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posted: 8/24/2012 6:00 AM

New music, menu transforms Chord on Blues into River Rockhouse

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  • Bartender De Aire' O'Brien pours a drink at River Rockhouse in St. Charles.

       Bartender De Aire' O'Brien pours a drink at River Rockhouse in St. Charles.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • St. Charles' River Rockhouse -- formerly Chord on Blues -- now features rock acts as well as a new menu.

       St. Charles' River Rockhouse -- formerly Chord on Blues -- now features rock acts as well as a new menu.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Patrons can stop in for a drink or catch a band at the newly renovated and renamed River Rockhouse in St. Charles.

       Patrons can stop in for a drink or catch a band at the newly renovated and renamed River Rockhouse in St. Charles.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Patrons can stop in for a drink or catch a band at the newly renovated River Rockhouse in St. Charles.

       Patrons can stop in for a drink or catch a band at the newly renovated River Rockhouse in St. Charles.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
By Samantha Nelson
Daily Herald Correspondent

When Chord on Blues stopped being strictly a blues bar, the owner decided to rename the club at the end of June to change the perception of the spot. The result is River Rockhouse, which offers a bit of blues music along with plenty of rock and cover groups, plus a new menu and renovated space.

Motif: The huge spot is divided into two distinct sides. The live music space has a large stage with excellent sound amplified by the brick walls and hardwood floors. It has its own bar where you can grab a drink and relax at one of the long tables topped with green tablecloths.

The other side of the space provides a quieter area with a country roadhouse feel created by the booths and barn wood walls. It offers golf and lawn dart video games, bags sets and two pool tables that are free to play Sunday through Wednesday and occupied by leagues in the fall and spring. Countertops nearby make it easy to rest your drink between shots. The space has plenty of TVs, including a projector screen above the bar where River Rockhouse hopes to eventually broadcast fights. A large covered patio offers couches and small tables surrounded by brick pillars.

Some changes are still in the works, with plans to convert a central pillar into another bar in time for football season.

Crowd: The crowd depends on the band, typically ranging from 25 to 40 or 35 to 45. It was sparse when we were there, with plenty of people on the patio but just a few casually dressed groups indoors.

Service: Our server was friendly and great at rattling off the draft list. Hang around when things are hopping and you might see the staff dancing on the bar tops.

Food: The new menu features bar fare made fresh including burgers with never-frozen Black Angus patties and house-made sauces. River Rockhouse offers 25-cent wings Mondays and half-price appetizers on Tuesdays.

Liquid consumption: River Rockhouse's solid draft list features Goose Island's Matilda and Magners Irish cider. Drink specials include $3.50 pints Mondays and $1 domestic drafts Tuesdays.

Music: River Rockhouse currently has live music Fridays and Saturdays and some Thursdays and plans to increase the offerings in the fall by adding all-ages shows on Sundays.

Cover: Admission is typically $10, but can get higher for national acts. There's only a charge for the bar side during special events.

Parking: There are plenty of free spots.

Overall: River Rockhouse is a place in flux, but it's worth checking out if you're looking for a spot to drink, rock and relax with a game or two.

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