Best Bars: Escobar
Jen takes a few bites our of Escobar. This weeks Best Bar.Escobar is located at 6 East Columbia Avenue, Champaign.
A mid-July opening is anticipated for the new Champaign nightspot Emerald City Lounge.
Previously home to the Jackson's Ribs and Tips restaurant, the building at 116 N. First St. has undergone an extensive remodeling, with a new bar, new flooring, paint, furniture and art, said co-owners Keith Cameron Smith and Tim Denoyer.
Smith and Denoyer, who were married in California, said they want the lounge to be an inclusive place, where gay clientele feel comfortable and where their friends and family are comfortable....
The space is about 6,000 square feet, plus there's a 1,200-square-foot outdoor patio. They raised a portion of the floor to create a stage and will feature local performers there. Couches were recently moved in, and televisions and art are also planned for the walls.
The drink offerings will include a selection of beers, microbrews, wines and "classic top-shelf drinks," Denoyer said. Four or five drinks that play on the "Wizard of Oz" theme will be available, but Smith and Denoyer said they don't plan to "go overboard" with the Oz theme.
Additionally, someone will be available inside Lincoln Square to talk about beer, and recommend pairings. I don't know who that will be.
Even for the traditional beer-drinkers, there is much to be excited about. There will be around 24 different types on tap inside Lincoln Square, as well as a wide variety of bottled beer from around the country available in the beer garden.
Jeff Grant, the event manager at Fluid Events, feels that the beer garden is a better setup than the previous year’s beer trailers. There will be more room for different types. “Visitors will be able to fill their mugs and walk outside to watch the show and enjoy the food”, said Grant.
In an idea cooked up by Fluid Events,the Blues, Brews, and BBQ festival invited several local chefs to do cooking demonstrations from Friday, 9a.m.-5p.m., and Saturday, noon-5p.m., creating delicious and nutritious attraction for hungry festival-goers.The Buzz has another article, "Urbana Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival", by Jeanine Russell, that discusses the history of the event.
Friday June 25th
Miller Main Stage:
5:30 - 6:30 Candy Foster
7:00 - 8:30 Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters)
9:00 - 10:30 Bernard Allison (son of Luther Allison)
Late Night Show @ 88 Broadway/Lincoln Square:
10:30 - 11:30 The Sugar Prophets
12:00 - 1:30 Devon Allman's Honey Tribe (son of Greg Allman)
** Please enter Lincoln Square south of the Family Stage on Broadway Ave.**
Saturday June 26th
Miller Main Stage:
12:00 - 1:00 The Blues Decons
1:30 - 2:45 Bruiser and the Virtues
3:15 - 4:30 Eddie Taylor Jr. (son of Eddie Taylor)
5:00 - 6:30 Eddie Van Shaw Jr. (son of Eddie Shaw)
7:00 - 8:30 Wayne Baker Brooks (son of Lonnie Brooks)
9:00 - 10:30 John Lee Hooker Jr. (son of John Lee Hooker)
Late Night Show @88 Broadway/Lincoln Square:
10:30 - 11:30 Kilborn Alley Blues Band
12:00 - 1:30 Juke Joint Duo Featuring Cedric Burnside (grandson of R.L. burnside) and Lightning Malcom
** Please enter Lincoln Square south of the Family Stage on Broadway Ave.**
SAVOY -- Bars across Champaign-Urbana were packed by 9:00 Friday morning. It's neither "Unofficial" nor an Illini pigskin Saturday. Instead, it was the world's version of football that brought big bucks to local businesses.
The Buffalo Wild Wings in Savoy opened at 9. Some places on campus started serving at 8:30. Normally, summer is a slow time for these businesses because so many students are gone. But Friday, patriotism kept many bars packed.
Some people call soccer an equalizer, a sport the world has in common. But for local bars and restaurants it's a money-maker.
"Last Saturday when USA and England played, it was like an Illini game in here," said Joseph Evans, G.M. of the Buffalo Wild Wings, "Looking over the crowd, I was like 'oh the Illini's playing today?"
And just like an Illini tailgate, some fans went right for the beer.
"We're doing good alcohol sales," said Evans, "But at 9:00 in the morning, they get one beer and sit with that one beer for a couple hours and that's fine."
Most of the fans we saw stayed away from the booze altogether.
"No, I just had breakfast and a Diet Coke," said Jach Hutchens, who watched the game at Firehaus, "It's a little too early for me to drink."
And the fans who are having a drink or two have yet to cause any problems for police.
"To my knowledge and I've talked to the district commander as well, we've not had any calls or problems related to gatherings at the bars, even with the early opens," said Sgt. Scott Friedlein of the Champaign Police.
