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UPTOWN CHICAGO COMMISSION

Uptown in the News  

August 25, 2004
Metromix.com
Sporty spice
Baseball, beer and boys mix it up at Uptown's newest bar
By Amina Akhtar, Nightlife Producer


Can a gay sports bar in Uptown attract a crowd? Judging from Crew, totally. The new spot caters to athletic aficionados who enjoy swimmers in Speedos almost as much as the sport itself.

Inside: A sports joint has never been this polished. The black lacquered bar top and metallic DJ booth mix with wood and glass trophy cases and scores of TV sets (four giant screens and 12 smaller sets). The walls are muted shades of gray and navy, with jerseys and memorabilia adorning the wall. Vases of flowers (artfully arranged, of course) dot the bar, reminding you this ain't your usual sports bar. The beer fridges are lit in neon blue and a smaller bar in the back serves up cocktails when it's not closed for private parties. The glass case along the wall houses sporty-themed chotchkes-- like swimsuits (male and female), trophies, bowling pins and skis, to name a few.

The Crowd: Whatever your expectations are for this place, forget 'em. At first glance, this male-heavy hang looks like any other sports bar, albeit a touch swankier. The guys were decked out in shorts, t-shirts, and even jerseys and caps. The ladies opted for mostly jeans and tops. Nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, but all very tastefully done.

Service: Has there ever been a cuter or nicer staff? The bartenders, bar backs, door guy and just about everyone who works here is sweet as pie, and just as good to look at. They may have laid-back attitudes but they're still attentive. It will take you at least 10 minutes to order a drink during rush hour, but otherwise, you'll be tipping big and loving every minute of it.

Drinks: With its brand spanking new liquor license, Crew's dishing up beer, beer and more beer. The place boasts 40-plus brews ($3.75-$6.25) plus a menu of martinis ($10-14) and the slightly frightening Beergarita ($6), a bizarre mix of Budweiser and tequila that bartenders describe as "what would happen if a margarita and beer had sex."

Menu: Forget about Atkins and any other diet you're trying. The grub is typical bar fare but with a slightly nicer twist--artichoke asiago fondue $6.50), Santa Fe egg rolls ($6.50)--think mini burritos--and the mouthwatering double-fisted burger ($6.75).

Sounds: We love the DJ. Really, we do. Where else can we hear classic rock mixed with Cher mixed with dance beats? The mix may sound a bit odd but it works in a place that's got a little something for everyone.

Bottom line: While definitely aimed at a gay clientele, any sports fan with more discerning taste would feel right at home here. We're curious to see how the crowd and food evolves as time goes on, but Crew seems to have scored a home run.










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