At The ComedySportz Theatre, audience suggestions keep an all-ages, family-friendly and fast-paced vortex of scenes, games, and songs spinning in competitive shows that pit two improv teams against each other. Inside the intimate, 149-seat theater, spontaneity rules as a referee moderates the all-ages-appropriate hilarity pitched between the Chicago Bosses and The Evanston Express. At the end of each comedic duel, the points and audience votes are tallied to determine the winning team, sentencing the losers to feed the doves that live inside the winners' top hats.
The ComedySportz Training Center's seasoned instructors also teach six-week courses in the art of improvised hilarity and the essential virtues of spontaneity, risk taking, and engagement with the moment. Through scene work, ComedySportz games, and short- and long-form improv, students learn to keep audiences roaring in order to jump-start a career or become a more affable bank robber.
Drinks flow to the beat of the night's soundtrack, an eclectic selection of dance music ranging from salsa to bass-heavy club hits. Salsa Saturdays are perfect for a tall margarita thirst quencher ($6), or refresh your panting palate with a minty mojito ($8). Any night of the week is suitable for fermented ales from the tap ($4) or by the bottle ($3.50 domestic, $4 imported). For a late night or if you’re performing a grueling dance scene from an episode of Veronica's Closet, a Red Bull ($4) or any bomb upgrade ($6) will provide anybody with a surge of body fuel.
Located inside a brick-hewn building reminiscent of a grand castle, the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery recounts the history of the company’s former brewery, which dates back to 1844. Visitors tour Pabst’s corporate offices, take photos with a statue of Captain Frederick Pabst, and drink tall pints of the brewery’s concoctions. The gift shop stocks vintage Pabst memorabilia, including steins, shirts, and artwork. Best Place’s halls and courtyards can also be rented for banquets, weddings, and other events.
It's rare for museums to have cozy dining rooms, but the Charles Allis Art Museum wasn't always a museum. Earlier in the 20th century, it was businessman and arts patron Charles Allis's Tudor-style mansion. Allis bequeathed it to the public along with his massive art collection, though, and nowadays, visitors can stop by to see pieces that span 2,000 years. Some highlights? Works by Winslow Homer, Classic antiquities, a large collection of Asian ceramics, plus rotating exhibits by local Wisconsin artists.
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum nestles in a historic mansion, too, albeit a different one. This one was built in the likeness of an Italian Renaissance villa in 1923, by architect David Adler. Its art spans a smaller period, from the 15th century through to the 18th. Visitors can browse wrought-iron work by Cyril Colnik, and explore a formal, outdoor Renaissance garden.
Founded in 1987, First Stage Children's Theater has grown into a nationally acclaimed company drawing annual audiences of more than 135,000 people. With a season including six mainstage plays and two First Steps shows, First Stage has become one of the largest family theaters in the country.
Dishing up fresh fare at a range of sophisticated and casual events for more than 60 years, Irene's was recognized as one of The Knot’s Best of Weddings 2010 picks. Patrons can employ their own service talents by picking up eats from the self-service carryout menu, such as an assorted sandwich tray for 12 ($32.95) or fresh vegetable platter for 26 to 35 ($38.95). Hot veggie sides serve about 25 guests, such as the julienne blend, a mélange of fresh carrots, snow peas, and red-pepper strips good for noshing or impromptu games of pick-up sticks ($21.95). Orders off the corporate express catering menu, priced based on a 10-guest minimum, come with delivery and setup. Sandwich and supreme deli-lunch buffets boast a plethora of sides and add-ons ($10.95+ per guest). Power breakfast packages inject energy into foggy minds ($4.95+ per guest), and board-room hot-lunch buffets allow gracious hosts to serve up anything from chicken à la king to homemade lasagna ($4.95+ per guest).