Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Few Reasons Why The Attic Is A Great Place

The Attic, located on the eastside at 41st and Sycamore is coming up on its second year anniversay. I can barely wait for the Second Annual Jackass Roundup!

The Attic has been a great addition to the eastside, which was facing a serious watering hole deficit after Boomer's closed. Major bummer. I still miss Boomer's. Making a quick run to Hy Vee for "groceries" just hasn't been the same since. I guess there is always Cherry Creek and Dean-Os, but the Attic offers a less-restauranty feel than Cherry Creek and more than a video lottery joint feel that Dean-Os. Its also bigger than Stubbies, which, ironically, is kind of a family bar. (I'm not kidding- check the place out on any Friday night during youth football season.)

So, what's good about the Attic? Let's run down a few points.

  • Fairly nice atmosphere. The inside of the Attic isn't the Polo Club, but then it isn't like a concrete bunker (Lie-brary), either. The decor is meant to look like, well, an Attic, I guess. The walls are dark and done in numerous different textures. If you are thinking about going funky finish on some walls in your house, come check it out. There are open beams and dyed concrete floors with impressions of tools and other interesting items. Hanging from the ceiling are a few remnants of holiday decorations ranging from one remaining Christmas tree to some Halloween decorations. You have to check the place out during the holidays and see the Christmas trees hanging upside down from the ceiling. It's really kind of cool. The Attic also tries to divide the place, literally right down the middle, between more-sit down tables and the higher ones generally found in sports-bar type places. Arguably, if you are inclined to bring the kids, and plenty of people do, you can sit at a more restaurant-like table than a bar-like table. There is even an outdoor patio area.

  • Good food. The Attic has a great selection of bar food fare, accented with some more sit-down kind of offerings like steaks or pork chops. On the menu, you will find plenty of appetizer selections including chislic (good stuff) and a platter of nachos that would feed a family of 8. In addition to burgers (which are really good when you need that Jimmy Buffet fix) there are also fairly creative and original sandwiches. One interesting item on the former menu was the Prairie Chicken- a piece of fry bread (think Indian taco) topped with sliced grilled chicken breast, lettuce, ranch sauce, and guacamole. On the new menu there is a sandwich consisting of an Italian sausage patty topped with cheese, peppers, onions, and a mustard sauce. It's good, but plan on dropping a few Zantac. As sides, you can get fries, horseradish mashed potatoes, waffle fries, ranch fries (cubed potatoes sprinkled with ranch), potato salad, etc. There is also a nice offering of salads, soup and chili. And, if you missed the hint, they change the menu a little now and then- always good to keep it fresh.

  • Reasonably-priced, quality adult beverages. Does this need an explanation? Go to happy hour with your pals. Drink several rounds. Giggle when you get the check. If you like beer, you'll also appreciate the extreme cold of a frosty mug. You might not get one of these if the place is busy, but they are super nice. If you ever drank at a place in Vermillion called Friday's, back in the good old 3.2 beer days, an Attic frosty mug will bring back some memories, or at least a flashback. Like the sign at Famous Dave's says, "Tooth Crackin' Cold Beer."

  • Plenty of electronic diversions. If sitting around drinking and eating isn't enough stimulation for you, the Attic offers two pool tables, two dart boards, a Golden Tee game, a Big Game Hunter video game, various televisions, and a great "juke box." Video lottery is in a completely separate space, physically separated from the main bar and dining area. I've literally never been in there. I doubt the players mind the relative isolation and I know it sure doesn't bother me.

  • Great Staff. Over the last few years, there has been a little staff turnover at the Attic. Fortunately, some of the very best are still there. (A few are going to need a little more training to meet the caliber of the vetrans.) Treat these folks right and they will make sure your needs are definitely met, if not anticipated.

  • Fun Special Events. About twice a month, the Attic tries to have some sort of special event. In December, it was an ugly Christmas sweater party. In January, a Snuggie part. There is also a special birthday night to celebrate all the birthdays of that month. Also watch for special events in the fall and summer, like the Annual Jackass Roundup, when you might get to enjoy a live band in the side lot under a tent.

If there is one drawback to the Attic, it's got to be the general smokiness of the place. If it's not too busy, and someone isn't chain smoking right next to your table, it's not too bad. Even if it's busy, it's relatively good if half the place isn't puffing away. Nevertheless, there are times when I swear it gets as bad as places where you expect to be overwhelmed. I also swear there are smoke epicenters in the place. I was once in there chatting with a friend and about 12 feet away sat an older woman (hell, she could have been 35, but looked 60- smoking will do that to you) and from the smell and general disgust, you'd have thought you were sitting on her lap. YUCK.

I understand Attic management considered voluntarily putting the ki-bosh on smoking around the time the ban became effective (and then referred) but opted not to do so. I can understand that, but WHEN the voters finally enact the long-overdue ban on indoor smoking, the Attic is going to be among the very top tiers of fun hang-out places in Sioux Falls.