Monday, September 24, 2012

14 Sept 12 - Rookies Gastro Pub / Lounge


Hey, blogspot readers, thank goodness it's Friday! SouthSide's taking a bit of a break from bands (Eva Trix ties wicked knots!) after her "kidnapping" ordeal. While away, she's checking out two new nightspots vying for the attention of clubsters, wannabes, hipsters and et al who want to be seen or simply people watch. In the Bucktown/Wicker Park area - there's Fatpour Tap Works (located on Division near Damen ...and the bar without an outside sign as of yet) and in the Central Lakeview/Wrigleyville area, there's Rookies Gastro Pub/Lounge. SouthSide was at Rookies for an impromptu meet-n-greet as well as a battle of the DJs hosted by her friend Matthew Nalett of Chicago Music Promotions.

Walking into this establishment, this reviewer liked the spaciousness of the bar/lounge ...plenty of table seating inside and outside on the patio area. Enough room to handle the large weekend crowds of barflies and hoppers looking for another hour or two of a good time. Luckily, Rookies is located away from the central (crowded) area where most of the Wrigleyville/Lakeview bar scene is siutated. Sitting on the cusp of the area (between Grace and Newport) along Clark Stree at Roscoe, this bar has the potential in attracting the nightcrawlers walking southward towards Belmont and beyond. While inside this quaint bar, blogspot readers, check out the many portraits of famous sports figures from Sammy Sosa to Larry Bird (in his Boston Celtics uniform), Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, John McEnroe and more. Sorry, Sox fans, there were no Minnie Minoso, Dick Allen or Frank Thomas seen on the walls. Don't worry, SouthSide will take care of that problem the next time she visits Rookies.

Since Rookies is a sports bar, this reviewer did test a sample of the menu offerings.She was somewhat disappointed because it had the usual choices such as chicken wings, Chicago style hot dogs, and nachos ...nothing really to entice the appetite. On this night, the special of the day was fish tacos and the sampler which included a bit of the wings, jalepeno poppers, nachos, chicken strips and more for $10. She did settle on trying the bar's selection of grilled wings with the Barcardi Honey BBQ sauce and here's where she was sorely disappointed. Though liking that "fall off the bone" effect with the chicken, the plate had a tepid warmth to the touch upon arriving to the bar. There was no smokey smell of the bbq sauce (or any extra sauce and bleu cheese for the veggies) but it did have a slight spicy kick that burned for a couple of minutes in the back of SouthSide's mouth. She did suggest to manager/owner Harial Patel that there should have been fresh veggies and more sauce's a sports bar - come on! Men love sauce on top of sauce when it comes with their wings. And wings are made to be messy, blogspot readers, especially when smothered in some good lip-smacking sauce. Her friend next to her sampled Rookie's nachos and agreed the nachos as well as cheese sauce could have been a litte warmer and spicier.

Another problem SouthSide did find while visiting Rookies was the strange location for the bathrooms. Take the stairs down, they're located in the basement to your right  but the area has a sort of open and unguarded section of the bar where anything or anyone could be lurking unseen because the short hallway isn't well lit. That alone could be a potentially dangerous and security risk for Rookie's patrons if they are not too careful about their surroundings down there. Hopefully, management and staff will correct that by adding more lights and removing the extra chairs cluttering the far wall. Speaking of the staff, SouthSide found them to quite bubbly and cheerful (especially Jessica who was behind the bar that night) and ready to create to your favorite drink concoction or speciality. Tonight's drinks special featured peach / dirty apple shots and Old Style - both for $3. Jokingly, Matthew told SouthSide why many show up at Rookies around the bewitching hour and stay until closing because it's the home of the cheap drinks/beers prices. Fair enough, it's a tough economy ...and even harder on the restaurant/bar industry - so if you want to spend as well as at the same time save money on your bar tab - check out Rookies.

Sports fans should know that Rookie's is home to the Detroit Lions, Ball St and Michigan St. On Sundays, the bar does offer a weekend brunch (11a - 3p) special featuring a Bloody Mary Bar and food and drinks specials all day/night long. Before leaving, SouthSide did briefly talk to Harial if he has thought about hosting live local music since he does have the space and stage for small acoustic or up to trio acts. He did state he would like to have singer/songwriter as well as something classical but it would need to fit and appeal to the particular young crowd (especially during the weekends). He related that when Bruce Springsteen was town performing at Wrigley Field, he wished he had a Bruce Springsteen cover band performing to entertain the crowd inside the bar both nights. Also he disclosed soon Rookie's will be changing it's entrance from its Clark Street side to the corner door that faces Roscoe and that means the stage would be moving too. All of this should be happening within a few weeks, blogspot readers.

For more information, visit

Next - Fatpour Tap Works...

Until next time, support your local bar scene,

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