Bar Guide: Three hot spots to date, dance or cheer

<p>Jennifer Morris embraces her husband John during a birthday party at Two Nine with friends Heather Freislebeer, middle, and Marla Fassinger. Two Nine is a no cover bar above <a id=Potter's Placein downtown Naperville and is one of the many free things to do around Naperville.   |  Brian Powers/Staff Photograper/The Sun

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Jennifer Morris embraces her husband John during a birthday party at Two Nine with friends Heather Freislebeer, middle, and Marla Fassinger. Two Nine is a no cover bar above Potter's Placein downtown Naperville and is one of the many free things to do around Naperville.   |  Brian Powers/Staff Photograper/The Sun

The weekend can’t come soon enough, that’s for sure. Maybe you’re looking forward to the Blackhawks game, maybe you have a hot date or maybe you’re just looking for a fun-filled night of dancing.

But, sometimes it can be difficult to find somewhere new to go or a place that fits your mood after a long 40 hour work week. College kids, this goes for you too, especially with your intense study sessions and coffee overloads. We all need a break, right?

While there’s a lot going on Friday and Saturday nights, some of the best places to dine, drink or dance can be found in downtown Naperville. So grab your keys, a friend or three and let’s seek out some spots that fit your needs for the big game, your date night or a few rounds on the dance floor.

Date Night:

Ladies and gents it can be a process when it comes to finding the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and/or a drink to enjoy. The place cannot be too loud or you will spend your night shouting “What?!” every five seconds. Trust me, I’ve been there.

You also want to make sure it is not your typical Red Lobster or Chili’s. Here is an option that I found to be fitting: Potter’s Place.

Located off of Jefferson Avenue, this Mexican restaurant and cantina offers two bars, one through the main entrance which includes a restaurant, and their Two Nine Martini Lounge through the mysterious wooden door to the left of their entrance.

I walked in on a Saturday night with a friend of mine and we spotted a table in the corner of the restaurant. We sauntered past a musician playing an acoustic guitar and what sounded like a country song. This is the type of place you can get a drink and side entertainment while enjoying the time you are having with your date.

“We have live acoustic artists every Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.,” Manager Rachel Maschmeier said. The artists they choose range in genre from jazz to alternative to pop.

It was definitely a relaxing night and the atmosphere helped with that too. The ambiance was perfect for the date scene. Gorgeous chandelier lights hang from the ceiling, the warm paint shades on the wall and a cobblestone-type floor create a romantic setting, while the smell of Mexican food lingers in the air.

The prices on their menu are not too steep for a weekend out either.

“Margaritas are probably our most popular drink, especially the Silver Margarita. They run from $7-10,” Maschmeier said.

The overall experience I had at this location was fitting for what it offered: a peaceful and welcoming environment.

The Big Game:

It is game night and the big question this weekend is where do you go for a good beer, a hefty burger and big screen TVs? There is always the option of staying home and enjoying the comfort of your own sunken-in couch, but who wants to do that when they can be cheering and booing alongside other fans of the same team on the flat screen TVs in a bar/restaurant? There are plenty of options to go around in the downtown area and one of them can be found on West Jefferson Av.

The Wise Boxer Pour House is the type of restaurant and bar you can enjoy a meal, a good drink and hopefully a great game. When I stopped in for a visit I sat at one of the booths in the corner, but there is quite a bit of seating throughout the entire restaurant. There is both a main floor and an upstairs dining area.

The walls are decorated with photos of sports fields like Wrigley and old portraits of presidents. The seating is mostly leather and elevated so you are not craning your neck to catch the next play in the game. It is a warmer atmosphere with the brown tones and wood mixture. The employees provided friendly service for my table and the others around me.

The bar itself is quite intricate from the looks of it. By this I mean they have a lot of drinks on tap, hard liquor for your mixed drinks, and a micro-tower that rotates. Talk about “fancy.” When it comes to the drinks this bar does not seem to mess around with their weekend specials.

 “On the weekends we have $2 domestic bottles and $4 draft beers which are pretty much the best deals you can get in town right now,” said Carrie Draper, the front of house manager.

Their popular drinks right now are their craft beers, but according to Draper they are looking to create a signature cocktail menu and a higher end drink menu in the near future.

Looking towards your future weekend this is one bar that could potentially leave you with another fun night out on the town.

“At the Wise Boxer you can get a little bit of everything; you can get the fine dining, you can throw a great party, you can have fun at late night, have a good dance party, you can kind of do it all here. So we like to invite all different crowds in to enjoy it,” Draper said.

Maybe instead of an oven baked pizza that tastes like cardboard, you will make plans to devour a juicy burger and catch the Blackhawks vs. Penguins game with a $4 draft beer in hand.

Dance the Night Away:

Fridays nights are for one of two things: recuperating after an exhausting work week with Netflix and a Snuggie or dancing off your exhaustion on the hardwood. If you head over to Chicago Avenue in downtown Naperville you will hear heavy beats drop, loud chatter and see flashing colors in the back inside corner of Bar Louie.

The minute I stepped through the threshold I wanted to bust a move on the dance floor. A group of 30 plus people were rocking back and forth bobbing around to the music. Hands were thrown up in the air from the side booths where people were enjoying a drink.

While some danced, others were watching the Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburg game on the many flat screen TVs mounted above the bar. There were a variety of age groups from 21 to 41 soaking in the vibrant atmosphere while sipping mixed drinks and beer.

“Our signature drinks Martinis, Margaritas, Mojito’s and Cocktails,” Brittany Marshall, front of house manager, said.

She also shared with me that the Diva is one of their oldest drinks on the menu, but if you’re not sure about what to choose, sticking to a classic is always a reliable option.

After taking a look at the menu, I leaned over to ask my friend what he was ordering. I had to have him repeat himself three times before I gave up on trying to hear what he was saying. When you walk in to Bar Louie on a weekend night do not expect to have a conversation with your friends unless you’re willing to lose all sense of personal space. Get comfortable with everyone and raise the volume because between the DJ on the dance floor and the dancers singing along you’re never going to be heard.

But the engulfing music and atmosphere isn’t a bad thing. It brings with it a camaraderie that’s felt in every corner of the bar. For the management at Bar Louie, this is what makes it so special.

“It’s the type of place you can go to no matter the time of day with friends or whoever. You can even feel comfortable with coming alone. When you walk out of here you will walk away with a whole new group of friends,” said Marshall.

Consider Bar Louie one of your go-to options to throw your hands up in the air and raise the roof.


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