Editor's note: This is a weekly Pantagraph series featuring local restaurants and bars. Know someone we should talk to? Email Olivia Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORMAL — Pub II, 102 N. Linden St. in uptown Normal, is this week's pick for bar of the week.
Pub II is a full-service bar and restaurant established in 1974 and currently owned by Barb Rokos. Her son Lucus Rokos is the general manager, and his father is the one who started the pub. The pub is known for its "world famous" cheeseballs and "one-of-a-kind" atmosphere.
"We are so much more than just a college bar," said Rokos said. "We have a great friendly atmosphere for crowds of all ages to mingle together and be waited on by our fabulous service staff."
The pub is a big part of the Illinois State University community and for years has been welcomed students and residents for "good food, good drinks and a great time," according to their website.
When the pub was first getting ready to open, it was almost too close to the ISU campus by a matter of feet. Lucus' father, however, spoke with the university president at the time and they reclassified a campus building, allowing the pub to be in the location it is now.
The pub offers a variety of food, drinks and daily specials as well.
"It's awesome seeing people walk out with stacks of our Friday keeper cups, and a belly fully of the best cheeseballs in town," Rokos said. "You can try something new or have an old favorite, all while watching your favorite sports team. My father always said we fight inflation, so we try to keep prices as cheap as we can for consumers."
I personally have wonderful memories of celebrating my 21st birthday at the pub. I remember my cousin, who is like a sister to me, and her boyfriend coming all the way down from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to celebrate with me, and I had a chance to show them the Bloomington-Norma bar scene. She ultimately introduced me to her drink of choice: an Amaretto and Coke, which in turn became my drink of choice.
I also remember trying the cheeseburger, which came with a side of chips, for my best friend's 21st birthday lunch, where we sat in the beer garden. We even shared a basket of those fried cheeseballs, and let me tell you, they are quite delicious.
"I've met so many friends here; I even met my wife here," Rokos said. "The relationships that have been forged within these walls is the most amazing thing about this place."
Pub II is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Contact Olivia Jacobs at (309)-820-3352. Follow on Twitter: olivia___Jacobs.