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West Suburbs for Bears Game

Moving my brother into his new home in Downers Grove this Friday and Saturday. We need some ideas for a few pubs/bars for good food & beer, and atmosphere. I know the scene in Chicago pretty well but not at all in the Western Suburbs. What's decent in the general area? How's Emmetts on Main Street? How's the bar at Wildfire in Oak Brook?

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  1. Wildfire in Oakbrook is PACKED every time I go in there. It's also pretty darn pricey. If you don't mind an Irish pub atmosphere, Ballydoyle's on Main Street in Downers is good. I'm a little further north than Downers Grove (Addison area) but been to this place and would go back.

    1. Emmett's is okay -- it's a nice bar, but I was pretty underwhelmed by the food. Wildfire, on the other hand, has better food but not much of a bar scene. In fact, the bar really is more of a crowded waiting area for people waiting to be seated. And there isn't much in the way of TVs to watch a game.

      Ballydoyle is a good recommendation, but, as mentioned, it's an Irish pub (with an emphasis on pub fare like fish and chips, etc.). If that's okay with you, than it may fit the bill.

      I actually would recommend the Clubhouse in Oak Brook mall. It obviously is really "suburban" (and is a chain), which might not be to your liking, but they actually have pretty good food, IMO, and a decent bar area. In general, in the DG/Lombard/Oakbrook Terrace area, you'll find that your choices are pretty much limited to chains. That said, there are some decent higher-end chain places with okay bar food.

      1. I'd suggest Chef Paul's Bavarian Lodge on Ogden Ave. in Lisle. Good German/Bohemian food, GREAT beer, and they have a large bar area. http://www.bavarian-lodge.com

        Another option is the Lodge at the Four Lakes ski area, also in Lisle. It has a very large bar and (surprisingly) decent food, but be forewarned, it's very much a "meat market" atmosphere in the evenings...

        1 Reply
        1. re: markh

          Hmmm. The Bavarian Lodge sounds interesting. I'll definitely check it out on one of my trecks to the west. As far as the Lodge goes, I'll be visiting all of the recommendations since I'll be spending lot's of time out there with my bro. Meat market? Yeah, my cousins and I will be sure to avoid all that "Eye Candy" at the Lodge. Any relation to the Lodge on Division Street downtown...kidding.

        2. I never in a million years would've thought that I'd see the Four Lakes Lodge (formerly the Pub) mentioned on Chowhound. Do they actually have food now? I grew up in Lisle and, admittedly, haven't been to the Pub/Lodge in close to a decade. However, if the atmosphere (and clientele) are similar to how they were in the mid 1990s (and I can't imagine it's changed that much), then one visit probably will be plenty.

          1. Before I forget, let's add Country House in Lisle and Clarendon Hills to the list of bar-type places to visit!

            Two months ago I never would have considered mentioning the Lodge at Four Lakes. But I went there on a Saturday afternoon with a friend and had a really good burger, quite frankly as good as any I've had in the past couple years at Country House.

            I'll be honest, I would never imagine setting foot in the place in the evenings, but I do plan to go again during the day. Due to their (well-deserved) past reputation, they offer half-price food before 4PM as a way to get people to show up...

            1. How about driving to Aurora to Walter Payton's Roundhouse?

              Great food and you can't beat the atmosphere.


              1 Reply
              1. re: orgullodemexico

                I agree, no place better than Walter Payton's Roundhouse. Great bloody mary bar too but really good atmosphere in a very neat old building project that Walter and partners developed in 1995.

              2. The Roundhouse in Aurora is a good suggestion, they even have a small museum of Walters items there, a cigar bar, etc. The food is average, I like the beer they brew there, the last time I had a honey wheat beer that was excellent.

                4 Lakes pub, I cant believe anyone would suggest that place. A total dive, and meat market.

                2 Replies
                1. re: swsidejim

                  I guess it comes down to what the OP meant by a "pub/bar with good food, beer and atmosphere". I personally wouldn't put Wildfire, Clubhouse, or Payton's Roundhouse into this category...the first two are restaurants with bars (and both of which are major-league meat markets on weekday evenings), the third isn't sure what it's supposed to be (IMO lost its focus after Payton died). All three are VERY expensive compared to more traditional bars/pubs.

