While cover bands usually dominate suburban bars, Antioch's Grassroots Tavern, which took over Dry Dock Saloon & Diner's former spot on Grass Lake Road in March, offers plenty of original acts. The friendly service and solid food please music lovers of all types.
Motif: The wood bar is decorated with shells, colored glass and little seahorses and the walls feature brightly colored music notes and somewhat psychedelic art. TVs behind the bar play racing or sports and an electronic dartboard and a pair of pool tables, which are free to play Mondays, provide additional entertainment. Small tables with tall stools are set up around the stage and you can also hang out by the fireplace, which is embedded in a stone wall. Booths in front provide a quieter area for dining.
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Grassroots Tavern27045 W. Grass Lake Road, Antioch, (847) 603-8895
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday
Crowd: When we were there Saturday evening, the bar area was dominated by guys who were enjoying trying to sink coins into a tip bucket behind the bar or hit a bell hanging on top of it.
Food: Grassroots prides itself on the quality of its food, using only free-range, hormone-free meats. The menu offers plenty of quirkily named sandwiches like the Drunken Monkey Knife Fight, nicely blackened chicken topped with avocado and bacon and served on a pretzel roll. The sweet potato fries are pleasantly crispy and the chili, which is served very hot in a big glass bowl, is a well-spiced blend of meat, kidney beans and chunks of bell peppers and tomato topped with plenty of cheddar cheese. A new summer menu is set to launch Friday.
Liquid consumption: You'll find fairly standard cocktail and beer options here with daily drink specials ensuring you can always find something to quench your thirst on the cheap.
Service: We were quickly served by the bartender and, while he wasn't familiar with some of the items on the menu, he told us about what he did know and tried to get other staff members to provide answers when he didn't. It was also a nice touch that when we asked what the day's $4 draft special was like he poured us a sample so we could taste for ourselves. Along with making sure that everyone's orders were taken, he was also entertaining some guests by performing card tricks.
Music: The bar hosts an open mic Tuesdays and regularly brings in bands Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. While you'll find some cover bands, the focus is on original acts performing an eclectic mix of funk, jam, rock, bluegrass and pop tunes. Otherwise a digital jukebox provides music from bands such as Audioslave, Queen and The Rolling Stones.
Parking: There are plenty of spots in the bar's free lot.
Overall: Grassroots provides a mellow place to grab dinner and drinks and listen to some new tunes.