsy sips from brewers such as Two Brothers. On weekend nights, the bar transforms into a high-energy music venue, complete with a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and auto-tuned bouncers.
WineStyles’ inspiration for its wine-tasting parties began, of all places, at a backyard barbecue. Some friends at the barbecue found themselves with too many bottles of wine. As an experiment, they decided to taste the wines blindly, so as not to be influenced by price or packaging. This impromptu tasting became the template for WineStyles, a boutique designed to help you choose a wine simply by taste. That is, wines here aren’t categorized by varietal or region, but instead by one of eight taste profiles: crisp, silky, rich, and bubbly for whites; fruity, mellow, bold, and nectar for reds. However, patrons interested in knowing more about their selected bottle can still do so—each bottle comes with a description of its characteristics and suggested food pairings.
Those looking to learn even more about wines can attend one of WineStyles’ weekly tastings or discovery classes. During these events, certified specialists explore everything from the history of different varietals to current trends in wine drinking, such as which wine goes best with texting. Different levels of wine-club membership give participants two to three bottles a month (each selected by a Masters Wine Panel), invitations to private tastings, and discounts toward additional purchases.
Located within the clubhouse of Country Lakes Golf Club, Navarro’s of Naperville’s menu aims to complement the casual, yet refined surroundings. For the most part, Chef Jerry Navarro draws on his 35 years of experience with fine Italian cuisine, making everything from italian sausage and gnocchi to marinara sauce and cannolis in-house. He isn't afraid to branch out, however, rounding out the selection with dishes like barbecued ribs and chicken marsala. Even with this variety of influences, the menu demonstrates an undeniable commitment to comfort food with an elevated touch and homemade ingredients.
Weather permitting, outdoor seating allows patrons to enjoy their meal with a view of the surrounding golf course, while the indoor dining area provides a bit more shelter amid the rich wooden tones and ceiling fans that help circulate light throughout the room. Friday and Saturday evenings become a bit livelier in the clubroom when the restaurant hosts Rock N Dine events, bringing in live music to entertain the guests and encourage celebrating on the dance floor. Navarro’s also has banquet facilities where guests can hold weddings, graduations, anniversaries, birthdays, or parties for any occasion.