In 2001 the Four Corners Tavern Group began with the acquisition of the Schoolyard Tavern & Grill. The company was founded on four basic principles: creative bar fare, superior service, classic design and a relaxed atmosphere. The vision of Four Corners was (and is) to open an establishment in all of the unique neighborhoods throughout Chicago. The Four Corners Tavern Group includes Brownstone (3937 North Lincoln Avenue), Kirkwood Bar & Grill (2934 North Sheffield Avenue), Gaslight Bar & Grille (2426 North Racine Avenue), WestEnd (1326 West Madison Street), Sidebar Grille (221 North Lasalle Street), Schoolyard Tavern (3258 North Southport Avenue), Benchmark (1510 North Wells Street), and The Crossing (2548 North Southport Avenue).
On Saturday, May 5 I was invited to attend an event at Brownstone to celebrate Derby Day 2011. The event included an all-you-can-eat crawfish buffet (1,000 lbs. flown straight from New Orleans), gumbo, red beans & rice, and cornbread. Drink specials included $5 Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps and Saratoga Sunrises. They also celebrated the Derby throughout the day with contests and giveaways, allowing patrons to vote on each race in order to win gift certificates and cash prizes.
Since my task was to assess the crawfish boil, I dug right in with the other patrons and was impressed by both the quantity of food and the high quality. Chef Javier Avila clearly knows what he is doing, both in the kitchen and out back during a crawfish boil! During my visit, the bar and outside patio were packed with patrons enjoying the seemingly-endless buffet of crawfish and “all the fixin’s” (as we say in the South). Many of the patrons with whom I chatted were regulars from the neighborhood and quite a few told me that they come to almost every special event held by the bar.
Brownstone is very unique in design but shares all of the same guiding principles with its sister bars, particularly the philosophy that great food coupled with a friendly, attentive and a wholly unpretentious staff will result in a very positive and powerful relationship with the neighborhood. Also similar to its sister bars, the Brownstone attends to all age groups throughout the business day and is very family-friendly.
It is very important to note that while the Brownstone does show all of the sporting events it is able to given its 14 large format LCD TVs – including football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey (as available), the Brownstone is wholeheartedly a Big 12 and University of Texas sports bar!
This was my first visit to Brownstone and will hopefully not be my last! Even though this is clearly a neighborhood bar, it’s one that should be on your bucket list of ‘sports bars to visit’ in Chicago. The staff is welcoming and attentive, the food is excellent, the drink specials are plentiful, and the clientele is laid-back and friendly.