The owner of Nova in Addison has transformed the spot from a clubby lounge into a more laid-back hangout, reopening in May as American Tap Pub & Eatery. With a new décor, menu and drink selection, only the private party area will remind you of the old concept.
Motif: Planked wood walls give American Tap, located at 701 W. Lake St., a rustic feel. Big booths are positioned along the walls, which are decorated with neon beer signs, while tall long tables with black-backed chairs provide more seating. There are 22 TVs for sports fans to watch their game of choice, including two huge sets embedded in the brick walls. The bar will host UFC fights and it also offers entertainment in the form of two dart boards, a boxing game and Golden Tee.
American Tap Pub & Eatery701 W. Lake St., Addison, (630) 628-5800, american-tap.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
An enclosed patio decorated with hanging planters and tiki torches around the perimeter offers umbrella-topped tables for four and a long table for bigger groups. Half of the space still has Nova's orange and black color scheme and lounge feel, with its second bar used when the place is busy.
Crowd: The spot was sparsely populated by solo sports fans and older patrons grabbing dinner when we came in around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, but the crowd got younger and bigger as the night wore on. American Tap has also been bringing in a good lunch crowd and is working on attracting families and after-work drinkers.
Food: Everything on the menu is handmade, with favorites including burgers, sliders and steak skewers. If you can't decide what to order, try the sampler platter, where you can snack on the mini corn dogs served with a sweet honey-mustard sauce and the southwest egg rolls stuffed with chicken, black beans, corn and Jack cheese and served with a chipotle ranch sauce. The macaroni and cheese is delicious, with beer mixed into the sauce and the small noodles topped with chunks of chicken and very thin slices of jalapeño. For something lighter, try the grilled veggie sandwich, with hot mozzarella and grilled eggplant, zucchini and red peppers topped with an excellent pesto sauce and served on a toasted bun with crispy fries on the side.
Liquid consumption: True to the name, the focus here is on domestic craft beers. The selection of 40 brews contains a lot of particularly boozy options like alcoholic root beer that's 10 percent or 19.5 percent alcohol but tastes just like soda. The draft selection will change regularly as kegs run out, and you can give the new selections a try in a flight of four beers.
The bar also offers a small cocktail menu with options like the Watermelon Jolly Rancher, a super-sweet blend of cucumber vodka, watermelon pucker and sour mix, and a frothy cocktail created by pouring RumChata over alcoholic root beer.
Music: American Tap periodically brings in bands and DJs after dinner.
Service: Even though all the other customers were at the bar when we came in, a server quickly greeted us when we sat at a table. She was happy to make recommendations and apologized that they didn't have any Jolly Rancher candies to garnish my drink.
Parking: There are plenty of free spots available.
Overall: With good food and plenty of brews to try, American Tap gives sports fans a place to hang out before, during and after the game.