After the Sundance Saloon was sold and moved from Mundelein to Waukegan, its former digs were home to a rotating list of short-lived bars. In September the bar's original owners sought to change that, reviving country-western dancing in the area with Mavericks.
Motif: The dance floor is the focal point for the huge space, topped with a disco ball wearing a cowboy hat and surrounded by a corral where you can sit with a drink and watch the action. Hanging stained glass lamps with beer ads on them provide dim lighting. Bars are topped with shingled roofs and lined with tall black leather stools. Other western touches include metal art of cowboys, bulls and wagon wheels and horned coat racks.
Mavericks2061 W. Maple Ave., Mundelein, (847) 949-0858, mavericksinfo.com
Hours: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Cover: Wednesdays: Free for women, $3 for men; Thursdays: $2; Fridays and Saturdays: $5; military, police, firefighters and college students admitted free
A wall separates the dance area from a game room set up with pool tables, bags sets, electronic dart boards and a punching machine. Look out for more flat-screen TVs to be added there to make it a football-watching hub this fall. The owners are in the process of transforming a back area into a lounge, but for now it's a brighter space where you can order food from a counter and escape to have a conversation if the music is too loud.
Crowd: Summer is the bar's slowest time, and there was only one couple dancing when we showed up around 10 p.m. Saturday. Things picked up soon after, with the addition of a few groups of young women in shorts and cowboy boots looking to drink and dance. It's amazing more guys don't put aside their fears of dancing to go to Mavericks since the girl-to-guy ratio is so high.
The age range runs from 20-somethings to 50-somethings, though Thursday the bar attracts a younger crowd with an emphasis on bar games like water pong. The space also hosts lots of benefits and bachelorette and birthday parties, using the second bar in its game area for private space for big crowds.
Service: Everyone at the bar was extremely friendly, from the man charging the $5 cover to the bartenders who were quickly doling out drinks.
Food: The bar offers a small menu featuring grilled cheese, sliders and hand-battered deep-fried bacon. If you're looking for a snack, the homemade chips and salsa are solid, but the guacamole lacked flavor.
Liquid consumption: The bar mostly serves up bottled beer, but cocktails have been the biggest hit at Mavericks thanks to their weekly drink specials. Whether the deal is $3 lemon drops or whiskey drinks, whatever's cheapest gets ordered the most.
Music: The bar offers line-dancing lessons every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night, taught by enthusiastic instructors who urge patrons to get on the floor and then skillfully lay out the moves. While those nights feature more country music than others, you'll see people line dancing to Michael Jackson and Maroon 5 along with Taylor Swift and Big & Rich. Mavericks strives to host live bands every Saturday, but they're usually down to just one or two times a month during the summer, with DJs spinning other nights.
Parking: There are plenty of spots in the bar's free lot.
Overall: You don't have to be a huge country fan to have a good time at Mavericks.