It's hard to describe Cocodrilos Grill without mentioning what it used to be or what it's going to become. Change is afoot as it transitions from a Mexican restaurant to a rock-and-roll bar in an attempt to draw nearby West Towners
to this desolate stretch of Grand Avenue.
The current larval stage bears a strong resemblance to its previous incarnation. The decor is unremarkable, and the large, carpeted, table-filled back room refuses to let go of its dining room past - although a revamping, including the addition of a pool table, is on the to-do list. And if the furniture and room set-up don't tip you off to the pub's history, the beer sure will, as the all-bottle list is still dominated by south-of-the-border brews.
But if you can get past the schizophrenic environs, there are some good points. The beer selection might not be great, but all of them are a mere $3, and if you hold tight, more options, including some microbrews, are on the way (unfortunately, there are no plans to install any draft beer). There's also wine by the glass for $5, as well as a full bar. The menu, now middle-of-the-road pub grub dominated by sandwiches, is nothing to write home about, but Cocodrilos is worth coming to for the free popcorn alone. Buttered, covered in a mole-flavored spice mixture and - wait for it! - mixed with pieces of bacon, this ultra-savory snack is addictive.
Playing Lewis and Clark to the area means the place isn't crowded, which is especially nice because you can snag a table in the covered outdoor area (which, thankfully, is on Wood Street). And if you're a Bears fan, swing by on Sundays when the three flat-screen TVs are augmented by a drop-down projection screen.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough