Mexican restaurant Cantina took over Curly's former digs in July 2011, but the owners soon decided their concept wasn't working. In November, the Glen Ellyn spot reopened as North Side Sports Bar & Grill, with the same staff providing locals a place to relax and watch the game.
Motif: The small space packs in nine TVs and an electronic dart board. A brick wall shows off a collection of sports memorabilia such as balls and a hockey stick along with team photos and shots of local stadiums. The other long wall features huge logos of the area's professional and college teams. The daily food and drink specials are written on a chalkboard, and the selection of bottles is displayed along the top of the bar. Small wooden tables are positioned throughout the space, all providing a view of at least one set.
North Side Sports Bar & Grill499 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Glen Ellyn, (630) 469-4602; northsidege.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday
Crowd: North Side draws in an eclectic crowd, including 20-somethings, seniors, older couples, families and off-duty police officers. Tuesday is one of the busiest nights, with customers drawn in by team trivia and half-price burgers. Families pack in Monday when kids eat free, and Friday and Saturday crowds depend on the music. The bar is hoping to be a big draw for football season, offering patio space for Fantasy Football drafts and serving an impressive Sunday bloody mary bar.
Service: The spot wasn't busy when we came Saturday night, but we had to wait awhile to get service at our table and wound up going to the bar for drinks. Service was fine there, with the bartender taking orders while amiably chatting with customers.
Food: The beefeater is by far the most popular item on North Side's menu, a sandwich of shaved prime rib and cheddar cheese served on Texas toast. Others prefer their prime rib on a toasted roll with chipotle-grilled onions and horseradish aioli. The Reuben is also a hit, topped with house-made sauerkraut and served on marble rye. The 50-cent wings on Sunday provide another incentive to watch football there.
Liquid consumption: The bar boasts a solid selection of craft beers by the bottle, including Two Brothers Dog Days and Domaine DuPage and Magic Hat #9. A small cocktail menu focuses on Jim Beam and Cruzan, with sippers like the Devil's Blood, a blend of bourbon, grenadine and lemon and orange juices that resemble a fruity old fashioned. Daily drink specials include $1.50 drafts Wednesday, $3 Corona and Corona Light Friday and $2.50 Miller products Thursday.
Music: North Side hosts bands every Friday and Saturday night, bringing in a wide range of acts from blues to rock music to acoustic jams.
Parking: There's plenty of free parking a few blocks away in the downtown Glen Ellyn lot.
Overall: The owners of North Side seem to have made a great decision by changing their concept and are gearing up to be a serious football hub.