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    5 Tips for Pulling Off a Last-Minute Holiday Party

    Last updated 6 days ago

    You never meant for it to be like this. Maybe that dream venue fell through. Maybe the boss decided to have you plan the event instead. Or maybe you just put it off. Either way, you have two weeks left of the holidays and the clock is ticking. Can you pull off a last-minute holiday party?

    DON’T PANIC – WRITE IT OUT! Jot down all the details of the event. How many guests will be able to make it? Do you want a fancy dinner party, a cozy get-together, a loud shindig, or an activity for attendees? What can you afford? If you’ve been at the company a while, what has worked before?

    LAND THE DREAM VENUE! The two weeks before Christmas are the busiest for the corporate world. However, most of those parties are on Thursdays and Wednesdays (followed by Fridays and Saturdays). Most are during “prime time”, 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. If prime time is booked, why not an office luncheon? Depending on the venue, earlier time slots can save planners 25-35% in costs.

    HAVE FUN WITH THE FOOD & DRINK! Hopefully your venue is a one-stop shop with catering as well but if it isn’t, never fear. Not every party needs to be a feast. Sometimes open-house cocktails and finger foods will be a hit, and sometimes the classic potluck and holiday treats will be more than enough to please the office.

    Tip: Inquire about the later party’s catering menu and seeing if your party can order from the same menu, saving both you and the venue money!

    HAVE A NON-TRADITIONAL PARTY! Leave the other offices to book the bland conference centers and hotel convention rooms. Think outside the box to increase your chances of getting a space in so little time. How about a restaurant, coffee bar, wineries, bowling, or museum? The more creative you are, the more memorable the party will be.

    OUT OF LUCK? POSTPONE! More and more companies are holding their holiday parties in January after the holiday break. Why not jump on the trend? Social calendars will be less busy and there will be less stress to get the “perfect” venue when fewer party planners are competing with you.

    WhirlyBall is accepting all last-minute holiday party plans! Book an event at the new WhirlyBall Chicago in Bucktown to play on one of our brand new WhirlyBall courts, the multi-floor lasertag arena or our 12 bowling lanes.
    Just visit!

    Craft Beer of the Month: New Belgium Brewing

    Last updated 1 month ago

    With pumpkin and seasonal-themed brews, we could not have picked a better Craft Beer of the Month for October and Halloween than New Belgium Brewing! Jeff Lebesch founded the brewery in 1991 after riding his mountain bike with “fat tires” through European villages known for their beer. Employee-owned then and now, the brewery would expand from basement-created ambers and to a franchise with locations across the nation.

    Now, New Belgium Chicago is coming to WhirlyBall for a night of spooky fun, specialty tappings, free WhirlyBall, and costumed silliness. What brews should you try out while you’re here? We have a few suggestions!

    Pumpkick: Pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice make up the “pump”, but it is the extra dash of cranberries and lemongrass that make the “kick”. Combined together, this seasonal specialty will spice up your night.

    La Folie Sour Brown Ale: This Sour Brown ale is French for “the folly” but certainly does not fool around. Fermented in stainless then transferred to barrels for 1-3 years of aging, the taste of toasted oak and cherry gives it a floral and malty finish.

    Hop the Pond: Hops from England, Galaxy from Australia, and Citra from America, the full-bodied Double IPA. Tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, along with White Tea and cucumbers suggest an herbal, resinous note. The big dose of hops are coating and resinous with a lingering bitterness

    La Terroir: Usually “La Terroir” is a term referring to the environmental conditions of the vineyard, the pH of the soil, even the slope of the land. In French, the name of this earthy dry hopped sour ale translates to “from the terrain, soil, land, ground earth.” That translates to a  fruity sweetness and slightly hop bitterness.

    Fat Tire Ale: The classic Amber Ale that started it all! You’ll taste more than history; indulge in biscuit-like malt flavors, hoppy freshness, and the spirit of Belgian brews.

    Come see what else is on tap this Wednesday night, October 29th, at 7:30PM. Don’t forget to dress up (bonus points if you dress as a New Belgium Ranger).

    RSVP at


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    The Perks of Planning Your Holiday Party Early!

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Our Guide to more Holiday Fun and Less Holiday Stress

    When is it, you know, “okay” to start talking about the Holidays? If you’re in charge of the office or family holiday party, the sooner the better. The most memorable holiday extravaganzas are started when Halloween candy and costumes are still on the shelves. Otherwise you’ll end up just throwing a last­ minute office supply gift exchange during lunch break. Who wants that?

    Start with the research. Determine your budget, group size, and what sort of venue you want. The earlier you start, the bigger you can dream. How could you, your office, or your friends and family celebrate the season? From there you can work backwards and piece together the perfect soiree.

