Visited on Thursday, February 21st, 2008 with Rett and Becky.
We got to the 331 Club around 8pm and the place was nearly empty, except for a couple at a table and some people at the bar. I liked the style of booths they had, they were the half circle style that you can fit six people.
There was no pretense of getting service at the table, as the place card clearly said “Come to the bar for service” next to the list of sandwiches and wines. 331 Club doesn’t have a huge amount of beers on tap (6 I think?) but they had the right beers:
Their menu is small, they have about six sandwiches you can order that come with kettle chips. Erin and I both tried to order the 331 Club sandwich, but they were all out?? I’m not sure how you can be “out” of a sandwich, but whatever. I opted for the patty melt instead, and it didn’t disappoint.
Around 9 o’clock the band started playing. The volume was set to 11 which meant that the conversation was effectively over, for me at least. The first song wasn’t very good, so I was mostly annoyed. The band consisted of a guitar player and a drummer, like the Black Keys, and their second song sounded like them as well, it was awesome. I went to the bar to get another beer during the second song and I noticed that the guitar player was wearing a Chicago Bulls t-shirt from their 1993 championship season…………sweet.
I think I’m going to rate the places we go on several different categories:
- Service – I liked that there was specific mention to go to the bar, but nothing to set them apart.
- Food – The menu was small but the food tasted great.
- Drinks – Great tap selection, and plenty of liquor to choose from
- Ambiance – I hate loud bands, if I want a concert, I’ll go to a concert. They also had a DJ later on, also loud.
- Price – We were there on a Thursday, so it was $1 off taps until 10 ($4.25 normal price) so the price was simply “ok”
- Convenience – Plenty of tables available and ample on-street parking.
I really enjoyed this bar. I have yet to go to a bar in NE that I haven’t liked, with the notable exception of Gasthof’s. My hatred of that bar runs deep and may merit an entire post later. We’ll see.
Like Ben, I was disappointed at the lack of the 331 Club Sandwich. Whenever a place is out of their signature item, it can’t be a good sign. I think at some point this place must have a more extensive menu (which can be seen on their website) than what was offered when we were there, but I’m not sure when that is. Perhaps one of our loyal readers can weigh in on this point.
I ended up getting the ham and cheddar instead of the club, and it was very tasty. Sometimes I do not like melted cheddar cheese because it doesn’t melt very well and I feel it loses its flavor in the melting process, but this was a delicious cheese. The ham was not too thick or thin, and the bread was nicely toasted. This sandwich came with chips and a pickle and there were a good amount of chips. I prefer chips with ruffles, but these were okay, I guess.
I was disappointed that they did not have my favorite beer, Miller Lite, on tap. I had to make due with Grain Belt, which tasted better than I remember. The last time I had Grain Belt I thought it smelled really disgusting, but this time I didn’t notice that.
The décor of this bar was so-so – I liked the pressed tin ceiling, and the chalkboard menu, but I thought it could have had some artwork on the walls or something to give it a little more pizzazz.
As for the price, I thought the food was overpriced but the drinks were a good value. My ham & cheddar was $6.75, which seems to me to be quite a rip off. For that price, I think it should have come with French fries or some other side dish besides crappy chips. A more appropriate price for this meal at this location would be $5.
I usually am not a huge fan of live music. I almost always would rather just sit in my living room listening to music where I can sing along at top volume without anyone judging me. This band was actually pretty good, although a little too loud given the fact that there were approximately 10 people in the bar. The singer was especially good. All 4 of us agreed that she would definitely make it to the top 12 of American Idol if given the chance. Also, in case you couldn’t tell from Ben’s slightly confusing review of the music above, he DID enjoy the band a lot, which was made apparent by the fact that he said “these guys are awesome” several times throughout the night.
Total Price (incl. tip) for 2 sandwiches, 1 cosmopolitan, and 5 beers: $38 and No cover charge for music ever (but they do come around asking for donations for the band if you so choose).
Recommended for a casual night out with friends.