Food & Drink

The Sports Exchange

Although they outwardly seem antithetical, wine bars and sports bars actually have much in common: both're full of drunks trying to impress people with their knowledge, but only one's clientele can pull off a Starter jacket. That's right, those wine bar guys. Seamlessly transitioning from one to the other, Sports Exchange.

A polished sports bar, SE has smoothly de-vino'd the former City Cellar space, covering the old wine rack area with a massive 25x8-foot cluster of high-defs (as well as a peppering of 18 HDs on surrounding walls), employing sturdy hardwood furniture, and a 16-foot long ticker running stock exchange numbers all day, and the ESPN bottom line at night -- so basically, during the day, the only bulls you see'll be led by Luol Deng. There's a full bar with lovable standard suds like Stella, Guinness, and plenty o' domestics, while bar apps're a step up from the norm: e.g., Creole shrimp served on rustic croutons; Southwest eggrolls full of grilled chicken, roasted corn, peppers, and mozzarella, served with avocado cream sauce; and of course wings, from Buffalo, to Teriyaki, to Thai, a favorite snack during Thai water buffalo fights -- a sport where post-game, athletes plow paddies, not groupies. Heavier stuff includes brick oven wood-cooked thin crust pizzas with toppings like spaghetti & meatballs, slow-cooked babyback ribs, and a "burger" selection from portobello, to pulled pork, to standard beef, all served on chewy house pizza dough rolls and ranging in size from sliders to a 16-oz behemoth called the "Big Boy", a name the owner totally came up with completely on his own.

If you're that special kind of crazy, you can opt for a build-your-own salad with toppings like seared tuna, grilled salmon, skirt steak (and veggies, surely). To atone for that choice, there's SE's dessert special: a 1/2 pound o' vanilla ice cream sandwiched between brownies the size of a small plate with chunks of candy bars inside -- finish it, and you'd better like wine, because there's only one kind of jacket that'll be able to swallow you.