Cactus Bar and Grill

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7,000 square feet of fun...Wooden decor. Southwestern saloon feel with a Key West twist. Rowdy South Loop hot spot with a south-of-the-border spirit and spicy after-work crowds. The Scene Mounted fish vie with mounted cacti for prominence in the blazing color scheme. Downtown white-collars who appreciate hearty partying head here by the droves after work; throbbing music on a brand new sound system is inescapable throughout the two rooms, leaving patrons to shout or get very close to communicate. Patrons shed the work day by playing pool, watching one of several TVs, or taking advantage of good food and drink specials. The Draw Though there's no beer on tap, Cactus' full bar serves two dozen local, domestic and imported bottles, plus near-legendary margaritas, popular martinis and fruity frozen drinks. Regarding food, flautas, quesadillas and nachos reinforce the bar's Southwest theme, but classic American favorites and eclectic options dominate the large menu. The chicken wings have been proclaimed some of Chicago's best, and sandwiches may be ordered straight from the menu, or custom-built from a long, inventive list of toppings. This spot also draws a good lunch crowd. Very popular lunch spot during the warmer months - this is one of the few lunch spots near the Sears Tower with outdoor seating. The menu steers towards burgers/sandwichs, pick your meat (beef, chicken, turkey burger) and then pick your style (buffalo, Berlin Wall, BBQ, etc) ... add one side and the price, with drink and tip, is about $12. The South Loop Cactus and Gold Coast Cactus locations are like night and day. The Loop venue, on an otherwise quiet street after rush hour calms down, attracts traders and nearby neighbors, whereas the one up north -- adjacent to the always popping Melvin B's -- gets everyone else. That's not to say that the one on Wells Street is low-key. Cactus gives way to the chaos by providing free shots, throbbing music on a brand new sound system and pool tables. This is a happy hour mecca; later into the night it transforms into a nightclub. Directions: We're on the Southwest corner of Wells & Van Buren; One block North of Congress Brown, Purple & Orange Lines: Quincy or LaSalle stops Blue & Red Lines: Jackson stop Green Line: Adams stop