Outdoor concerts, moonlit patios with great beer and good food, car shows and more. There is a lively social scene in McHenry County in the summer when the sun goes down.
To help you find out where the action is, McHenry County Magazine recently talked with area business owners and officials from Crystal Lake, Algonquin and McHenry.
The following is the first installment of our three-month Summer Night Life guide which highlights just a few of the local events and hot spots you won’t want to skip this summer.
• In Crystal Lake, check out Concerts in the Park at Crystal Lake Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Dr., in Crystal Lake. The free concert series takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday and is sponsored by the Crystal Lake Park District.
The July concert line up is: July 3 — Georgia Rae Band; July 10 — AC Rock; July 17 — CW Wilde; July 24 — Diving for Dynamite; July 31 — White Saddle Band
• Also featured at Crystal Lake Main Beach is “Movies in the Park,” sponsored by Courtesy Buick and WZSR-FM STAR 101.5. The movie “Kung Fu Panda” will begin at dusk Friday, July 13. Families can visit www.star1015.com to register to win “The Best Seat in the House,” a contest sponsored by Courtesy Buick, says Jacqui Weber, marketing coordinator for the Crystal Lake Park District. The contest winner will receive dinner from Lou Malnati’s Pizza for a family of four, delivered to them at the beach in time for the movie.
• The Downtown Crystal Lake Association will sponsor “Dinner in the Park” with live music provided by Together Again at dusk Friday, July 27, at Depot Park, located at Woodstock and Williams streets, says Laura Witlox, communications coordinator for Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce. Bring your own meals or purchase a meal from one of the downtown restaurant vendors on-site. This is a family-friendly event; alcohol is not allowed. You are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket, though a limited number of tables and chairs will be available, according to the chamber website. For more information, visit www.clcchamber.com.
• For some adult time later in the evening, head over to Fire Bar and Grill, 435 Angela Lane. Dueling pianos start up at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 5, and at 9 p.m. each Tuesday, you can join in karaoke. All through July, Fire Bar is hosting a Karaoke Idol Contest. Additionally, the bar hosts various bands each Friday night. Check out www.firebarandgrill.com for more information.
• Or, visit The London Club, 394 W. Virginia St., for live music starting at 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For a entertainment schedule, visit www.thelondonclubcl.com.
• In Algonquin, officials are excited to kick off the village’s own weekly summer concert series, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. each Thursday through Aug. 16, along River Front Park, just north of Port Edward Restaurant at 20 W. Algonquin Road, in Algonquin.
• You can enjoy dockside dining at Port Edward with your favorite pooch during Doggy Dine Out, which takes place after 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday all summer at the restaurant’s outside patio. When you order off the regular menu, a special treat will be provided for your dog. A portion of the proceeds will benefit area animal shelters, says Kristin Lange, village administrative manager. The restaurant also offers a special steak and lobster tail dinner each Thursday night for $29.99. To learn more, visit portedward.com.
• Those looking for a little coffee break before their evening gets revved up can stop by Cafe Firefly, 301 S. Main St., which is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit www.cafefirefly.com.
• The Algonquin Founder’s Days Festival will kick off Thursday, July 26, and will offer a variety of food and live entertainment into the evenings through Sunday, July 29, when fireworks will cap off the event. The annual festival takes place at 100 Jefferson St. For more information, visit www.algonquinfoundersdays.com.
• A Cruise Night will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, in the parking lot near Sonic at 1090 S. Randall Road.
• Nearby, you can enjoy a little adult time at the Algonquin Commons. At 9:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, visit the Thirsty Whale Bar, 1700 S. Randall Road, to dance to music provided by a DJ. Return to the Whale at 9:30 p.m. Saturdays to enjoy live bands. Meanwhile, Cheeseburger in Paradise, 1608 S. Randall Road, hosts a trivia night at 8:30 p.m. each Thursday; karaoke at 8:30 p.m. Fridays; and live music at 9 p.m. Saturdays. Plus, hermit crab races kick off at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. each Thursday. Additionally, Industry Night takes place each Wednesday evening. On this night, the restaurant offers appetizer discounts and drink specials to those who work in the restaurant industry, says Jason Dionne, restaurant manager.
• Finally, Sunday Nights LIVE!, a free concert series that takes place in the parking lot at the Algonquin Commons, will run from 5 to 7 p.m. July 8, 15, 22 and 29.
The line up is: July 8 — Classical Blast; July 15 — R-Gang, with iRock performing from 3 to 4 p.m.; July 22 — Smokin’ Gunz; July 29 — 7th Heaven
For more information, visit www.shopatalgonquincommons.com.
• And in McHenry, officials recommend heading over to this year’s Fiesta Days at Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Road. Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday, July 13, offering food and live entertainment each evening through Sunday, July 15 .
The music line up: July 13 — 5:30 p.m. Bony Knees; 8 p.m. Modern Day Romeos; July 14 — 3:45 p.m. Blush; 6:15 p.m. Lounge Puppets; and 9:15 p.m. Tesla ; July 15 — 2 p.m. American English; 5:15 p.m. Losing Scarlet; and 7:15 p.m. Pop Evil.
The fest will continue through Sunday, July 22, with various activities and entertainment for all ages, including Family Faith Nite at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 21. For more festival information, visit www.mchenryfiestadays.com.
• Green Street Cruise Nights take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday nights through October in the large municipal lot and the McHenry Savings Bank parking lot between Route 120/Elm Street and Green Street. The nights include live music, food, beverages and prize giveaways. For more information, call 815-728-0404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Or, head over to The Snuggery, 801 N. River Road, and dance to music provided by a DJ Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Jim Rosato, bar supervisor, says to check out www.snuggerychicago.com for information on upcoming events, including the next Glow Party.
• The Twisted Moose, 2616 Schaid Ct., offers karaoke at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and live bands around 9 p.m. every first Friday and Saturday, and second Saturday of each month. DJs perform on the Fridays and Saturdays when there are no live bands, says Dave Hecker, bar owner. For more information and an event schedule, visit www.twistedmoose.net. mc