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The Blind Pig Co.

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The Blind Pig Co.The Blind Pig Co.
43 Ratings
The Blind Pig Co.The Blind Pig Co.

Type: Bar

120 N Walnut St
Champaign, Illinois, 61820-4010
United States

(217) 398-1532 | map

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Ratings: 43 |  Reviews: 28
Reviews by bluemoonswoon:
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in here on a recent trip to Champaign. Beerflyed the area and found this place.

Walking into the place was certainly something else. It's incredible how dark this place is yet manages not to feel the least bit dank. Pretty larger bar. Has an outdoor seating area on the street, to join the countless others on this strip. When you step inside you feel like the bar is closing around you the further you walk in. Big fat wooden table tops, big fat wooden bar with big fat wooden awnings directly above, with big fat wooden crossbeams above that. The place feels at once massive and tiny and overall, disarmingly comfortable and cozy. Authentic dart boards line the back wall that lead to a sort of dilapidated bathroom that smelled a bit too much like old pee for my tastes, but sort of adds to the charm of the place in certain respects. Sitting at the bar I barely noticed that there was an entirely separate room from the main seating area. This room is a great deal brighter, except of course for the three massive wooden booths that are swaddled by more wooden awnings and lattice work. Apart from this there are more dart boards and by then the place takes on a sort of loungey character with overstuffed, buttoned down vinyl upholstered barrel chairs and booths. Really my kind of place in terms of atmosphere, could spend night after night in here alone or with a group of friends, this place lends itself equally to both. Oh yeah the beer. Not to much to be said here that hasn't already been said. Easily the pick of the litter in terms of selection, while they won't always carry what the big boys in Chicago are able to get their hands on they still bring in a good amount of beer on tap (about 15-20) and bottles (75 or more that I could count) plus an occasional rarity (they had Double Crooked Tree when I stopped by). Also the price is hard to beat considering what you would pay in the city. Service was adequate, though sometimes I had to do that move where I push my empty glass to the edge of the bar to get the bartenders attention. This on a particularly slow Friday evening. Other than these minor inconveniences, and really I was in no hurry, I just wanted another tasty beer, this place is just about flawless.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Docrock
3.11/5  rDev -30.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5

Had to spend some time in Champaign and this was recommended by a friend. Looked at previous reviews and thought, allright, going to be a good night. Was there after Spring semester was over so maybe that had something to do with the crowd but not sure many undergrads visit anyway. Service was abysmal, bartender was too busy to help as she was snapchatting away. Beer selectionon tap was 5 of their own beers and a few other. Since bartender was of no help, couldnt get a good read on what is supposed to be a good bottle selection. Atmosphere as we walked in was nice, dark, lots of old oak and empty beer bottles from all over stuffed on shelves and on beams, but there were no unusual or treats to be had. Maybe something has happened since the last review but current rating is way off.

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Photo of Bones10
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of Vondy08
5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I love this bar. Great selection. Knowledgable staff without being snobby if you're new

87 characters

Photo of bussy77
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of twb0392
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Great atmosphere, good rotating tap list

40 characters

Photo of Jordanmtate
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of BalancingBrooms
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Realchunks30
4.84/5  rDev +8%

Photo of Corby
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of smasol101
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of JIMTRK16
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Lynn
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Storning
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of guytyping
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of NateMac13
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of Treebs
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I really really wish I appreciated beer more when I went to college at U of I. I frequented this place my junior and senior year and it was even better than I remembered when I went back a few weeks ago.

The place is dimly lit with wood accents everywhere. The bar is on the left side of the building and the rest is seating. Tall tables, short tables, booths and an area to play darts with lots of chairs. Pretty great set up. Not dirty at all, except for the hipsters, and the place was very well kept.

The service was great. Even for a late Friday night (We got there around 11:30) the service at the bar was quick and the bartenders were knowledgeable about the tap selections and what was in/out/coming up/etc.

There was a large number of taps that were 98% craft. It was great. The selection was a great mix of Illinois locals (Flossmoor, Two Brothers, etc.) and other beers from coast to coast (Sculpin comes to mind, love draft Sculpin). The actually had Sculpin on cask earlier in the night, but that was kicked before we got there.

The prices for drafts were all $5 or $6 for nice pint glasses. When applicable they did use proper glassware. The bottles were a little above MSRP, but not by much which was surprising. I paid $15 for a Boulevard Chocolate Ale as a nightcap which was more than reasonable for a beer that's not on the shelf anymore.

Overall I loved this place and wish I had a place like this right next door like I did in college. If one comes my I wont take advantage of it like I did the Blind Pig during my college days.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

So this place has not had a review in almost two years, even though it is the best bar in Central Illinois and one of the best in America according to BA?

The wife and I are living in Decatur for a while and it sucks in here, so we decided to check Champaign out. Man, what a difference! 45 miles and a world away. Where Decatur is all ghetto and blight, Champaign has a cool little downtown with tons of bars and restaurants.

