‘Elmhurst Bigmouth’ checks out Beerhead Bar & Eatery

    'A wall of beer, loads of big flatscreens, lots of bar-tables to lean on, a small stage, good-enough bar food and loud music'

    (Photos by The Elmhurst Bigmouth)

    ELMHURST – Want to know the best thing about the new Beerhead in Elmhurst?

    Like many people in town, I waited anxiously to see what was being developed on the prized corner of First & York in downtown Elmhurst. When I heard it was going to be a beer-soaked party bar chain, I held my breath and hoped for the best.

    Does Elmhurst really need a new bar offering 500 different types of beer? After three visits, I am happy to report that I guess we do.

    The allure of the place is no great mystery. It’s the type of place you know well, even if you haven’t been there yet: A wall of beer, loads of big flatscreens, lots of bar-tables to lean on, a small stage, good-enough bar food and loud music. I can already imagine that this place is going to be packed for football games.

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    As you enter, the place will feel instantly familiar. The walls are littered with the same beer signs and goofy beer photos you’ve seen for years at similar joints. While many new beer-centric spots have adopted the cleaner, modern feel of today’s restaurant/bar scene, the interior décor here feels very 2012 even though it just opened.

    For people who know their beer, the options here are nearly endless. There’s an expansive rack of draft handles and glass coolers full of bottles and cans to fit nearly any taste. On a hot July night, The Bigmouth ordered a “Five Lizards” Tart Agave Summer Wheat Ale that he spied behind the giant glass doors. When the bartender asked if I wanted it “on draft or in a bottle,” I have to admit that I was impressed.

    There is one thing that is notably ridiculous. After spending a few hours in the place with my friends, sipping high-dollar and high-ABV IPAs, Wheats and Pilsners, we ordered some late-night pizzas. At that moment, my perfect accompaniment would have been an ice-cold Coors Light to wash everything down and to lighten me up. But to make some sort of statement, the management has decided not to carry the most popular beers in America. For a place attempting to cater to every taste, it seems like a silly miss.

    But the best thing about Beerhead will let me look past all of that. While many people will marvel at the huge sliding doors on the east side of the restaurant, the true gem is on the south side across from the tracks. They’ve created a broad window-side bar. Not outside tables for seating, just an outside bar. And it’s the most welcoming open window I’ve seen in years. I hope to spend many evenings leaned up against that bar, chatting up the locals strolling around our downtown.

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    The Elmhurst Bigmouth is an anonymous, opinionated food lover who eats at all the best places in town. Comments welcome.