Buried among the condos in West Lakeview, Black Rock is worth digging around for. A watering hole for Chicago's sports enthusiasts, this Irish pub particularly pleases the local rugby fans, who can always catch a match on one of multiple flat screens. A large moose head sporting seasonal decorations resides over the top of the bar, watching urbanites enjoy a pint o' Guinness or one of 19 single malt scotches.
The entrance leads straight to the mahogany wood bar, where a dozen bar stools accommodate cheering sports fans. Those more interested in grub than game-watching can sidle up to a table instead. The back of the pub, though, is the true diamond in the rough: With its own bar, a pool table, a fireplace and couches, the space hosts bimonthly poetry readings and improv performances as well as private parties.
Black Rock's menu includes the usual suspects—chips 'n' salsa and spicy buffalo fingers for appetizers—along with a few creative options like the signature pizza-dillas (a mix between a pizza and a quesadilla). Light entrees such as pecan pear salad or a grilled chicken sandwich will cost you about $8 while hearty pasta dishes and burgers go for $11-$15.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Eve Ardell