The WestEnd Bar & Grill lives for game day. What game? Doesn't matter. With 32 high-definition televisions, this West Town spot has more flat screens than a hardware store garden center, meaning you can catch any game, any time.
WestEnd keeps with the theme of classy-casual sports bar maintained by the Four Corners Tavern Group, which owns places such as the Brownstone, Kirkwood and Sidebar. Certainly, people do head there just to hang out, but with some booths boasting personal TVs, the majority of patrons likely will be here to watch something.
A three-sided beast of a bar dominates the main room, a large space that's reservable for parties up to 300. The interior consists of dark wood and bricks, with light fixtures casting a muted glow. WestEnd's crew members are friendly and dressed casually, making it seem like an accessible place. The bartenders and doorman are pleasant to chat with, so you can find good company even if you head there solo. However, WestEnd caters to pairs and groups. It can be busy even on weeknights, with a crowd that mirrors its up-and-coming surroundings: young, diverse and professional. Blackberrys aren't required to get in, but you could be forgiven for thinking so.
In keeping with that clientele, the menu prices aren't cheap. A pint of 312 is $5, and it's hard to find a meal less than $7. Burgers, though tasty, start at $8, and most other entrees will run through the mid-teens. There's a healthy variety of drinks (12 on tap, about 28 in the bottle), and the portions are sleep-inducing substantial. But whether all this is worth the cost is up for debate. In addition to the bar food available at its sister spots, WestEnd has a pizza menu. There are also kids' meals, but take note that minors aren't allowed after 8 p.m.
The competition on that stretch of Madison is sparse, so West End could become a top hangout for crowds heading to and from the United Center, whose roof crest is just visible down the street.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kent Green