                  Chef Paul's is somewhere in between, it's a restaurant but with a bar almost as large as the dining area, and its beer selection is unmatched in the suburbs (and holds own against anything in the city). Price-wise, the food is less than the above places but more expensive than a bar/pub. The beer is priced VERY fairly.

                  So my focus was to mention bars/pubs that happened to have decent food. The Lodge at Four Lakes has always had good beer and atmosphere, and while I agree its atmosphere is something one may not like (I certainly wouldn't go there in the evening!), it undeniably has atmosphere. The issue is food, and as I said, the burger I had there a couple months ago (in the afternoon) was as good as those from Country House, a place which virtually everyone agrees has one of the best burgers in the west suburbs. Was it a fluke? Perhaps, and that's why I plan to return soon.

                  Anyway, another place in the "bar/pub" genre with good beer and bar/pub food is The View, on rt53 in Lisle. Will you have a fine dining experience there? No. But you will have good bar/pub food that will cost roughly 1/3 of what you would pay at Wildfire or The Clubhouse (and about half of what you would pay at Roundhouse), and BETTER beer.

                  Since I don't know the OP or his/her expectations, I'm trying to cover all bases...

                  1. re: markh

                    I have always wondered about Chef Pauls when passing by, and will try it soon based on your reccomendation.

                2. Yeah, the Roundhouse looks pretty impressive. I live on the Northside of Chicago so Aurora is quite a distance and too far outside of the general Downers Grove area.
                  I guess if I stay overnight at my bro's and someone else drives then I might check out the Roundhouse.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: amoncada

                    Just fyi, the Roundhouse is right at the metra bnsf train station. The building was an actual roundhouse so it's right there. There are two stations in downers grove so it might be awfully easy for you to just use public transportation. Not suggesting Payton's is a better choice than any other, just letting you know distance does not have to be an issue.

                  2. I've always heard good things about Chef Paul -- my parents love it. My wife and I aren't big fans of German food, so we've been hesitant to go there. However, based upon your comments and link to their website, I checked out their menu. It actually looks quite good and I think there are items on the menu that the Mrs. would enjoy...We'll have to give it a try.

                    As for the Pub/Lodge, I think that your recommendation was well-intentioned, and I may be tempted check it out on a winter afternoon. To be honest, on a snowy winter afternoon, with the "ski hill" in the background and a fire going, the atmosphere at the Pub/Lodge probably actually would be pretty nice.

                    Finally, the Country House is a good reco...The original is in Clarendon Hills and probably is closer to DG than the one in Lisle.

                    1. Since it's a major policy change in a mentioned restaurant, I'd like to add that on the first of November, The Clubhouse became a totally non-smoking establishment...

                      1. First of all, welcome to your brother to DG, home of my upbringing, and even if I haven't lived there since 1979 when I left for college, in many ways it's still home.

                        Ok, in DG Emmett's and Ballydoyle have been mentioned, and I'll toss in Taylor Street Brewery across from Yorktown. I've enjoyed the food there on a couple of occasions (great burgers among other things) and they've got a number of TV screens.

                        That being said, don't discount going out to WP's Roundhouse in Aurora. DG has not 2 but 3 stations (Fariview, Main St and Belmont) and it's an easy train ride to Aurora. From the station, it's literally a 2-minute walk to this historic building. Food is ok, drink is plentiful, and I can't think of a better place for a real Bears fan than at "Payton's Place". Last time I was there was shortly after he passed away and the small museum/memorabilia area brought a tear to my eye. Too good, too young, too soon.

                        1. Yeah, I think you have a point there. What better place to watch the Bears game and pay tribute to Walter...The Roundhouse is the place. I'm definitely curious about this place but it's kind of a haul...the metra train is a good idea though.

                          Just to clarify, I'm looking for above average food and at a minimum, enough TV's for optimal viewing. The bar at Wildfire can fit the bill for both food and viewing sports, but so can a down and dirty pub as long as the food is good and the tvs are within viewing distance. If I find that a place has bad food then I'll likely not return sort of like the Foundry in Aurora...fantastic place to watch sports but not great for food (saw the food but didn't actually try it) right?