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Golden Horseshoe Awards, round one

Thursday, Dec 5, 2013

* Keep in mind that it’s very important to explain your votes. The number of votes isn’t nearly as important as the intensity of the reasoning behind who y’all think are the best in each category. Also, please make sure to make nominations in both categories.

Clear on the concept? OK, let’s get started…

* Best political bar in Springfield

* Best political restaurant in Springfield

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Elizg - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    Best political bar: The Globe
    Best Political Restaurant: Ross Issacs


  2. - Obamas Puppy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    Bar: Boones
    Restraunt: Alexanders


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    Um, folks, just naming names ain’t gonna cut it. Those votes don’t count.


  4. - dave - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    Best political bar in Springfield: No Name Bar (State House Inn). I may not have said this a few years ago, but more and more electeds and lobbyists are hanging out there, to the point where I almost want to stop hanging out there. It also has the best bartender, but that one’s for a later award.

    Best political restaurant in Springfield: Sebastian’s. First, it has the best food in town (or at least downtown), and a good wine menu. But second, it also provides for a bit of everything. You want a quieter, more private dinner? Check. A big group. Check. A louder, more fun dinner. Check. Plus, you cannot walk in there on a session night and not see 20+ people you need to talk to.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    Best Political Bar: My vote is for The Globe.

    The Globe is a place where you can see more people you need to talk to at one place than most anywhere. The “entertainment” is great, and at times, it feels like one of the few places in town that being collegial is required, and that is not a bad thing in the least.

    Best Political Restaurant: The Sangmo Club.

    To qualify, for me, if you have to “pack a lunch, we’re going to dinner”, than you get the nod.

    The food is good, and with the right company, the atmosphere to stay and sit at a table and just “hang” is absolutely perfect.

    You can have a meal anywhere, but the “hang” factor, with the meal, that goes a very long way.


  6. - Uwagapies - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:10 am:

    Bar: Boones; it’s got a healthy contingent of House members that frequent and a ton of leg staff head over after session.

    Restaurant: I’ll second Sebastians, it’s a wonderful all around place, food is excellent, and during sesson its got a plethora of lobsters and members to talk to.


  7. - Nick - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Best political bar: Boones, With the Captiol building as a backdrop, It has the best beer garden in Springfield. It should get extra points for being saved from the wrecking ball by “concerned” legislators when the rest of the block was being redeveloped for the visitors center.


  8. - A guy... - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    I’ll do this from observation since I don’t spend a lot of times in these bars and restaurants and almost try to avoid them if I can.
    Best Bar; The Globe, because immediately outside there’s a bench where you can sit and watch the street, the bar and chat with the cigar smokers who are completely relaxed and in the conversation for over 20 minutes.
    Best Restaurant might be Saputos, but mostly because the food is good. On given nights, you can meet anyone you could possibly want to meet and see who’s lobbying who. Loud enough that you can even hear what they’re saying; That’s why I wouldn’t do it there! lol. Also the bar at the Statehouse in gets you an audience with a lot of down to Earth regular folk.


  9. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    Best political restaurant in Springfield: Sebastian’s. On any night you might see an agency director and their top staff having dinner, a member of leadership, “top gun” lobbyist or statewide office holders all on the first floor. Then, go downstairs and see the same thing. Food is great, wine selection is the best in town and their bartenders and wait staff know how to treat people.


  10. - walkinfool - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:29 am:

    Best bar and restaurant both Sebastian’s. Many options for seating upstairs or down, where you can enjoy good food and make deals, or just evil gossip, without being clearly overheard.


  11. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    The best bar is still the Globe, especially now that it’s back in its former space and freshly renovated. So many legislators and lobbyists stay at either the Hilton or Lincoln, the Globe is the nicest, most upscale and conveniently located bar downtown. No chance of a DUI when you leave, since you’re either taking the elevator or walking across the street to get home. There are always lots of important people there and the set up lends itself to some quiet conversations and discretion.

    I’m voting for Maldeners for the best restaurant, mainly because its dining room is perfectly set up to see and be seen. The symbolism of who is dining with whom is pretty telling sometimes, especially since everyone knows they’ll be seen.

    The food is good at Sebastians, but it’s much harder to “work the room” than Maldeners.


  12. - Jimmy 87 - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    Best Political Bar: This year, going to have to go with the Grill Room at the Sangamo Club. Legislators, lobbyist, staff, agency directors and a steady stream of receptions/fundraisers just upstairs make it a one stop shop for political happenings. Dennis behind the bar makes a fine cocktail, and they have just the right amount of TV’s so you can still watch the game without it feeling like you’re at a sports bar. Also, great appetizers to go along with whatever you’re drinking and a staff that’s always very accommodating.

    Best Political Restaurant: Ross Issac. The place has really turned into a political hangout right on par with any of the others Downtown. A booth near the bar is always a good scene if you can handle a little noise. Two big bonuses for an actual coat check (a rarity in Springfield) during the colder session months and an outdoor seating area for when the weather turns warmer in late-April and May.


  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 11:00 am:

    These are my own personal observations and won’t impact the final awards.

