Downtown Bars in Champaign, Illinois

By Marcia Frost

The downtown of Champaign, Illinois, has been revitalized with the addition of new buildings with loft apartments and a parking garage. This college town is filled with sports and activities (there are a number of public golf courses within a few miles of downtown), and there's plenty of nightlife. If you're looking for a good downtown bar in Champaign, you won't be disappointed.

Seven Saints

Seven Saints in downtown Champaign covers all the basics with a huge selection of premium liquors and the best $3 sliders around (made as veggie, turkey and salmon burgers if you'd like). You will also find a collection of beers here that change with the season. Seven Saints prides itself on unusual events, like tastings from Chicagoland's North Shore Distillery, or half-price Whiskey Wednesdays.

Seven Saints
32 E. Chester St.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 351-7775

Memphis on Main

Memphis on Main has a claim to fame that no other bar in downtown Champaign can match. The bar is the same one on the cover of REO Speedwagon's album as (the band was formed in Champaign-Urbana by university students who played in local bars). Today Memphis on Main is a place where you can still find live music, but there's also comedy and open mic nights.

Memphis on Main
55 E. Main St.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 398-1097


Jupiter's is so much of a tradition in downtown Champaign that the company opened another location on the other side of campus. You will still find the original bar full on most nights, with a line forming for the endless pool tables and people waiting for the thin crust pizza. It's mostly about the beer here, but mixed drinks are available.

39 E. Main St.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 398-5988

Bentley's Pub

In downtown Champaign, a bit away from the other bars, you will find Bentley's Pub next to Carmon's French restaurant. Bentley's is Champaign's Irish Pub, with a huge selection of beers and a casual atmosphere. There is live music here (mostly rock and country) on the weekends, and the crowd is anything but college-age. Look for many events at Bentley's Pub, including karaoke and charity concerts.

Bentley's Pub
419 N. Neil St.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 359-7977

Cowboy Monkey

Salsa, blues, pop, rock--you might see and hear just about anything from the stage at the Cowboy Monkey. This bar (found though an alley in downtown Champaign) also has karaoke and open mic nights for those who want to get in on the action. Cowboy Monkey has a good selection of beer, wine and martinis. Food is available here spring through fall.

Cowboy Monkey
6 Taylor St.
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 398-2688

About The Author

Marcia Frost is a freelance writer who regularly covers travel topics. She maintains and two columns for Frost has written for numerous tennis magazines and is the author of "American Doubles." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts and is now pursuing a master's degree.
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