Not just fun and games, there’s also food

Gill Street Sports Bar and Restaurant offers more than food — a lot more. From sand volleyball games and live music to axe throwing, gaming and bags tournaments, there are plenty of activities to choose from at the restaurant, located in Bloomington.

The Signature Grinder consists of ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing on a hoagie roll.

“We’re definitely a unique destination,” says Scott Brown, one of the owners of the 20-year-old establishment. “If you come out here on a Friday or Saturday night for music, you will absolutely be blown away with the vibe and how cool the place is. With the music, sunshine and people playing volleyball, it’s just a really chill way to spend an evening eating and enjoying some cold beverages.”

On Corn Belt Energy Corporation lines, Gill Street has proven to be a popular destination for all ages, including locals ranging in age all the way from 18 to well in their 80s. “We don’t get a lot of tourists,” Brown says. “We’re tucked into a spot you’re not going to accidentally find. You have to be looking for us.”

Brown has been in the restaurant industry for 35 years, starting as a server in college, and he learned to listen to employees to help fill out the menu options.

“Our creativity comes from the staff,” Brown says. “Our menu items — basically all the sandwiches — have been created by me, other managers and staff members.” He explains that sometimes employees will modify a sandwich, and it will be introduced as a special. If there’s a positive response, it may end up on the regular menu.

The Italian Beef sandwich is served with mild giardiniera, provolone cheese, pepperoncini and au jus. Photo courtesy of Steph Mazanowski, Mazter Mindz Media.

Popular sandwiches include the Salayo Chicken Club (marinated grilled chicken breast, Swiss cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and their signature Salayo sauce on a telera roll), the Cuban (a favorite of Brown’s), and the Siracha Bourbon Steak. Gill Street’s Signature Grinder consists of ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing on a hoagie roll.

Tacos and quesadillas are other sought-after menu items. Quesadillas are filled with cheese, onion, tomato and a choice of chicken, steak or chorizo. For a little extra flavor, the chicken can be tossed in one of the signature wing sauces. Taco dishes include fish, carne asada, carnitas and chicken asada. Another of Brown’s personal favorites is the Cajun fish taco. The options don’t end there, however.

“The wings and pizza help give us the sports-bar feel,” Brown says. And, while their signature Hot ‘n Spicy BBQ sauce is easily the top pick for the wings, Brown has trouble pinpointing a favorite pizza, as patrons often customize their own pie. “[People] who order the Mac & Cheese Pizza often top it with our crispy buffalo chicken … that crispy chicken is so good with that pizza,” he adds.

Deep fried Oreos are served with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup and powdered sugar.

Desserts are large enough to share. Hot, gooey Oreos are coated and deep fried, or patrons can opt for the chocolate chip skillet cookie. Both are served with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup and powdered sugar.

As with any traditional sports bar, TVs line the walls, giving visitors an array of sports to watch. Sand volleyball leagues continue throughout the summer on two courts behind the building. During winter months, bags leagues occupy the enclosed patio. All year round, adults can also test their luck in the newly remodeled gaming area.

Axe throwing became yet another source of entertainment at the venue in fall 2019. Hosted by Rocket Axe, a central Illinois axe throwing company, players can enjoy hitting the target under the careful supervision of expert axe coaches. Reservations must be made in advance on the Gill Street website.

In addition to the restaurant and other activities, Gill Street offers space for parties in the restaurant and on its outdoor patios. You can even catch the restaurant on the road at its Gill Street Eatz food truck.

Back at the brick-and-mortar restaurant, with trees surrounding the outdoor area, the sand volleyball courts and live music playing, Brown says, “It doesn’t even feel like you’re in town. … You rarely get any street noise or traffic sounds. It’s just super peaceful, and with the music, you can’t hear anything else. It’s like you’re on a different planet.”

Let’s EAT!

Gill Street Sports Bar and Restaurant

3002B Gill St., Bloomington

Follow Gill Street’s Facebook page
for upcoming bands and events.


Mon-Thu: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-2a.m.
Sun: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.