Best Bars: Houlihan's (Champaign)
Dave Benton: When you think about Houlihan's, a fun Irish pub comes to mind instantly.
Jennifer Ketchmark: Tonight we will rewrite that image with what you now find at this hot spot to eat.
Brian Durkin, Houlihan's general manager: "We are modern and new, and there's no real one way to describe us."
That's because Houlihan's in Champaign is part of the company's new image. And boy, is it trendy!
Brian Durkin: "I Hotel selected Houlihan's because they've reinvented themselves. Everything very simple, but very designed and modern and comtemporary."
And just like the atmosphere, the food has recieved a big-time makeover.
Brian Durkin: "It's competely new and different, it's eclectic."
That includes jumbo stuffed 'shrooms.
Brian Durkin: "Our breaded fried mushrooms are excellent, big-capped mushrooms with some cream cheese inside."
And this Atlanta salmon encrusted in Dijon bread crumbs. But wait, there's even an Asian twist with their ahi tuna salad.
Brian Durkin: "Tapas roll out on April 15, and this an example of how it's gone from an Irish pub to more of a modern and fine dining, with more interesting menus and making everything from scratch."
Wow! Definitely not the classic Irish pub! But like a pub, they still have a bar. And if you are new to martinis, why not try a flight of martinis? For 9.99, you get 3 martinis, and within that we found their signature Adam and Eve martini.
Brian Durkin: "The Adam and Eve martini—it's kind of a twist on the apple martini. It's just a little different, more tart that you are usually used to, and the addition of the lemon sweetens it up a little bit, along with some cinnamon on the rim of the martini.
And the bar is a place for deals every day of the week.
Brian Durkin: "We have 3-dollar drafts on game nights. There are also 4-dollar Bloody Mary pints on Sundays."
And you don't want to miss another special night.
Brian Durkin: "Every Tuesday night we do live music. During the winter months, we do it in the restaurant itself, during the summer months we do it on our patio. Usually it's more of a jazz band, we have some Brazilian jazz bands that are pretty popular."
A modern dining experience from a restaurant with Irish roots is why this place made our list of Best Bars.
Wow, the transcript is no where near what was actually said in the video. They even put quotes around Brian Durkin's "words" but that's not exactly what he said.