What’s the best bar in Rockford?

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – When it comes to winding down and unwinding at the end of a long day, one of the best places to do it is at a local bar.

There’s no shortage of places to drink in the country, as there were around 62,600 registered bars in the United States in 2019, according to Statistica. With so many places to grab a pint, people have a choice of where to get a pint. However, like most things, some places are better than others.

Find below a list of some of the best bars in Rockford, according to Yelp.

  1. Prairie Street Brewing Company, 200 Prairie Street: Those looking for craft beer and food should look no further. Opened in 2013, the Prairie Street Brewing Company offers two floors with plenty of beer for everyone. With 14 taps upstairs and 24 downstairs, Prairie Street is sure to have a drink for every palate. Residents looking for something other than beer shouldn’t be afraid though, as there’s a full bar so non-beer drinkers can get a tasty mixed drink. Beer menus constantly change with the seasons and are created in tandem to ensure the best taste. Katie N. said in her Yelp review that Prairie Street has a “cool space and great service! Came here with a group of 6. Most of us tried their beer and it was good that they had such a variety. Light, hoppy, sour, lager, we all enjoyed what we ordered. It was a beautiful building on the waterfront. I would come back and try others!”
  2. Rural On Tap, 1710 Rural St.: First opened in 2014, Rural On Tap is described as having been started by a “small group of older neighbors who thought it would bring a lot of noise and craziness, tried to shut it down. However, the majority of the neighborhood wanted a great friendly bar,” according to owner Nick F. Specializing in craft beers and customer service, Rural is a great place to kick back and relax with a cold drink and good friends. . Although they don’t offer food, customers can order from Primo’s and Lydia’s next door. They also offer special events like live music, trivia nights, and bar bingo every week. In her Yelp review, Hannah G. said Rural has a “really good list of bottles and cans, and their drafts change frequently. Definitely stop by during happy hour, weekdays from 4 to 6, to get the best deals. I enjoy their loyalty program and promotions, on Thursdays you can get a free pizza at Primo’s next door! The atmosphere is really cool. You can hear the person next to you, but it’s never bothersome either. The place is always clean and very neat. My server of choice is Rebecca, she always makes me feel at home and even recommends beers she thinks I would like. If you like craft beer, this place is a must in Rockford.”
  3. Tavern on Clark, 755 Clark Drive: Tavern on Clark promises a “one of a kind” experience in Rockford. The goal was to bring back the look of a classic neighborhood tavern, and they certainly delivered. With modern amenities and a friendly, welcoming old tavern, Tavern is a great place to feel transported back in time. Offering over 60 craft beers and a 16-glass Wine Cruvinet for those unsure, this bar is a good all-around bar for those who want that classic feel. If that’s not enough, Tavern on Clark was recently voted the best steakhouse and pub in the Rockford area by TripAdvisor. Devinee D. said in her Yelp review that “I have to say the name is misleading. I hear “tavern” and I think of mediocre sandwiches and hamburgers with lots of frying… I ordered the sea scallops. Let me tell you, there aren’t many dishes I tell everyone about. These scallops I told everyone! Anyone who wanted to listen to me talked to me about scallops and for weeks. They were cooked to absolute perfection, with the perfect amount of citrus and butter. Don’t ask me what the sides were because it didn’t matter. The entrance was the star of the show as it should be. I’m dreaming and craving those scallops and can’t wait to go back.”
  4. The Office Niteclub, 513 E State St: First opened in 1956, The Office Niteclub is Rockford’s oldest nightclub. It’s also one of the oldest alternative lifestyle venues in the country, according to their website. The bar describes itself as a “queer space”, which means everyone is welcomed and included. With an open and welcoming atmosphere, The Office not only offers drinks, but everything residents could want to get their bar fix. From the dance floor to the darts board, pool, gaming machines and outdoor patio, The Office is a wonderful space for people looking to relax or party the night away. The nightclub brings in top DJs every Friday and Saturday night to throw a party with live entertainment and great sound and lighting systems. In his Yelp review, Paul R. said, “The bar is great. There are 2 floors at The Office Night Club. The ground floor has the dance floor and towards the front is where you get your drinks. There are a variety of people who frequent this gay club from different age groups starting from 21 years old. Oh may I add that there is a social area outside where you can smoke if you wish. The owners are great! Very friendly and accommodating. The bartenders are also friendly and very efficient and quick when it comes to serving drinks. The atmosphere is very nice and the people who come here are friendly people. So if you want a drink or a show in the upstairs lounge, look no further than The Office Niteclub.”
  5. The Detour, 1920 E Riverside Blvd: The Detour Bar & Grill offers burgers and beers in a relaxed atmosphere. With happy hour from 3-5pm on weekdays, residents can pop in and grab a tasty drink on the cheap, in addition to Detour’s daily specials. In addition to tasty burgers and sandwiches, customers can feast on a wide range of entrees, homemade mac and cheese and chili. Mitch J. said, “How did I live in Rockford for years and never hear of this place?! It’s a hidden gem. There are a lot of things for this place. It may be small, but it’s mighty. A very long beer list, great whiskey options and a full bar to get you started. The food is good and they organize specials of the day… The biggest advantage of this place is the value for money. Most menu options are under $10 (and that’s not even with the daily special discounts applied) and worth every penny.”

About James K. Bonnette

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