Being a relatively new Crystal Lake resident, I'd heard a lot of things about Fire Bar & Grill.
None of them were really good. But after having a late dinner there Friday night, I'm not sure what all the negativity was about.
As a former server at a bustling sports bar, it felt a little like home. It's spacious and dark, with flat-screen TVs, Big Buck Hunter Pro and plenty of pool tables in the back.
The vibe there felt more bar than restaurant, but the food tasted great.
A group of co-workers and I ordered from a very pleasant server, who gave helpful suggestions to the half of us who are vegetarian. The menu had tons of stuff: sandwiches, wraps, appetizers, salads and more.
One friend ordered the spinach-artichoke dip and chips and said it was tasty and filling enough as an entree. A couple others ordered different sandwiches and quesadillas, also giving nods of approval. Meanwhile, I ordered the buffalo chicken wrap, and my only complaint was the sauce was medium or hotter, when I thought it was mild (I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to heat). But the steak fries were so fresh; the best I've ever eaten.
We also had a few rounds of beer and other drinks, all decently priced.
Surprisingly, we saw a few families with kids later on around 9 p.m. Probably for the game machines and food, but again, it's a little bit more on the bar side. One cool thing I noticed was a sign for free pool between noon and 5 p.m. every day.
They also have karaoke on Tuesdays, live bands on Thursdays and a guest DJ spinning on Friday and Saturday nights. Sundays are typically devoted to NFL games, with prizes and giveaways.
I think the group of us would definitely go back, probably for the drink specials and the atmosphere. It's somewhat hard to find a variety of late-night hangouts in McHenry County -- outside of your corner pub -- but I'll be adding this to my list.