By SHARON COMER BLAU
Special to the Journal
Bub City/Joe’s Live in Rosemont is a little taste of the south, tucked inside Rosemont.
“Southern hospitality with Southern food” is how Eric Rose, a partner with Lettuce Entertain You, describes his restaurant.
The restaurant opened in 2015 with year-round Christmas lights on the ceiling, rustic hardwood floors, upbeat country music and two massive bars that flank the walls.
On the right side of the entrance is an impressive Whiskey Bar that showcases over 150 selections of American-style barley, rye and single malts. Whiskey offerings range from local distilleries to hard-to-find treasures. Plus, Bub City sells their own branded whiskey, so you know they are serious about the spirit.
The bar also offers over 20 drafts and a large selection of domestic bottle beers along with southern-style cocktails.
My dining partner and I shared several dishes since the portions are very generous.
We started with fried pickles and a homemade dipping sauce. The pickles were hand cut, thick-style then fried to a crunchy finish. The dipping sauce added an extra tangy flavor.
Afterwards, we tried the hearty Giddy Up Fries, a generous portion of waffle fries piled high with nacho cheese, tomatoes, scallions, jalapenos, pulled pork and a sweet bar-b-que sauce. It was a meal itself.
We then opted for the two-meat combo of K.C. Burnt Ends, brisket, two side orders of mac-n-cheese and tater tots. It arrived with a spicy pimento cheese, cornbread, pickles and slaw with some serious kick. The burnt ends seasoned with a dry rub and cooked to crispy finish gave the little bites of beef a nice flavor.
The brisket had the same dry rub, but was tender and extremely flavorful. The mac-n-cheese was extremely creamy and tater tots are truly “old school” delicious.
We also shared the Friday Night Fish Fry, two large pieces of cod fried with a firm center.
After dinner, we were escorted through the kitchen to the indoor entrance at Joe’s Live. All diners with tickets to the night’s entertainment are given this unique access, which allows them to cut in front of the line outside.
Joe’s Live is a music venue that can accommodate more than 2,000 guests. When you walk into the hall, you see the stage and dance floor, along with three bars. The VIP area is upstairs with plenty of leather couches and two additional bars. Three private suites are also on this floor.
The night we visited, Carly Pearce was the opening act for Brett Young. While the performance was amazing, what really mattered was the acoustics. The venue was large enough for the sold-out crowd to fit comfortably and the acoustics made every note audible.
Joe’s Live knows how to cater to their patrons and performers. It was named Nightclub of the Year for 2017 and Ed Wager, the employee responsible for booking shows, was named Talent Buyer of the Year for 2017. These are awards from the Academy of Country Music.
When the show ends at Joe’s Live, a large garage door opens and invites the entire audience back to Bub City were the music continues on their stage. This is a great option for a drink after the show.
The entire evening we were at Bub City and Joe’s Live we never bothered with the long lines or the weather. Both venues work seamlessly together. This is a great option to remember on upcoming cold nights or steamy summer evenings.
Bub City is located at 5441 Park Pl. in Rosemont. Reservations are strongly encouraged on weeknights and when there is a performance at Joe’s. Reservations are accepted through opentable.com, bub-city.com and 847-261-0399.