UNIVERSITY VILLAGE — A former "Bachelorette" contestant is bringing his Virginia-based sports bar to Chicago, with the first location open now in University Village.
Bracket Room Sports Lounge and Eatery had its soft opening in mid-August at 1315 S. Halsted St., with plans for a grand kickoff party Sept. 9.
"We are in the perfect location to embrace [UIC] as well as the neighboring businesses, residents and community," said Chris Bukowski, Bracket Room's founder and former reality TV star. "Our food and drink menu will be approachable yet interesting, with a variety of options."
With more than 50 televisions and an high-definition projection screen, Bracket Room will be a likely fit for fantasy football leagues and sports fans.
Located between the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum and the school's athletic center, the sports bar is perfectly situated to draw in hungry college students with sumptuous bar food like smoked gouda macaroni-and-cheese and buttermilk fried chicken and waffles.
Bracket Room has 50 televisions at its first Chicago location in University Village. [Provided/Bracket Room]
Looking to snack? Four words: Philly cheese steak egg rolls.
The menu is designed with the budget conscious in mind, grouped in price ranges rather than courses. On the pricier end, there's rosemary-marinated lamb lollipops ($20.80), a New England crab cake sandwich ($18.80) and St. Louis-style barbecue ribs ($18.80).
More affordable options include spinach and artichoke dip with house-made flatbread ($8.80) and fish and chips ($11.80).
The $10.80 burger can be made with angus, turkey or veggie patties, bacon, eggs, onions, mushrooms and a brioche or pretzel bun. [Provided/Bracket Room]
Bukowski is from Chicago and lived in River North when he first appeared on Season 8 of "The Bachelorette" and made it to fourth place. He and Sarah Newlon were the runners-up on "the third season of "Bachelor Pad," where former show contestants date and compete in an elimination-style game for a chance at $250,000.
But after a second season on "Bachelor in Paradise," Bukowski announced his retirement from reality television, at which point he had moved to the Washington, D.C. area and opened Bracket Room.
A 2013 Washington Post review of the first Bracket Room praised the bar's flattering decor and unobstructed views of televised games.
Critics noted that the bar did attract a higher that usual female-to-male ratio (perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of Bukowski?) in what was originally promoted as a "female friendly" sports lounge with a healthier menu and Skinny Girl wine.
Bracket Room is an upscale sports lounge and eatery now open in University Village. [Provided/Bracket Room]
Although Skinny Girl doesn't appear on the current menu, there are 40 draft beers and a variety of local craft beers. There are almost a dozen cocktails that cost $10.80 to $13.80 and 20 wines, including two Ace of Spades bottles that cost $500 and $700 each.
A VIP area will offer bottle service, and Bracket Room will have regular late-night entertainment and live music along with lunch, weekend brunch and a weekday happy hour from 4-7 p.m.
Bracket Room Chicago is open from 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Mondays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Sundays.