The term "shenanigans" brings to mind raucous, rowdy, obnoxious high jinks and pranks, but the local establishment bearing this name is quite the contrary. Shenanigans Pub and Eatery is quiet enough that you can actually talk to the bartender instead of having to shout at her, and its atmosphere is open and comfortable enough that you might find yourself wondering if it really is the kind of place where everybody knows your name.
In addition to the nearly 20 bottled beers and close to 15 choices on draft, Shenanigans offers a fairly standard selection of food, including burgers, sandwiches (both hot and cold), salads and more. Appetizers include onion rings, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers and fingersteaks. Featured house specialties include chili, a pastrami burger and a bucket of clams.
While the selections on the menu may seem typical pub food, the quality is anything but. The chicken strips are topped with an excellent homemade batter, and the jalapeno poppers are some of the best in town. The chili, which is homemade, is excellent as wellspicy enough to catch your attention, but not nearly so spicy that it becomes a challenge to eat. Other interesting menu options include appetizer platters of two or three items of your choice, as well as vegetarian options in wraps, sandwiches and soups. The prices are reasonable, from the small side of fries or side saladboth of which run less than four dollarson up to the most expensive item on the menu, a three-pound bucket of clams for just over $20.
If the food at Shenanigans is good, the atmosphere is even better, with friendship and fun being the dominant themes. Just inside the front door is a large trophy celebrating the bar's softball team. The lone pool table hosts a billiards league every other Tuesday, and beside the dart board is a sign up sheet for the darts league Shenanigans is currently trying to form. Nine large TVs are mounted around the bar, each tuned to one sporting event or another, and there's even the capability for wireless Internet access, which comes in handy during football season as patrons use their laptops to settle arguments, cool down heated debates and check on every possible stat.
Shenanigans has been open a little over a year, but with its winning combination of good food and good vibes, it should be in business for many more.
Shannon Grisso is starting a local chapter of Gizzards Anonymous for those with organ meat addictions of all kinds.
Shenanigans Pub & Eatery, 4019 W. State St., 342-3250. Sun.-Thu.: 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-late