Don Bauder 6:45 p.m., April 17
Checking out the Heights Tavern
Normal Heights gets its very own giant sports bar/nightclub.
Man, I am hitting all the spots right now! I had to poke my head inside the new Heights Tavern on Adams Avenue to see what kind of a place it’s turned out to be. Construction seemed to go on forever and there wasn’t the usual buzz and excitement about a new place opening up, maybe because the underwhelming Soda and Swine down the street commanded all the hype in the universe? For whatever reason, I feel like Heights Tavern opened without fanfare. One day, the doors were open and people were on the patio.
At first glance, it’s tempting to say the Tavern’s style is pilfered from Blind Lady, which is practically across the street, but the resemblance is superficial at best. True, both spots make use of wood and a vaguely “rustic” style, but Heights Tavern has a wide-open, almost cavernous aesthetic that makes it look more like a plainer True North....
Hey, wait a second. It totally is another True North! Some hasty Googling brings up their identical websites, little star logo and everything. Check me out; Inspector Closeau up in here!
Anyways, the theme is definitely more sports bar than beer hall, which might honestly interest a segment of the population. Heights Tavern makes some concession to the whole “craft beer and cocktails” zeitgeist, but it’s more of a gesture and less of a commitment. Anybody who’s committed to sniffing hops and eating locally grown veggies should stick with BLAH. The crowd’s a little more rambunctious at Heights, too. There’s a higher complement of young, single people wearing perfume and designer shirts. Sooner or later, someone's going to utter the phrase, "come at me, bro!" if things get feisty.
Some places have their game on lockdown when they open up, others don’t. I don’t think Heights Tavern does, so I don’t feel like delivering a binding verdict on the food. The food’s not going to blow any minds, that’s for sure. Very standard fare of burgers and fries. Football food, if you will. I tried the house special cheeseburger, a solid half-pound of burger meat with lettuce, tomatoes, and some Russian dressing. Not bad, not great. For $11, I can’t really complain. The sweet potato fries were a mite greasy and underfried. I suspect someone in the kitchen needs to turn the heat up on the fryer. If I had to make a suggestion, it would be to include more of the pickled green beans that came on the side.
Some people might have been bugging out about Heights Tavern creeping in on Blind Lady’s territory, but I don’t think that’s a valid concern. It’s a totally different scene. Not mine, per se, but Normal Heights didn’t really have a club. Now it does. At least sort of.
3377 Adams Avenue