Icon Grill

The bar at the Icon Grill, like the restaurant itself, is an eclectic, confused mess. If you haven’t been to the Icon, it’s a big spectacle of a restaurant on Fifth and Virginia (in the space previously occupied by the dive Steve’s Broiler) that announces itself with a giant billboard. The owner spent a shitload on the place, as is evidenced by the overabundance of blown glass (Martin Blank with a blank check, apparently), mostly bad modern art, rock ‘n’ roll posters, all topped with off-the-rack lamps from IKEA. IKEA, meet ICON. ICON, meet IKEA.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to support local artists, but in this crowded, cluttered environment, the work looks more like junk-store inventory than art. (The best art, a video installation, is actually in the bathroom.)

Luckily for the patrons who go there, they’ve got glass with booze in it, or the experience really would be overwhelming. The bar’s seating area is quite comfortable (they have cushioned chairs at the bar, much better than the crappy unsupported bar stools of most places), and it includes several booths and small tables. People come here to have a good time, and the staff of verbose bartenders makes that happen. On the weekends especially, it’s party time at Icon, with babes and beefcakes aplenty, so the people-watching and scam factor is fairly high.

The bar is a mishmash—a few ports, a few whiskeys, some beers on tap, some shitty reds, some cognac (Hennessy XO—$20). There’s no blender (which is nice), and most of the drinks are fairly inexpensive (Dewars, $5). They do have fresh squeezed lime and lemon juice, and the staff is pretty knowledgeable.

Unfortunately, the bar, like the restaurant, is searching for a theme, and wanders all over the map. Admittedly, I like theme, and I’m not talking about the tight shorts and big boobs of Hooters. But if you’re going with a tropical theme, have Tiki heads, lava lamps, and rum drinks; if it’s rock ‘n’ roll, do the guitar in a glass case and overpriced T-shirt gig ࠬa Planet Hollywood. If it’s icons you’re going for, find some real symbols and explore that—DiMaggio, JFK, Monroe, Einstein, or Amelia Earhart. Serve Roy Rogers, have a Mae West bombshell shooter. Something. Don’t just put a bunch of glass bobbles on the ceiling and tell me it’s cool. It didn’t work at the Palisade or Palomino, it’s not workin’ here.

Bar Joke: A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”