Champaign, IL 61820
Parking: Street Parking and Nearby Lots
Time: All the time
Drink Deals: Various Daily Specials
I love a nice-size college town where the college adds some culture, but isn’t the town’s only culture (as was the case at JG’s and my alma mater where the 35,000 student body was the lifeblood for the 15,000 person town). Given my preferences here, I’ve always liked the Champaign-Urbana area, home to the University of Illinois.
Luckily while at my college, I met a great friend who we’ll just call Marva (since that’s what I call her!) who lives in the Champaign area, and I’m always happy to visit with her when I make my way to IL. After a delicious vegan lunch (Marva’s vegan ways are quite inspiring!) and late afternoon cocktails made with drunk watermelon (watermelon soaked in watermelon-vodka – wowee!), we headed to downtown Champaign to visit Seven Saints, a local gastropub w/ elevated bar-food (I just love the word elevated in these circumstances!).
Known for its wide selection of every kind of liquor including several pages of whiskey options, Seven Saints’ daily special on this Tuesday was $2 Smuttynose Brewing Company’s Pale Ale. I was in a beer mood, but instead opted for Marva’s choice and was glad I did –the $5 bottle of Éphémère Beer was a perfect summer selection with hints of crisp green apple cider and some nuttiness to boot. Tres impressed! My second choice was all right too, not as tasty as the Éphémère , but nice and fruity – a $3.50 bottle of Apricot Pyramid.
For food, we went with the 7 Sinners Crowd Pleaser Platter w/ a very healthy fried selection of Cheese Curds, Portobello Mushrooms, and Onion Rings served with Marinara Sauce and Ranch dressing. The fried goods hit the spot, though a nice side of carrots and celery might have upped the health quotient :).
7 Sinners Crowd Pleasing Platter ($8.99) - Cheese Curds, Portobello Mushrooms, and Onion Rings - served w/ Marina and Ranch
So good drink options, good food – all good; the scene was also very cool with dark wood decor and arches that reminded me of LA’s Villains Tavern. The bar was also hopping though seats were easy to find and I very much enjoyed the soundtrack- a little Sam Cooke, Jackson 5, and even a bit of Elvis (don’t you step on my Blue Suede Shoes!).
Overall – great non-Happy Hour, Happy Hour experience!
Rating: 4.5 Martinis