    Early planning  also guarantees a better turnout. For every function someone receives an invite to, there’s a few family get­-togethers, ugly Christmas sweater parties, city­wide holiday events and receptions, and other gift exchanges to attend. Once November is here, all your guests’ calendars will fill up fast. Make sure your party gets on the their calendar early.

    Why limit the fun to the office? Planning now opens up your guest list. Maybe there can be room for “+1’s” for family or friends, or maybe even clients or business partners if you want to keep it more formal. Keep a mantra of “the more, the merrier."

    Don’t forget – early planning means better deals. Less companies and event planners will be competing with you. Your dream location and menu can not only be a reality but an affordable reality. You might find some great deals, too.

    The best perk of all – less stress! Holidays can mean lots of chaos and work to do. Party planning should be fun, not busy work. When the big day comes, the early planner can kick back with everyone else knowing that their efforts were all worth it. Having one less responsibility to worry about come December can be the greatest gift of all.

    WhirlyBall has the season of giving in mind early! We’re donating 5% of every holiday booking made before November 1st to a Live to Support charity of your choosing. Live To Support is a local non­profit that uses sports to support Chicago charities.

    Miller Girls Take Over Football Sunday at WhirlyBall! // Oct. 12th @ 10:30am

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Wanna play free WhirlyBall, enter a raffle for two free Bears tickets for the following week’s game, and hang out with some of the Miller Lite girls?

    Before Chicago Bears take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, October 12th, the kick­off party to end all kick­off parties will be happening at WhirlyBall Chicago. Miller Lite is dropping by and challenging anyone and everyone to a game of free WhirlyBall! Go bumper to bumper with five of the “Miller Girls” and if you win, you have a chance at a kick­off prize provided by Miller Lite.

    The party doesn’t end on the court. Stay for the game because at the end of the third quarter we’re raffling TWO Bears tickets in the Miller Lite “Loft at Soldier Field” for the Miami VS Chicago game on October 19th!

    So to review…

    Team Miller Lite may have the looks but do they have the skills to make it in the highly competitive world of the sport that combines bumper cars, lacrosse, hockey, and basketball?

    And we’re not just stocking Miller Lite, we got a variety of craft beers and drafts on tap for the game.

    Game day and WhirlyBall can take a lot out of a person, so recharge with Whirly Wings, Gourmet Pizza, Smokehouse Burgers, and more.

    And, of course, FOOTBALL! Bring your navy blue and orange jerseys, because someone’s walking away with two tickets to the Miami VS Chicago the following weekend.

    Join us for the party Sunday, October 12th at our Chicago location (1880 W. Fullerton Avenue). The Miller Girls will play the public at 10:30am, until the Bears VS Falcons game kicks off at noon.

    Your Winning WhirlyBall Strategy

    Last updated 4 months ago

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    So you’ve mastered the brush and scoop pick up technique and you’re a pro at maneuvering the steering column, but do you have what it takes to really dominate on the court? First, you must remember that the game of WhirlyBall is a genius combination of Lacrosse, Hockey, and Basketball. Don’t let the bumper cars cloud your vision, this game can and should be played very similarly to the sports we all know and love.

    Instituting your basketball knowledge is a good place to start. Establish guards, forwards, and centers to keep your team organized. The ‘Screen and Slam’ is an often-effective play where the forwards set picks for the guards. This screen can be set by simply driving up next to your opponent or, to rile things up a little, by slamming your car into the other player. Either way, the opposing team will have trouble maneuvering their bumper cars.  Your guard will be able to slide down the court and take a relatively open shot. Beware, your opponents will not be happy with your sly moves so prepare to get hit…hard.

    A second play your team should keep up its sleeve is the ‘Whirlwind’. This play involves rapid movement on every player’s part. As the point guard drives down court he should yell “Whirlwind”. This will both prepare your team and incredibly intimidate the other team. The point guard will then make a quick pass to the center all the while one of the forwards is getting set up under the hoop. If the forward is open, the center should pass to him for a lay-up. If not, the center can take a shot or drive to the hoop himself. Not only is this play effective, it is an obscene amount of fun!

    If you’re not already dominating, try to remember a few basic tips. Rebounds can make or break a game. Always have a player ready to snatch that ball and try again. Tip #2: Don’t forget to embrace the art of the fake pass. This technique works especially well because your reaction time in a bumper car is not as quick as on your feet. When your opponent falls for this trick, he’ll be heading in the wrong direction, unable to turn back. This brings us to the final tip. Keep moving! It takes a little while for your bumper car to build speed, so the less you stop, the faster your car will move. Not to mention speeding around in a bumper car is extremely amusing. If you implement these tips and throw in a few ‘Screen and Slams’ and ‘Whirlwinds’, your team will no doubt be on the road to victory.


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