The Blind Pig is one of the best, both in ambience and beer selection. Super laid-back joint across from Radio Maria and right where all the action is. Dark inside, with lots of wood and dim lights. Cozy and quiet, almost no music or noise. Pretty empty on a Tuesday evening at around 6pm.

Friendly bartender and great selection of beer, with 26 taps and highlights such as Stone Double Dry Hopped IPA, Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Stout, Lost Abbey Serpent Stout, Smuttynose Imperial Stout, Dieu du Ciel Epices... plus Delirium, Lindeman's and some quality Euros. Also Guinness, PBR and Bud Light.

If anything, I missed a bit of variety (barleywines, DIPA's) and bigger beers, but it's fine. And the prices! $4 for most everything, including Lost Abbey (I had two glasses).
The bottle selection is very good too, with Port Brewing, Lost Abbey, Big Sky, Boulevard and some pricey vintages, all divided in styles.

No food, though, so eat beforehand or afterwards to soak up all the high-octane. The beers we tasted were damn fresh and served in nice glassware, so the Pig gets extra points for that.

One of the best bars in the US? Why not. This is Central Illinois, after all! I look forward to going back and back again as long as we are stuck in Decatur.

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Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Wow, what to say about this place...if you only have time to visit one bar in Champaign, go here. This is the best beer bar i've been to in downstate IL, and it's up there with Chicago beer meccas like the Map Room, Hopleaf, & Local Option.

Others have described the place well, and all I have to say this is the most authentic British Pub atmosphere i've experienced in the US. Nothing slick about it, just the feeling that it's been here for decades, and will be for decades to come. Dark with rustic wood everywhere, heavy beams overhead lined with dusty bottles of obscure beers. A second room with old-timey darts and amazing woodwork on the three enclosed booths in the back. Simple yet effective in terms of atmosphere, Blind Pig is the real deal.

There was no one else at the back when we came in, so I chatted with Jason the bartender for awhile. He was beer savvy and was a great guy to talk to. He mentioned that the new brewing operation a block away was on the verge of brewing their 1st batch, and the space was super small, requiring some customized equipment. Moylans Hopsickle and Port Panzer were on draft. Two casks were also nice to see, although one was out. Bottle list was well rounded with a few gems, in a perfect world they would get rid of the macros, and put some traditional Lambics and even more diverse styles on there.

It felt like home the minute I sat down, and was a really comfortable place to enjoy a beer (or three). The crowd was low key and seemed to be enjoying the beer selection also. Will make a point to return in the future!

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Photo of gimmehead
4.39/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

If you want draft beer in C-U ( including on cask), this is definately the spot. 18 taps of quality craft beer with another being used for PBR. Selections are all over the board, style wise: Hercules, Titan, the Poet stout, Red's Rye, Dirty Bastard, Blanche de Chambly, Duchesse de Bourgogne, Burning River, Kostritzer Schwarzbier, etc, with Oak Aged Yeti waiting in the wings. Friendly and very knowledgeable staff, one of which is a fellow BA who will gladly talk beer all night. The atmosphere is great, beautiful woodwork, some of which is salvaged from an old church. Very comfortable with loads of character. The music is controlled by the staff and kept at a comfortable level, allowing for conversation without screaming. No food, no pool tables, no 19 year old kids. The Blind Pig is all about the beer.

EDIT- Tuesday nights are smoke free till 9 or 9:30

Edit 2, 7/11/05- Service, atmosphere, etc are still great, but selection getting even better. Every time I stop in there the tap lineup is better. Someday the Blind Pig might get all 5s.

EDIT 3 1/8/09- After a few years since my last entry, I thought I'd give the BP another quick review.
While still my favorite local pub by far, the BP isn't what it used to be. When I started to frequent the bar, everyone on staff was very knowledgeable and seemed to have a true passion for beer. It was a place where I could not only drink great beer, but also learn about it. Now it seems like most of the staff is typical of any urban bar. Don't get me wrong, they're all very friendly, nice, [insert cuddly descriptor] but they don't KNOW beer. Yes, I'm making a broad generalization that doesn't apply to all. I don't want to know more about the beer I'm drinking than the guy (or gal) serving it. I want them to tell me about the beer. When I ask what cask is next,I want them to tell me, "We've got this super secret special beer from XXX that we're tapping just for you", not, "I'm not really sure, but have you tried the Duchesse?" Yes! I've tried it because it's taken up a handle for the last 3 years! While they've added more taps, the selction hasn't seemed to follow. They have several beers that are ALWAYS on tap, like PBR, Guiness, Stella, Duchesse, Woodchuck Cider and Lindeman's Whatever. The sense of excitement over the taps is gone. Gone are the days when they purloined a keg of Racer 10, Oak Aged Yeti, Peche Mortel, Two-Hearted on cask (Thanks Illinois!) or some other rare treat. Now when I walk in the door, I know the tap lineup will be solid, but not exceptional. Good beer from Founders, Unibroue, Ommegang, Arcadia, Michigan Brewing Co, maybe some 3F and various imports. I know that to many beer enthusiasts that live in craft beer wastelands this seems like a great lineup- I have a hard time arguing against it as well. It's just that it's not the same Blind Pig as it used to be. These are the things that I miss about the Blind Pig: the sense of wonderment and anticipation when a new keg is tapped, thinking all week about will be on tap at the BP on Saturday, and, will it be something special from a brewery that I've only heard about and never dreamed of tasting? Maybe I'm just jaded or feeling nostalgiac for my craft beer innocence, but the BP, although still a great place to get a beer, ain't what it used to be.

