Fat Jack's

Bar, Eatery

511 N. Main Street
Bloomington, Illinois, 61701
United States

(309) 821-9222 | map

Notes: Sunday - Thursday: 3pm - 1am
Friday - Saturday: 3pm - 2am
View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 4 | Ratings: 11 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Jinx989:
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Jinx989 from Illinois

4.16/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Oct 07, 2018
More User Reviews:
Photo of jschott75
jschott75 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Dec 31, 2015
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SudsTerkel from Colorado

3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Happy to have found FJs during a biz trip to Bloomington/Normal, which is not likely a citadel of craft beer. They have a very deep tap list - around 12 - Smuttynose, Oscar Blues, Bells, 2 Brothers, Rogue and a host of others at very reasonable prices; 10 oz pours are a mere $3. What was lacking was a printed beer list which was on a chalkboard at the end of the bar and if it wasn't in view, you're out of luck. My server had little or no knowledge of beer styles and so be aware: you're on your own. Still, worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.

Jun 28, 2015
Photo of NateMac13
NateMac13 from Illinois

3.76/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Jun 21, 2015
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Trooper92292 from Illinois

4.64/5  rDev +17.2%

Dec 16, 2014
Photo of Svyturys30
Svyturys30 from Illinois

4.02/5  rDev +1.5%

Nov 07, 2014
Photo of cardinals22
cardinals22 from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Aug 14, 2014
Photo of Kevin_Young
Kevin_Young from Illinois

4/5  rDev +1%

Jun 11, 2014
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LusciousJackson from Illinois

4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Hats off to emerge for his extremely accurate description of Fat Jacks. I have nothing to add in that regard.

There are though, a couple of things I felt should be said in regards to this establishment. First, they have opened a kitchen serving what they call a New Orleans style menu including muffaletta, po boys, gumbo and the like. Haven't tried anything personally but a regular drinking buddy swears by the shrimp po boy. Secondly, you absolutely can't beat their drink specials with a stick. $2.75 16 oz, $3 16 oz, and $2 10 oz occupy four days a week and there are very few choices that aren't on special. One Friday a month is Firkin Friday as well. This is also one of the only spots in town that gets ahold of draft only stuff. GI Dominique, Stone Chiptotle Double Bastard, and Rogue Love and Hoppiness are ones I can recall as of late.

Get to this spot too late in the evening and you'll see it converts to full on college hot spot. Big crowds, jäger bombs, and long waits for a bartender plague the place. Scenery can be nice, if you catch my drift, but along with that comes the Delta Bravos close behind.

This is my favorite place to stop for a couple after work before it gets rowdy and I would recommend it to anyone.

May 05, 2011
Photo of emerge077
emerge077 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Fat Jack's was located in what seemed to be the "old downtown" section of town, the building across the street was marked 1888 on it's upper façade. It was a double storefront, with the bar room on the left and a pool room with couches on the right. No more smoking obviously, enhancing the atmosphere a bit.

Inside the bar was very open and airy, a few wall murals of Cuban origins in the pool room, and the aforementioned* Warholian" Jack Nicholson stencil mural near the bar.
Tin panel ceilings, lots of space overall.

Bartender greeted us first thing and prepped us on the beer selection. Basically the chalkboard in the rear was the most current list of taps, and we ended up just circling the bar to figure out what to drink. Two Founders taps, Red's Rye and Centennial IPA, Goose Island Sofie, Brother David from Anderson Valley, Rogue Dead Guy, Erdinger Weissbier, Paulaner Oktoberfest, several ciders, and a few others. Their website actually listed Jolly Pumpkin, but the older bartender was unfamiliar with it. Bottle selection was macro dominated and pretty weak save for Matilda. Not an earthshattering selection, but there were fresh quality beers available here.

The atmosphere during the day was pretty laid back. Just a few other patrons in the place. Seems like the kind of place a rowdy college crowd would take over at night though (a dress code posted by the door warned against flip-flops due to broken glass). Worth a shot if you're staying in town or local.

* "...a faux-Warholian wallpaper display of images of Jack Nicholson that the bar seems to quite proud of." -jpm30 (MIA, sadly)

Sep 06, 2010
Photo of kdog630
kdog630 from Illinois

3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

About the only real beer bar in the Twin Cities with around 20 taps. Some rotate, others always have the same thing. They usually get a good selection of pales, including Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Anchor and Goose Island.

Service can be hit or miss depending on when you are there. Right after work can be a real good time, but after 10:00 the crowd gets considerably younger and you can really get jostled.

Music runs the gamut from classic to grunge to hip-hop. A couple of Weds a month they have a local jazz band play early in the evening.

It was first opened as a cigar bar, and they are still welcome. A high ceiling and good ventilation means the smoke doesn't get in your eyes.

No food there, but order from the Lucca around the corner. Best pizza in town!

Sep 18, 2006
Fat Jack's in Bloomington, IL
Place rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 11 ratings