Formerly the Black Beetle Bar and Grill, this Humboldt Park pub has changed owners and, to the delight of neighborhood regulars, not a whole lot else. That's not surprising given the familial nature of the transaction: the new owner used to manage Northside Bar and Grill
, which, along with Logan Bar and Grill
, is still operated by the former Black Beetle owners.
Besides the name, the most conspicuous change is the menu, which, while still bar food, now has more, and more interesting, options. Pan pizzas and burgers dominate. Pizza options are middle-of-the-road, although care has been taken with the details, like a mushroom pizza that includes multiple cheeses and a variety of mushrooms.
Items from the burger section are more likely to catch your eye, though, with choices like the Trucker (smoked bacon and a fried egg), the Black and Bleu (bacon, caramelized onions and bleu cheese) and the Elvis (bacon, peanut butter and fried plantains). Salads and sandwiches, along with weekday lunch hours, are soon to make an appearance, and there's brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. The best part is that it's easy on the wallet: virtually everything is $10 or less.
Aside from all that, the place is still the good neighborhood watering hole it was before. The design is simple, with exposed brick and wood tables, and despite windows lining the front and reasonably high ceilings, the bar maintains a properly dark, almost cave-like feel (although, with its cleanliness, it doesn't resemble a dive). There is a trio of TVs, but the entertainment at the Beetle comes from the pool table that sits on the other side of a brick wall from the bar, the rock music and conversation with your fellow drinkers and friendly bartenders.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough