The owners of Last Call Sports Bar and Grill in Naperville closed that spot to open The Town Bar & Grill in Aurora in 2011. Since then, they've been attracting plenty of locals by offering a variety of entertainment including sports, music and plenty of games.
Motif: The Town has 20 TVs including three projector screens in back, which show football, hockey and baseball games and UFC fights. There's a bank of sets above the bar, where the establishment's extensive craft beer selection is also on display. Walls are lined with neon beer signs and banners proclaiming The Town's status as an official Bears and Blackhawks bar.
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The Town Bar & Grill2681 E. New York St., Aurora, (630) 499-9975, thetownbar.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday
Four video gambling machines are roped off in back, with other games off to the side, including two dart boards, Big Buck Hunter Safari, Simpsons pinball and classic arcade game Galaga. A small fenced patio offers space to play bags during the summer, with some truly determined players braving the fall cold.
Crowd: Most of The Town's customers are locals in the 26-to-34 age range, though you'll find 21-year-olds and 50-plus customers, too. Families often flock in for dinner, especially on Friday nights. The bar has a "Sunday Fun Day" club, whose members receive half-price food on Sundays, making that one of The Town's busiest days. Serious poker players compete in tournaments Mondays and Thursdays, while Tuesday trivia attracts a mix of intense and casual players. The addition of video gambling in October has also proved popular.
Food: The Town revamped its menu two months ago, shifting the focus from frozen foods to house-made dishes including mac and cheese and soups. Burgers are still the most popular dish here along with wings and wraps.
The vegetable wrap is loaded with mushrooms, diced tomatoes, bell peppers and red onions, which are so juicy it's hard to keep the tortilla together. The 4-Alarm burger contains jalapeņos, pepper jack cheese, pico de gallo and chipotle mayo but was disappointingly mild. The tater tots are nicely crispy, but a little too oily from being deep-fried rather than baked.
Liquid consumption: You'll find more than 50 craft beers here, with 20 on draft. If you're looking for discount drinks, daily specials include $2 domestic bottles on Thursdays, $3.50 craft pints on Tuesdays and $4 Captain Morgan drinks on Saturdays.
Service: We were quickly greeted by a server, who offered a draft list and shared the night's specials. The food came out very quickly and we never had to wait long for attention.
Music: A DJ spins '80s and '90s tunes on Wednesday, while acoustic acts play covers every other Friday.
Parking: There are plenty of spots in a free lot.
Overall: The Town Bar & Grill's long list of activities and craft beers provides a place for locals to hang out throughout the week.