To clear up a few misconceptions that I ve read in recent reviews

The BP does not have 40+ taps. They have 28 +/-1 or 2 and usually one beer on cask.

It not expensive, relatively speaking. You will pay the same price for craft beer here(possibly cheaper) than you will at any other bar in Champaign-Urbana

Weekend nights get busy so the ABSOLUTE BEST TIME to be there is on Saturdays from open(2 or 3 PM, depending) until about 6 or 7. This is when my favorite bartender works and the place is relatively dead. Most Saturday afternoons it's you, the bartender and 1 or 2 other people that you've never met, but you find that they love craft beer as much as you do. This when you can focus on the beer and, have some great conversation with random people and possibly learn a thign or two.

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Photo of redjameskidd
3.93/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Edit: I am changing my earlier "A" review of this bar after having experienced quite a bit more of Champaign and central IL over the past few years.

It is a good place, but unfortunately its heart is not in craft beer as much as the owners would like you to believe. Of the 27 taps, a good 10 of them in the center of the beer list never change, and remain the uninteresting standbys. This is a "beer bar" that offers Bud, Miller, AND PBR on tap...along with Blue Moon, Guinness, etc, etc...thanks a lot. Ultimately, the number of unique taps ends up being quite a bit smaller than advertised.

Positives: the atmosphere is pretty great. Everything is made of wood. It's a definite hipster and hippy hangout in downtown Champaign. Bearded men are everywhere. Half of them are working on anthropology theses. There is a fun, local Irish group called Emerald Rum that plays on Sunday nights.

On the other hand, however, if you're really into craft beer and are motivated by actual selection, then it is impossible to argue--Radio Maria across the street has the better beer selection. This is simple fact. They waste zero of their taps on the macrobrews you will find at The Blind Pig. Every one of Radio Maria's is something unique and interesting.

What is boils down to is a culture war. Ye Olde English Pub Style, or industrial modern? If you're making a decision based on aesthetics, check out The Blind Pig. If you're making the decision based on beer, go over to Radio Maria.

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Photo of Gonzoillini
4.8/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

a great brew pub for good beers in a college town dominated by Greek society bars and loud music. The selection of on tap beers is great, as is the 5 6 oz beers for 8$ (more for high abv beers). i had a moylans hopsickle, arcadia ipa (on cask), unibroue maudite, st bernadus abt 12, and a rogue jls lager (not sure exactly which one it was, the bartender was on his first night) for only 11$. Has 20+ taps as well as a huge selection of bottles ( 12 oz and bombers). If you are ever in central Illinois and roll through Champaign you would be doing yourself a diservice to not stop by a for a brew or three.

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Photo of Vilmer
4.66/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This is probably my favorite bar. I've only been here a few times but I always have a great time. Over 20 beers on tap, and I believe they change weekly. They've got great printed menus listing each beer, brewery, style, and abv. I've never gotten a bottle here, so I don't know about the bottle selection, but with all the beers on tap, you should be able to find something you like. My absolute favorite thing about this bar is that you can get a sampler of 6 oz glasses of any five beers on tap. If you've got a group, you can get 2 or 3 samplers and have a taste of everything on tap. The bar has lots of small tables spread throughout and is quiet enough that you can easily have a conversation. Also, there website lists what is currently on tap.

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Photo of xagent
5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Fond memories, even though I only started going here during the last year while at U of I. Will definitely miss this place. Nothing out here seems to compare to it.

Great beer selection, among the best I've seen anywhere

The printed menus = genius. Describing each draught beer, along with it's ABV%, and organizing each bottled beer by style.

Atmosphere was the best of any good beer bar I've ever been to. Most other good beer bars have too much of a dive atmosphere/are way way too small (think Mike and Molly's, but the only thing that saved them was their beer garden). Is definitely not a scummy place.

Nice that you can drink outside and enjoy the fresh air or a smoke.

I'm living in the South Bay Area, CA right now, and let's just say the entire Bay is devoid of such bars except in San Francisco. And all the beer bars in SF are small, crowded, dives, at least to the few that I've already been to.

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The Blind Pig Co. in Champaign, IL
Place rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 43 ratings
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