Sunday, April 12, 2009

McHenry County's version of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"

OK, so I really tried to get the "Drive-Ins" part of the popular Food Network show, but we'll just settle with dance clubs.

In the last few weeks, I've been able to get out of the house despite a crazy work schedule and wavering weather.

Here's some of the interesting places I've found in McHenry County. I plan to head out for more, and soon:

Diners -

Mama Rini's -- located at 177 W. Virginia St. in Crystal Lake -- is one surprising little diner.

We've maybe lived right down the street from here for the last nine months and I'm sad to say, have never tried it until now.

If you're on a budget in this economy (and who isn't), Mama Rini's is the place to go. The servings are whoppers, and you get a lot of variety for your buck, too.

We ordered the gyros platter and the Greek chicken, both of which were very good. The meals also came with a choice of potato, soup or salad, vegetables, plus a complimentary dessert. All for $8.95 each.

Also, the inside of the restaurant is clean and nicely decorated. Our server was also extremely kind and always available for refills.

We'll definitely venture back here again, maybe next time for breakfast. I think pancakes and eggs are the true diner's test.

Dance clubs -

Cheesy name aside, Crystal's Party Bar off Rt. 31 and Three Oaks Road in Crystal Lake is a great (and rare) place in McHenry County to get your dance on.

The nightclub has a pretty spacious dance floor, and plays mostly Top 40 and hip-hop hits. We had fun the last several times we went, and the crowd is a good mix of mostly 20- and 30-somethings.

Crystal's isn't foreign to deals either, many in the form of drink specials or no-cover nights. You can also book your own private party here for probably cheaper than you would in downtown Chicago.

Unfortunately, as with much nightlife in the 'burbs, Crystal's shuts it down at 2 a.m. on weekends.

But if you're in the mood to go out clubbing close to home, this dance club fits my standards for a good, booty-shakin' time.

Dives -

In the mood for some premiere people-watching? Then check out Jimmy D's Neighborhood Inn, 3965 W. Algonquin Rd. in Algonquin.

A dive in its finest form, the bartenders here make you feel welcome, but other patrons are a hit or miss. Just a heads up: You could end up being serenaded by a 35-year-old married man's MySpace rap song by the end of the night.

Although there aren't too many pub food offerings aside from the traditional mozz-sticks and fries, Jimmy D's serves as a great starter bar for a night out on the town if you're on the younger side, or an evening of drinking and darts if your bar-hopping enthusiasm has dwindled.

The prices are super cheap for the Chicago area, and again, the bartenders are always pleasant. They even smiled and remembered us by name each time they asked if we wanted another round.

A true "neighborhood" inn.


That Girl said...

Another dive with fairly impressive food - given the dumpiness of the bar - is The Cottage in downtown CL :)

The Juice Box said...

I need to get to The Cottage! I've heard much of it, but haven't gotten around to checking it out yet.