With a 10 -15% sales boos and no arrests, Evans says he would change only one thing.
"If they had the games at night, I think it'd be a little bit better," he said, "But it's night in South Africa and daytime here so it all works out."
The World Cup continues what's been a great month for local bars. Even though the students left, big crowds gathered to watch the Blackhawks march to a Stanley Cup championship. Now, bar owners are hoping the U.S. soccer team can make a run of its own.
The U.S. next plays on Wednesday. All the bar owners we talked to plan on opening early for that match.
Reported by A.J. Bayatpour
Posted: June 18, 2010
The 2010 Urbana Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival
June 25th, 2010- 5pm - 2am
June 26th, 2010- noon - 2am
The Blues, Brews and BBQ festival would not be complete without an extensive beer fest. The newest addition to the festival will allow you to come sample 24 different beers on tap and numerous bottled beers from all over the world. There will also be seminars on how to brew your own beers at home, as well as information on different types and styles of beers. Cheers!So, it might be worth going to. (Although Radio Maria and Blind Pig have more taps)
The Miller Main Stage will showcase our feature Blues bands and singers. This year's performers include: Bernard Allison, John Lee Hooker Jr., and Wayne Baker Brooks. Located at the intersection of Vine and Main, this stage will entertain you all day with our Next Generation Blues lineup.
Once the day turns into night, head into 88 Broadway for our late night concert series. Devon Allmon, Cedric Burnside and Lightning Malcolm are all slated to perform. Keep the excitement going long into the night at 88 Broadway.
By the time I cross the stage at Foellinger, I will gladly be graduating with a B.A. in English and a minor in Coors Light. A self-proclaimed Burnett’s Vodka connoisseur, I have experimented with several you-call-it style concoctions. When away from my home bar top, my choice usually falls between beer or liquor.
However, Champaign-Urbana is a wine-rich community. With various wine tastings in the area, many of them for free, one can easily supplement their collegiate education with one in the ways of wine....
While the is vineyard located in Southern Illinois, the family runs satellite locations and provides a daily wine tasting for CU."While the is vineyard located", shouldn't that be "While the vineyard is located"?
Manager Nick Bland said that their Saturday tasting (2-6 p.m.; small fee, never more than $5) usually have some sort of theme loosely based around the wine’s country of origin, varietals, or style, creating a more global knowledge of wine rather than just which ones taste good.Take away the parenthesis and the sentence reads "their Saturday tasting usually have".
A more recent addition to the area is Wine at the Pines in Urbana, which opened in October of 2009. In addition to wine, Wine at the Pines also serves baked goods from Milos, teas, and Metropolis coffees, filling the void that Bar Giuliani left.A misspelled name, Wine at the Pines.
Marvin Meadows and Angela Alwardt already have two bar-and-grills, and they've come up with a road-tested concept to get people to stop at their third.Slippery when wet? Caution- bumps ahead?
Meadows, who owns the It'll Do bar in Arcola and It'll Do 2 in Champaign's Country Fair Shopping Center, recently acquired the former Club 45 property at 3515 N. Cunningham Ave., U.
He hopes to put in a bar-and-grill similar to his other two businesses, but with a twist.
"It'll have a construction theme," said Meadows, who once worked in road construction. "It'll have a sign shaped like a stop sign, and it will be decorated with 'stop' and 'go' paddles and road construction signs."
Meadows said the waitresses will wear denim shorts with suspenders and work boots, and signs on their shirts that say "slippery when wet" and "caution – bumps ahead."
CHAMPAIGN – Champaign police and Crimestoppers of Champaign County are asking for the public's help in finding information about an aggravated battery last month in downtown Champaign.
According to a police report, a fight began at 1:52 a.m. May 22 at the High Dive, 51 E. Main St., C.
During the altercation, one person was struck in the head with a bottle, and another person was found unconscious and lying on the ground.
WICD ABC 15
The Champaign Park District will be hosting the 40th Annual Taste of Champaign-Urbana, Friday through Sunday in West Side Park. This three-day celebration will include food, activities and live music.
Thirty-three local vendors will provide full-size and sample portions of their signature dishes. This year, 10 new vendors: Caribbean Grill, County Market, Fireside, Houlihan’s Restaurant and Bar, Ko Fusion, Louie’s BBQ, Mirsung Indian Fast Food, Shanghai 1938, Xinh Xinh Café and A Toffee Tale, Inc., have been added to the Taste.
Loosen up those belts and dig into your wallets. Tonight marks the beginning of the 40th annual Taste of Champaign-Urbana at West Side Park.
