Bangers and Lace

Jeff Banowetz
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Bangers and Lace is a welcome edition to Evanston, having taken over the space that was the longtime location of The Keg, which closed in March of 2013 after having its liquor license revoked from the city. Many Northwestern students certainly have fond memories for The Keg, particularly those of a certain age for whom it was one of the only bars in town. But it was, let’s be frank, a student bar, with all the baggage that goes with that.

Bangers and Laceis not a student bar.

It has taken the space and created a beautiful spot that resembles a Midwestern lodge, crafted a fine beer selection and offers some seriously good eats to go along with the drinks

This is the restaurant’s second location, having first established itself as a hot-spot in Wicker Park. The Evanston location opened in December, and has quickly developed a strong reputation here as well.

“We’re known for our beer list and house-made sausages,” said the restaurant supervisor Scott Gold. “We’ve got everything from pork to lamb to goat sausage plates.”

That explains the “bangers,” a British term for sausage. The “lace” comes from the term Brussels lace, which is the beer foam that “clings to the side of the glace as it is consumed, indicating a well-crafted beer and a clean glass,” according to the restaurant. They offer 32 different draft beers—which are rotated often—from around the world, as well as an extensive bottle selection. The beer is even overseen by a certified Cicerone, think the beer equivalent of a sommelier.

On the domestic side, you can find things like J.P.’s Casper White Stout, a nitro beer from Stevens Point, Wis., or Founder’s Curmudgeon, a “baby barley wine” from Grand Rapids, Mich. Some local brewery’s are represented, like Chicago’s Off-Color Brewery, whose “Class War” is a smoked rye beer with honey. The 51st Ward Brewery in Westmont, Ill., is represented by “The Krispy Kascadian,” a black IPA with a touch of roasted malt, while the Geneva-based Penrose offers a Belgian style saison called the “devoir.”

Other offerings from around the world include an apricot wheat ale from St. Ambroise in Montreal, and the Wild Beer Modus Vivendi from England, which is “an old ale aged in oak and fermented with multiple strains of wild yeast.”

The menu features lots of small plates that are designed to be shared. From Louisiana hotlinks to curry pork sausage, you’re sure to find some encased meat to enjoy. (Or simply trust the chef and try the house sausage sampler, which is paired with both classic and eclectic accompaniments.)

Sandwiches include a duck BLT, in which the duck is paired with a bacon sausage, oven-roasted tomato, aged gouda, leaf lettuce and aioli. The soft-shell crab po’ boy and truffle grilled cheese show that you’ve got plenty of choices beyond the standard bar fare.

But if you’re just looking for snakes to go with those craft beers, you can also grab cheese curds, a Bavarian style pretzel or chorizo deviled eggs.

“We’re a comfortable, neighborhood place,” Gold said. “But we offer a lot of things that you won’t find anywhere else.”

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