Like every good 'hood, Roscoe Village boasts a locals-love-it bar and grill that doubles as a venue for post-dinner imbibing and as a place to grab a quick, cheap bite. A self-proclaimed neighborhood bar, the Tap is proud of its off-the-beaten-path status ("i.e., where you can still park" its Web site proclaims). Still, it registers on the radars of many fresh air-mongers: Itís no secret that the beer garden here is one of the cityís best, if for no other reason than it's open year-round. When you're climbing up the walls of your shrinking apartment in the dead of winter, pack it up and pony up to the Tap's long bar.
Choose from the more than 30 rotating draft beers along the lines of Bell's, Goose Island, Three Floyds and Ace Pear Cider, or try the daily microbeer special ($3 pint; $10 pitcher). Hungry? Grab some grub at the cafe window. Yeah, it's a window, making for "save your 20-percent tip" self-service (you'll get a waiter if you're in the beer garden). Food is unsurprising but does the trick quite well. Take your pick of sandwiches, quesadillas, burgers, burritos and grilled chicken with some subtle twist (you can get your veggie burger Cajun-style, with a side of hummus). Oh-so-smartly, menu prices include tax, so drunks paying the bill need only elementary school skills.
Weekday patrons are locals. On weekends, Eddie Bauer appears to bus in clientele. No matter, everyone's friendly.
Centerstage Reviewer: Ryan Learmouth