In the heart of Old Town, this unofficial headquarters for Southern Illinois University alums is decorated with spirited memorabilia like SIU-centric newspaper clippings and student ID cards. The bar takes its name from SIU's mascot, a freaky looking dog with roots dating back to Jericho, 6500 BC, who is alternately known as "El Hor" (the noble one). It's a name that this beloved neighborhood tavern easily lives up to.
Tickled with plenty of televisions, Saluki makes a great hangout for downing a few beers and taking in a game, but be sure to check out the bar menu. Greasy nibbles like chicken tenders and nachos are available, but those with loftier tastes might want to start with the baked brie, seared scallops or fresh bruschetta. Entrees include classics like burgers and steak sandwiches, but more substantial options abound; chicken etoufee, Irish beef stew and an inspired braised lamb shank in red wine sauce eliminate the stigma of pub grub. While some of the steak options can get a little rough on the wallet, the average price of entrees stays in the $8-$15 range. The best part? Food is served all the way up until closing time.
Originally located on Ohio Street, this bar opened in 1989, moving to its current location on the gilded streets of Old Town in 2003. Brought to you by the folks behind Dublin's and Bijan's Bistro, Saluki has has no trouble garnering a warm and loyal following in its Old Town location.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: K. Tighe