I'm really starting to like Elmhurst, IL when I go into Chicago. It has kind of a small town feel to it, but it's smack dab in the middle of the Chicagoland metro area. There's a number of good places to eat and drink in Elmhurst. And a place that I have known about for a long time, but never visited until recently, is the Arena Sports Grille on Lake Ave. (see map).
From the outside, the Arena doesn't look that big. There's been tons of cars in the lot every time I've gone by, but this one time I decided to go in and have a beer and a sandwich and check the place out.
I found that it's a lot larger on the inside than it appears from outside. They have nearly 50 televisions throughout the place, a pretty good menu featuring the usual sports bar fare - wings, burgers, sandwiches, etc. - and they also have a selection of steak, seafood, and chicken.
Arena Sports Grille has a pretty good variety of beers to choose from. Except this has to be the only bar in the Chicago area that does not serve Anheuser-Busch products. That's right, no Bud Light, no Budweiser, no Michelob. Nothing at all from A-B. I just thought that to be very strange.
The Arena features a series of bar and food specials through the week. They have a large are full of pool tables. And they carry virtually all of the sports packages shown on satellite television today.
When I was in Chicago recently, I'd had a long day and decided to stop into the Arena to get some dinner and catch some basketball on television. I sat at the bar and ordered up a beer and a menu. Unfortunately, the music was so loud in the bar it was almost unbearable to sit in the place. Thankfully, they were playing classic rock tunes and not hip-hop.
But there was a lot of basketball on. College games, pro games - there had to be 15 to 20 different games on. But one of the other problems I had was that I was close to a Duke supporter. He was obnoxiously loud as he was cheering the Blue Devils on against North Carolina. He got so bad that one of the floor managers had to come over to settle him down. Thankfully, he moved to another area of the bar soon after that.
I had hoped to get the roast pork dinner special that night, but the bartender informed me that the specials only went to 8 p.m. (it was about 8:15 when I got in there). So I ended up ordering a Prime Rib French Dip sandwich with cottage cheese.
It wasn't bad. In fact, it was pretty good. I didn't care for the grilled onions on the sandwich, nor the creamy horseradish they served with it. But the meat was flavorful and tender, and the bun didn't over-power the taste of the meat.
Other than the music being too loud in the place, and the obnoxious Duke fan that was seated near me for a short while, the Arena Sports Grille is everything one would be looking for in a sports bar. Good selections of food, beer, and viewing choices. And when you get tired of watching the game, you can always challenge your friends to a game of pool. It's one of the nicer sports bars I've been in.