Bar, Eatery

120 W North St
Normal, Illinois, 61761-2532
United States

(309) 452-6334 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 16 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of NateMac13
NateMac13 from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

First of all I have to say this place is beautiful on the inside. The floors, tables, bar, staircase, tree in the middle, is all fantastic.

My wife and I have been here many times and I'm just getting around to reviewing it.

The bartenders have always been exceptional. Very friendly and genuinely like craft beer and like talking about it. They have a great selection of crafts with 32 taps. They bring in some harder to get stuff as well for this area which I really appreciate.

There is a good mix of people that show up here, young to old, hipsters to suits. It has a bar area upstairs that I just recently found out about.

The food is good but not great. The food servers are good but not great.

Stick to the bar area and you will no doubt enjoy yourself and maybe have a good conversation with someone next to you.

May 22, 2013
Photo of LusciousJackson
LusciousJackson from Illinois

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Well, I felt this place needed a newer review so here it is.

First off, as many have mentioned this place is pretty. There's still a big ol' tree on the middle of the joint. Still a Picasso, still a handmade bar consisting of various tree trunk slices and all kinds of fancy lighting. Music is mostly jazz in the daytime, mixing in some blues in the evening sometimes. Overall the vibe is casual upscale, though it can border on pretentious at times. Food is good for the area, the pizza can't be beat in my opinion. They also do a good job of putting together beer-themed dinners with pairings every couple of months.

The service is decent. I'm kind of an easy grader, but almost all of the bar staff is educated on beer basics meaning if a non-BA customer asks for a suggestion they know how to relate the taps to the customers' tastes. Drink BMC? Try a Scrimshaw. Dig Blue Moon? Have an Oberon. This type of thing, which is great to see. A few have a bit more knowledge and seem to have some influence on selection. The staff is friendly and quick to recognize faces and develop rapport with regulars which, being one, I can appreciate. They actually make conversation which makes you want to stick around for another pint, which is what every bartender should strive for.

The taps are definitely better than most of the other options in our college town. There are some standards that never change such as Guinness, Stella, Affligem Blonde, Crooked Tree, FBS, Domaine Dupage, Dead Guy, Delerium Tremens( this does change to Noel when the season rolls around) and GI Matilda. Breweries like Southern Tier, Stone, Dark Horse and Left Hand are pretty regularly represented with a mix of Belgians and Germans as well. The issue most of the time is pricing. Even on special, the more common beers run a minimum of $4 per 12 oz and running up to $8 for 10 oz of the specialty stuff. Tough to justify when there's $2 10 oz'ers across town on the same night. I'm not versed on the topic but from what I have heard, their scotch and wine selection is good also.

All in all, a great spot for a drop in if you are in the area but probably not worth too much of a drive. I feel it's the perfect spot to bring the wife/husband/whatever to a nice meal and still enjoy a fine craft offering at the same time.

May 04, 2011
Photo of Sallerj
Sallerj from Illinois

2.2/5  rDev -46.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 1

This is one of the most beautiful restaurants out there, with beautifully crafted tables made from homegrown wood, a genuine Picasso, and a two story sandblasted Mulberry tree.

The beer selection used to be awesome, got crappy for a while, and has recovered a bit. They focus on domestic microbrews, from places like Two Brothers, Dark Horse, Three Floyds, Lost Abbey, Goose Island, Rogue, and a host of other great breweries.

With a couple notable exceptions, the staff has no clue about the beer.

The food is terrible, and the place is clearly very poorly run. The staff has no clue what's going on.

Feb 02, 2010
Photo of hoosier222002
hoosier222002 from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Made two separate stops here while visting for a weekend trip. The beer selection is rather good for a college town. They had a menu of listings such as Rogue, Dark Horse, Shlafly, Bells, etc. as well as a rotating list of taps. Most of the totaing list were Ocktoberfest beers on my trip.

The place has a nice feel to it. Wide open with what appeared to be a very nice bar. The food menu had a nice selction to it. The first trip we stuck with a few appetizers including onion rings. The second trip was capped off by a Cajun burger that I would highly recommend. They also have pasta dishes and other titems.

Place I would highly recommend if you are ever in Normal.

Oct 18, 2009
Photo of emerge077
emerge077 from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped here on a recent road trip. There wasn't anyone in the front at the host station, but we were soon escorted to a table up the second floor on the outdoor patio.

The interior was well designed, with a debarked tree in the center of the space, stone tile floors and plenty of natural light coming in. During the day it seemed to be mostly college students' families dining out on Labor Day weekend. The bar on the main floor was on the left, with a number of taps visible along the back wall. Upstairs there was a bar inside with loungey furniture and a Spanish mission inspired patio. We got a table with an umbrella, and our server was good with beer recommendations. She mentioned that the beer specialist here had moved on to brew at Destihl. I was happy to see Founders Double Trouble on draft, served in a tulip for $5, the best deal in town that i've experienced.

The beer list was of medium size, but well rounded with a good selection of seasonal/rotating taps (Founders, Rogue, 3 Floyds, Southern Tier). Too bad no one else here was drinking craft beer, in favor of lime stuffed coronas. Our pizza was especially good with plenty of cheese and garlic.

Overall this was a nice spot, affordable, with a somewhat upscale vibe. Recommended for lunch/dinner and beers if you're passing through or local. There's an adjacent bakery too with an assortment of breads, pastries, and pies.

Sep 11, 2009
Photo of kdog630
kdog630 from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The first bar I've gone to where the bartender actually remembers my name and likes to have a conversation.

That said, it wasn't the reason we went. This place opened at the beginning of 2008 and is only a few blocks from my house. It is a brand new building in the 'uptown' area but fits in nicely with the surrounding architecture. The owner cut down an old tree that was dying, debarked it, preserved it and it now sits in the main dining area. There is also a nice rooftop beer garden.

The bar is all natural wood that was finished by one of the partners. It is a little to blonde for my tastes, but people seem to like it.

The food is pretty good, and a little more ecclectic than other places around here.

While they were building, we noticed there were places for numerous taps. They now have over 20 downstairs and 10 upstairs. John, the manager, seems to lean toward pales and stouts and goes out of his way to bring in beers that aren't normally on tap in these parts. Alpha King, Goose Island Matilda and Felonius Monk are among those on tap at the moment.

If you are ever in town, stop by for good food and beer. During the summer, you may even get to hear some pretty good jazz.

Dec 09, 2008
Medici in Normal, IL
Place rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 16 ratings