Location: 1026 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201, USA
Date: August 2016

Report by M.G. Brown

Five & Dime in the west downtown Evanston area is a brand-spanking new combination restaurant, bar and entertainment center on Davis Street, just steps from both the Metra Rail and the CTA Purple Line.

Five & Dime’s rooftop dining and game room is one of the newest places in the northern Chicagoland suburbs that has pinball machines.

A panorama photo of the neo-industrial 'inside' seating
A panorama photo of the neo-industrial 'inside' seating Click to expand

Outside seating has picnic tables and round wire mesh tables that are cozy for four.

All the pinballs at Five & Dime are in very good condition, fully functioning with CLEAN playfields.

Radical! (Bally) is set to 50 cents for one play, 75 cents for two plays, and I felt that the free game threshold was quite achievable by someone with average playing skills.

Bally's Radical!
Bally's Radical! Click to expand

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends (Data East) is also in excellent shape and plays well. $1/1 play or $2/3 plays; bills only.

Data East's The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends
Data East's The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends Click to expand

Kiss Premium (Stern) is also set to $1/1 and $2/3 plays. It is a bit more challenging than the other two, but very playable.

Stern's Kiss Premium
Stern's Kiss Premium Click to expand

If you want a break from pinball (say what??), Five & Dime has other games for you to enjoy on the rooftop area: Jumbo Connect 4, Ping Pong, Foosball, Baggo/Bags/Cornhole and Jumbo Jenga.

The menu at Five & Dime appears to be somewhat of a work-in-progress with a relatively small number of items. In spite of that we both were able to find food items that we wanted to try. I got the impression that when the affiliate businesses Lulu's Dim Sum and Then Sum and Diablo Taco are relaunched (in the same building, on the first floor) that the menu for Five & Dime will change. We feel that the biggest value on the menu is the chips and guacamole.

The service is somewhat of a work-in-progress too - not horrible by any means, but not yet as polished and effortless as places that have been in business for many years. I have faith that given a few more weeks they will be up-to-speed. The key thing is that the servers and hostesses seemed to have a friendly and outgoing attitude which is certainly pleasant to see.

Since this is primarily a drinking establishment, I feel a few words about the drinks menu are in order. The OG Margarita is delicious (it's hard to drink only one), the Negroni Frozen Slushy is well regarded but usually not available until a couple hours after opening time; apparently the slushy machine needs to be primed or something. The Five & Dime beer list includes Evanston's Sketchbook Brewery's Et Tu Yuzu citrus spiked sasion, in addition to the usual suspects in bottles and cans.

One interesting thing that I was glad to see is pre-teen young people playing the pinballs. One boy I talked to had no idea that there was a way for more than one person to play the same machine. Aside from that, it was nice to see kids clutching a Ziploc bag of change waiting to play.

Some of the 'kids' at Five & Dime had unusual playing styles as shown by this photo.

Playing Kiss
Playing Kiss Click to expand

I would say that Five & Dime is a great new addition to the pinball scene in the Northern Chicago ‘burbs. It most likely will only get better as time goes on.

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