This list is not all inclusive
210 Green Bay Road, Homewood, 847-433-0304; bowlhighwood.com
The Alley bills itself as the North Shore's "original rock and bowl establishment." And true to its word the bowling alley has been around in some shape, form and name since 1949 when it debuted as Mary Jane Lanes. Today it offers bowling plus live music, large dance floor, a Thursday comedy night, billiards, giant projection TVs, a bar and full menu. Enjoy building your own gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.
1520 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 847-733-8300
Holiday Inn North Shore
5300 W. Touhy Ave. Skokie, 847-763-3056; barlouieskokie.com
This chain is a favorite for its lively urban atmosphere, fun bar food and extensive cocktail menu. Beer and wine connoisseurs will be happy, too, with an extensive selection of imports, microbrews and more than 20 wines by the glass. Cocktails include signature martinis, mojitos and margaritas made from fresh fruit and hand squeezed juices. Enjoy a Bavarian pretzel small plate starter and a Louie's Cosmo — Absolut Citron, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice, pure cane syrup and a lemon twist.
C. J. Arthur's Bar & Grill
1168 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, 847-256-8870; cjarthurs.com
Come in for an old-fashioned atmosphere with a side of events such as live music, karaoke and a trivia night. The marble bar once served as a Walgreen's soda fountain in the 1920s. Music offerings include bluegrass on Mondays, local musicians on Tuesday and Wednesday, karaoke Thursdays and a mixed bag of jazz, funk, blues and rock on Friday and Saturday. The food menu presents juicy burgers, steaks, seafood, and hearty sandwiches.
20510 Milwaukee Ave., Deerfield, 847-520-1892; cafemistiko.com
Café Mistiko may well be the most chic place ever to line up pool tables. This contemporary bar/ restaurant is great to look at and plays to its "secret" status, likening itself to a coffee shop in ancient Greece that the regulars liked so well they didn't want to share it with anyone and never spoke about it. In addition to a well-stocked bar and seasonal and international beers, the menu offers such appetizers as saganaki and a number of soups, salads, sandwiches and dessert crepes.
524 Sheridan Road, Highwood, 847-748-8086; cellargate.com
Cellar Gate is an inviting European-style wine market featuring vintages from around the world. You can sip and sup on tapas and hors d'oeuvres in the market area, the back room with fireplace or the private courtyard. Pick up bottles to take home as well as wine accessories and decorative items for your home.
Gabe's Backstage Lounge
214 Greenbay Road, Highwood, 847-266-1313; gabesbackstage.com
Gabe's Backstage Lounge, a chef Gabriel Viti production, offers a host of activities to satisfy anyone looking for distraction. The list includes dancing, live music, blues jams, karaoke, a DJ, flat screen TV sports viewing, pool tables and a beer garden. Check out the weeknight drink specials. The food menu offers chicken wings, pizza, sandwiches, salads and burgers.
Kush Hookah Lounge
3327 Dempster St., Skokie, 847-676-5874
Spend an evening with the bubbly, flavorful hookah at this spacious and comfortable lounge. You can BYOB or enjoy one of the tasty cold drinks such as the guava and white grape shisha. Kick back in comfortable overstuffed leather chairs, choose from flavorful Starbuzz tobaccos and be entranced by the smoke clouds as you listen to eclectic music.
Lake Bluff Brewing Co.
16 E. Scranton Ave., Lake Bluff, 224-544-5179; lbbrew.com
What began as a homebrewing hobby became a full-fledged brewery in 2009. This small craft brewery offers a handful of fresh brews on tap to enjoy on the premises or take home in reusable beer containers. Menu items include appetizers such as hummus, soups, sandwiches and pizza. Tours of the brewery are available.
The Landmark Inn
1352 Shermer Road, Northbrook, 847-559-1919; landmarkinnbar.com
Built in 1885, this downtown tavern draws a modern crowd who enjoy good bar food, drinking with friends and listening to an eclectic array of live performers as it transforms itself into a "rockin' roadhouse" on the weekends. It began its march to landmark status as Otto Funke's saloon. Today, locals enjoy the deck in good weather and a hearty menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees. Some items contain a gourmet touch such as a burger topped with Brie, prosciutto and apple aioli while others are plain and simple such as fish and chips.
Mario's Mondo Café
1869 Waukegan Road, Glenview, 847-724-3716; mariosmondocafe.com
Enjoy good food and music at this Glenview spot. While the café specializes in authentic Sicilian cuisine, it also offers easy listening music from a pianist to a trio on Friday and Saturday nights. This intimate place is BYOB and customers' food favorites include such things as calamari, eggplant caponata, Chicken Florentine and pizza.
Pete Miller's Seafood & Prime Steak
1557 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 847-328-0399; petemillers.com
While this Evanston spot (and its sister restaurant in Wheeling) specializes in prime steaks and fresh seafood, what's really cooking is the live jazz played nightly. There's no cover or minimum to hear some fine nationally acclaimed jazz musicians do their thing. The dining room/jazz lounge area and bar/billiards room is woodsy and welcoming. The entire concept comes from the restaurant's late namesake Harold "Pete" Miller who reveled in the tradition of: "sipping a scotch, enjoying a great steak, and listening to some swinging jazz."
1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, 847-480-2323; pinstripes.com
Make a strike or strike up a conversation with folks who come to bowl among Pinstripes' 18 bowling lanes and 10 indoor/outdoor bocce courts in a 50,000-square-foot space. Enjoy live music on the weekends featuring local artists, a coming this fall dance floor, and the outdoor patio with fireplace. Work up an appetite from a menu of sandwiches, flatbreads, ribs, seafood and other Italian-American offerings.
Rhythm Room Bar & Bistro
1715 Maple Ave., Evanston, 847-491-9723; evanstonrhythmroom.com
Rhythm Room Bar & Bistro is a swanky jazz and cocktail lounge offering 50-foot windows with views of downtown Evanston. Belly up to the 60-foot black granite bar, sit down in oversized leather couches and chairs, enjoy a signature martini like a lemon drop or a bake Brie appetizer while taking in live jazz. Jazz is featured on Friday and Saturday nights.
Stormy's Tavern & Grille
1735 Orchard Lane, Northfield, 847-441-8290; stormystavern.com
Stormy's recently took up the space occupied by a long-time Winnetka tavern, Seul's. While it's been remodeled and renovated, it maintains the same cozy wood walls and the same come in and mingle neighborhood vibe that residents loved. The sports theme makes it the perfect place to cheer on your favorite teams while you choose from the bar food menu of house made soups, chili, pizza, sandwiches and salads.
Vibe at 1935
1935 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, 847-780-4815; vibe1935.com
Vibe brings kinetic big city energy to downtown Highland Park, including live music offerings. This comfy chic spot features a number of kitschy cocktails, such as the Vibe-i-tini, served straight up with cucumber vodka, St. Germain liqueur and grapefruit juice. Choose from an extensive list of appetizers and finger foods, such as shoestring truffle fries or the popular flatbread pizza with bacon, bleu cheese and bits of apple.