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updated: 2/12/2014 6:16 AM

M T Barrels revamps Schaumburg space for a whole new experience

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  • Co-owner Chad Severson arranges bottles behind the bar at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.

       Co-owner Chad Severson arranges bottles behind the bar at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Samantha Reuter, center, of Chicago, shares a laugh with Jill Ramirez, right, of Hoffman Estates at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.

       Samantha Reuter, center, of Chicago, shares a laugh with Jill Ramirez, right, of Hoffman Estates at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Pretzel sticks make a hearty starter at M T Barrels.

       Pretzel sticks make a hearty starter at M T Barrels.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Chicken wings are served at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.

       Chicken wings are served at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Mixed drinks join a large selection of beers at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.

       Mixed drinks join a large selection of beers at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Bartender Rachel Semel prepares to deliver a Guinness at M T Barrels.

       Bartender Rachel Semel prepares to deliver a Guinness at M T Barrels.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • A large light-changing logo adorns the bottom of the beer draft tower at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.

       A large light-changing logo adorns the bottom of the beer draft tower at M T Barrels in Schaumburg.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
By Samantha Nelson
Daily Herald Correspondent

M T Barrels took over City Limits' former space at 1712 W. Wise Road in Schaumburg in November, continuing the bar's tradition as a place to see live music while updating the menu and space to attract more people when there's nothing on stage.

Motif: There's plenty of room to dance or just stand in front of the large stage, where Sailor Jerry, Jameson and Sam Adams murals decorate the walls. The art transitions from booze to sports on the other side of the bar, depicting Wrigley Field, Soldier Field and the Blackhawks. A long bank of TVs hangs over the bar, so you can watch from a booth or tall table. The music fills the whole space, so even if you don't have a good view of the band you can keep listening while you play a game of darts or shuffleboard or try the skeeball game.

Food: M T Barrels tries to attract guests by offering food a step above what you'll find at the average sports bar. The bar is best known for burgers, which can be topped with pico de gallo, avocado and jalapeņo along with more standard toppings. Pizza is also popular. For starters, try the barrel o' bacon, where the meat is thick cut to resemble beef jerky.

Liquid consumption: In addition to offering an expanded wine list, M T Barrels' owners focus on craft beers, selling 30 by the bottle and 20 on draft such as New Holland Dragon's Milk, Lagunitas Lil Sumpin' and Goose Island Sofie. Daily drink specials include $5 margaritas on Tuesdays, $3 Sailor Jerry cocktails on Thursdays and $4 bloody marys on Sundays.

Crowd: The crowd varies depending on who's playing, so you might find mostly 20-somethings for Modern Day Romeos but 50-year-olds gathering for an Eagles tribute band. The offer of half-price appetizers from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays has been attracting an after-work crowd, and Blackhawks games bring in plenty of fans.

Music: Local cover bands or original acts play every Saturday night, with a cover set at $8 or less. On Wednesdays, local musicians gather for a jam session and open mic, where anyone's welcome to get a feel for what it's like to play onstage complete with audio set up by the bar's sound engineer. The gatherings have drawn up to 24 performers and provide a good networking opportunity. Thursday is karaoke night and local DJs spin after the Friday night sports games.

Service: We were quickly greeted by a friendly server when we sat down at a table, and drinks came out reasonably fast considering the big crowd.

Parking: There are plenty of spots in the free strip mall lot.

Overall: If you're looking for something to do on the weekend, you'll want to check out the schedule at this happening spot.

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