    Best bar: Boone’s is definitely back. It’s a great place to hang out after dinner, because you’ll find plenty of Statehouse types. I had one of the more memorable experiences of my entire career there Tuesday night. A fascinating evening, which makes this vote pretty easy.

    Runner up: Butternut Hut. Legislators flock to this dive bar, particularly on nights when a certain band plays. On those nights, you’ll see people who don’t usually go out to taverns.

    Best restaurant: Sangamo Club. Get there before dinner and hang out with the inside of the inside. Stay for dinner and about half the time you’ll run into Speaker Madigan.

    Runner up: Maldaner’s is to John Cullerton what Saputo’s and the Sangamo are to Mike Madigan. Lots of people watching.

    Best food: Ross Isaac’s. No competition there.


  14. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    Best bar- Boone’s for obvious reasons as well as you can’t beat the backyard patio. It’s where everyone knows your name. Moreover the proximity to the Capitol can’t be beat.

    Restaurant- Sebastian’s- I love the food there and the downstairs is a nice place if you want something more informal.


  15. - ivanna - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 11:27 am:

    Best political bar…Boones Saloon…its right across the street convience and its back!! Draft beer to martinis..food too! But its a fun time when the legislators and staffers are back in town….gives session a warm cozy feel each night..no matter how bad your day sucked-that dirty Goose martini always makes me feel better!!


  16. - Food and Drink - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    Best bar - The Globe - Kathleen is amazing and there is always a great crowd of political folks.

    Best Restaurant - Sebastions - no question about that. Best food and wine list downtown without a doubt!


  17. - Anan - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    Sebastian’s for both. A trip downstairs provides great entertainment and good people watching. Plus Ashley is the best bartender around.


  18. - The DuPage Bard - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    Best Bar- Anywhere Chad Hays and Mike Tryon are playing, always packed with everyone who is in town.

    Best Restaurant- Boone’s for lunch easy, quick and decent food.


  19. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    Best Bar: The Globe has been out of it for years, but it is definitely back. Runner-up is Celtic Mist where the entire 16th floor seems to hang out.

    Best Restaurant: Sebastian’s hands down. Don’t know why people like Maldener’s as I can’t recall ever having a good meal there.


  20. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    Best Bar “Present”
    Best Restaurant “Present”

    Thanks goodness no one is mentioning the really good spots lest they be overcrowded with blogposters.

    Even after “remodeling” the Globe remains one of the worst spaces in the 217 area code. Long narrow bars are bad ideas — unless overcrowded CTA cars are your idea of a good time.

    Boones might someday prove a god place but they need some bold and innovative act — like a TV in the beer garden.

    Meanwhile everyone should head for Buffalo Wild Wings for a good time


  21. - Because I said so... - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    I have to go with The Globe. Kathleen is the best and I totally agree with 47th Ward about not having to drive home.
    Boone’s is a great spot for lunch. Was able to order, eat and get out in a very short while last week.


  22. - A modest proposal - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    I’m going to have to go with Boones.

    It can qualify as both a bar and a restaurant. Good food, (the gunslinger), good TVs for watching sports, good bartenders and waitresses. It also have Appleton Estate rum. The beer garden is pretty legit too.


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 4:56 pm:

    Madigan is full of himself! Time too move on Mike.. you are out of touch and should pull a republican ballot on the next election.. that’s who you are.


  24. - That guy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 5:45 pm:

    Third House was today. The who’s who aren’t paying much attention to the blog at the moment. This is an interesting insight into the favorite handouts of the B team. Fascinating social experiment.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 6:27 pm:

    - That guy -,

    Funny thing out this place. You never know who you are calling “B” or if even one or two of those “who’s who” might have popped in.

    Just saying.


  26. - Marty Funkhouser - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 9:26 pm:

    Restaurant: Gonna get outvoted here, but Fritz’s has the best steak in town. Not as political as some of the others but still enough people hanging around along with its usual heaven’s waiting room regulars.

    Bar: Boone’s for the beer garden, decent bar food and more of a staff presence than a legislator presence, which I prefer.


  27. - The Third Brother - Friday, Dec 6, 13 @ 5:27 am:

    Restaurant: Magic Kitchen. More of a lunch place than a dinner place but a consistent performer. Always populated. Don’t believe in the power of Magic Kitchen? In front of a couple of groups, on a session day, around 11:30 or so, say “I’m thinking about Magic Kitchen for lunch. Anyone interested?”

    Bar: Norb’s. Drink in the history. You know that experience that people describe of their first ball game at Wrigley or old Comiskey of walking through the dark, beery concourse, popping up the steps and being awed by the vividness of the emerald green field? This is that in reverse. In the best possible way.


  28. - KGB - Friday, Dec 6, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    Best Pol Bar: No one for Two Brothers?
    I’ll throw DH Brown’s in for the fact that its as short a walking distance from the Cap as State House or Boone’s.

    Best Restaurant: Another curveball– Alexander’s. Pols like a good steak and you can always find 1-2 dozen legislators there. Nice open layout to work the room.

    Runner up: Augie’s. Walk into that place at 8:00pm and work a dozen legislators. It’s only drawback is it’s not big enough to accomodate all the people that would like to eat there. Food good too.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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