Proceeds go to help kids attend summer camp who cannot afford to. A book of six tickets costs $5.
The Taste runs from 5 to 9 p.m. this evening, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
At least it's nice to see an article about Legends and Firehaus that doesn't mention them serving alcohol to minors.
Tracey Herbert, general manager at Legends Bar & Grill, 522 E. Green St., said the bar plans on opening early for 9 a.m. games.
In addition, Firehaus, 708 S. Sixth St., plans on opening early for all of the United States’ World Cup matches. The first game, a highly anticipated matchup against England, is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
That makes sense. You don't want a wine to smell like pig crap, when you are trying to determine if it's any good.
The University hosted the competition, which concludes Wednesday at Bevier Hall after two days of judging Monday and Tuesday.
“We don’t have the competition at the state fair because it tends to smell like a competition of a barnyard and fried food,” enologist Brad Beam said. “We have a controlled environment and do it ahead of time.”
It is necessary to have the judging in a controlled environment as aroma, along with visual, palette and finish need to be separate from outside effects, he said.
Dave Benton: After a short break, Jennifer's "Best Bars" segment is back for another week. This time it's a wine bar in Champaign—but so much more!
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "It's eclectic in the sense that we offer lots of different wines, more than 30 on our menu, and they can be easily paired, depending on your tastes."
Jennifer Ketchmark: That's here at Sunsinger Wines on Windsor in Champaign. But don't think there is only wine on their menu!
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "People really enjoy the cafe because of all the variety of items we have. We have black bean hummus, artichoke bruschetta, we have lots of different cheese plates."
And this fantastic creation:
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "The number one pick, ever since we opened, has been our grilled cheese supreme."
Who wouldn't love that gooey goodness?
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "It's a combination of 2 different cheeses, plus fig jam and Granny Smith apples."
Well, that makes it truly unique—much like their deli.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "All the salads that are on our menu are back there. Our baked potato salad, to a Caprese salad. We have all kinds of Old World salamis."
But it's not just their food that makes this a hot place to eat—
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "If you look around here, I think people love the place, they love the openness here. People find themselves feeling very very comfortable here."
—which leads to a relaxed atmosphere.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "They are able to sit, to talk and just enjoy themselves with their friends."
And many do relax here with a glass of wine or a summer favorite.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "Probably the most popular thing right now is our slushies made from Quady Electra from California. One is a black muscat and the other is an orange muscat."
And when I heard "slushie" I couldn't resist, because it is that perfect summertime drink. This is the red muscat, and it really has that refreshing flavor and a great twist.
That's the tart kick this drink packs, and if you are looking for something refreshing, you'll find it here.
Rick Carbaugh, cafe manager: "We have a full retail section with wine, spirits, and beer."
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "We've got wines that are in that 6 dollar price point and all the way up to the sky's the limit."
And the staff here will help you find a great wine, but you can do more than that. You can join a class.
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "101, 102, 103. Pretty simple."
Breaking it down—very like a college town!
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "Basic class starts out and we learn the 7 main varietals, whites and reds, and taste through those. ... Gets more into getting full blown descriptions, and we do it a Sherlock Holmes way."
And by the end—
Brian Bowman, beverage director: "You are blind-tasting everything, and you don't know what you're going through, and we teach you how to break down and examine the wine."
Quality wines, gourmet eats, and a nice place to lunch with friends is why this place made our list of Best Bars.
Nice of him to promise to keep the alcohol industry informed.
CHAMPAIGN – The city's liquor advisory commission is no more, after the city council Tuesday night unanimously voted to dissolve the group.
Following the vote, Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Jerry Schweighart said the commission meets infrequently and has become irrelevant, but he promised to keep the local alcohol industry informed of city liquor policies.
The liquor commissioner will now keep in direct contact with liquor industry leaders, often via e-mail, so individuals will receive information at the same time, Schweighart said. He added that one of the problems with the commission was that advisers were not reporting back to their constituents.Who are liquor industry leaders?
Champaign City Council members voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance removing the city’s Liquor Advisory Commission from the city’s administration at their meeting on Tuesday night.
While the ordinance passed unanimously, there was some discussion before it went up for vote.
Council member Deborah Feinen said she got a call on the way to the meeting from someone who asked if it was possible for such a commission to continue but only meet once or twice a year.
Mayor Gerald Schweighart said the city will continue to correspond with liquor license holders, only without a specified liquor license commission.
“I just would like to state that I do appreciate their service to the city, and it’s just reached a time when I think we can safely close this without a negative effect,” Schweighart said.
The commission was composed of nine members, including representation from the Illinois Student Senate, the University’s administration and liquor license holders in the Campustown area.