Smile Politely

Boltini revamp: More bang (and booze) for your buck

I like a good ‘ol can of PBR as much as the next student during lean times. But let’s face it, sometimes you want to class it up, treat yourself, and sip on something strong but delicious. Boltini Lounge is the place.

While hardly a new bar to downtown Champaign, Boltini recently went under new management, which has led to some dynamic changes. The bar maintains its sleek look and tasty menu standbys (like my favorite, the delicious grilled cheese with vanilla vodka tomato soup), while adding unique daily specials and entertainment.

With newly expanded hours, the bar is now open seven days a week. Current regular specials include $2 well drinks and half-price food specials on Wednesday and half-price martinis on Thursday. Monday and Tuesday nights will have surprise features found on the well-utilized Facebook page. Best of all, though? Boltini is now open Sunday and will be offering a Bloody Mary bar, bellinis, mimosas, and screwdrivers — all $2 each.

I recently stopped in for Sunday Funday to sample the ridiculously well-priced specials. Despite the snow (seriously, Illinois?), the place was packed with patrons enjoying the musical stylings of drag queen Veronica Bleaus, as well as DJ Randall. My companion and I hit up the Bloody Mary bar, complete with three different types of mixes, spices, wasabi, worcestershire and A1 sauce, pickles, olives, pepperoncinis, and pickled cherry peppers. Given that they were $2, I expected something a little dainty, but our drinks were well-sized with a generous pour of vodka. I also enjoyed getting to tweak my own concoction and try different combinations, especially when going back for seconds.

Even nestled away in our booth a little away from the entertainment, the staff — Joe, Judy, and John — were warm, friendly, and attentive. After our Bloody Marys, we moved onto a Bellini Martini. Crisp, refreshing, and garnished with a juicy strawberry, the drink went down all too easily. Lucky for us, complimentary homemade meatballs were available to soak up the libations. While the kitchen currently won’t be open Sunday for orders, snacks will be available on the house for the new hours. I will definitely be back to sample some of the new menu dishes when the kitchen is open (Monday through Saturday).

Outside of the Sunday festivities, Boltini will also be featuring DJs Tuesday through Saturday as well as Trivia Tuesday nights and live performances by Gordon Wilson and Katie Flynn throughout the week.

You can stop in for the new food, entertainment, and drink specials Monday 4:30 p.m.–midnight, Tuesday–Saturday 4:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m., Saturday 6:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m. and Sunday 2:00–7:00 p.m.

Boltini Lounge is located at 211 N. Neil in downtown Champaign.

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