Forget jerseys as décor and the stale whiff of Bud. You can thank the guys behind the Four Corners Tavern Group (Schoolyard, Brownstone, Gaslight, Sidebar, and Kirkwood) for WestEnd (1326 W. Madison St.), the sixth spot in the team’s collection of newfangled sports bars.
Opened in October near the United Center, the polished 5,000-square-foot ode to alcohol and athletics offers countless plasmas (OK, 33 to be exact), imported and domestic drafts, and a menu (think boneless Buffalo wings) that will put your favorite college haunt to shame; and there’s even a stone-fired pizza kitchen churning out thin-crust pies.
In part for the pizza, in part for the proximity, WestEnd is quickly becoming a top pre- and post-Bulls destination, but the bar’s basic formula is the same as at the other Four Corners hangs: Cater to the neighborhood clientele and deliver consistent service. We first stopped by the night of the Bulls’ home opener, when the bar had been in business only a few weeks, and the place was already packed with wall-to-wall 30-somethings. Which leads us to offer one warning: On game or concert nights, prepare to wait for a table or jockey for position at the bar, which dominates the front room. If you’re lucky, you’ll score one of the three booths outfitted with two 19-inch flat-panel plasmas—because who watches one game at a time these days?
Since they’ve got multitasking down, the Four Corners guys have just one thing left to do: open a location in white-hot River North. Word is they’re planning another new spot this year. We’ll don our lucky socks and keep our fingers crossed.
Photography: Chris Guillen