Having a hard time letting go of Houlihan’s?
It’s understandable. The franchise wooed the metro-east with dinner and drinks for 24 years, then it suddenly asked for a break only to re-emerge as a trendier and noticeably brighter version of itself.
TBD Bar and Social, 15 Ludwig Drive, is a lot to take in at first glance, but the new Fairview Heights hangout wants locals to give it a try.
Looking for a way to make your first date at TBD feel less awkward? Here’s everything you need to know about the indoor patio, drinks, food and games at the bar.
Finding a seat
Before you look for a table, let go of the idea of having dinner and drinks at a traditional restaurant.
TBD Bar and Social is not a restaurant.
It’s a hangout space with a bar, food options, drinks and games. You could describe the place as a lounge, but that’s not totally fair. You won’t find cushy seats or a hostess at the front door. Instead, you seat yourself at the bar, outside or on the giant indoor patio. Picnic tables are inside and out. The same goes for retro patio furniture.
Wild card: There’s also a yellow Winnebago inside the restaurant. It’s rigged up to music from the band America, and guests are invited to drink and eat inside.
It’s time to eat
Once you’re seated, a waiter takes your order and gives you a buzzer. Giving patrons a buzzer allows them to play games throughout the bar without constantly checking in with a server to see when their food is ready.
“We want people to be social,“ general manager Todd Tiefenauer said. “We want them interact. We want them to move around.”
When it buzzes, head to the kitchen window to pick up your order, then eat. Need ketchup for your fries? There’s a station where you can find that and other condiments.
Burgers ($10), nachos ($9), fried mushrooms ($9), jumbo shrimp ($12) and street tacos (two for $8-$10) are on the menu. There’s also a fry bar for customers who want to top their potatoes with chili, cheese, bacon and more.
The bar offers margaritas, classic cocktails, beer and wine options, but what customers might not expect is a drink on the menu that comes with enough garnish to make a meal. The Ridiculous Bloody Mary at TBD is garnished with a Thai glazed chicken wing, a stuffed mushroom and two Cajun dusted shrimp. The price: $9.50.
Get your game on, repeat
You might have more fun at TBD if you bring a friend with you. The bar is stocked with plenty of popular board games, corn hole and oversized games.
Grab a box and play for free while you wait on your food. Oversized games include: giant Jenga, giant Connect Four and giant Battleship. The bar also has classic pub games: Beer Pong, BossToss and a shuffleboard table.
Pick your night
The bar will offer something different every night of the week.
▪ During the month of August, Sunday Funday is all about karaoke from 9 p.m. to midnight.
▪ Monday night is college night. You can get burgers and buckets of beer at discounted price.
▪ T stands for tacos and trivia on Tuesday from 9-11 p.m.
▪ You can “wine a little” on Wednesdays on ladies night.
▪ Wing it on Thursday with live music from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
▪ Cheat on your diet and get something fried on Friday with live music starting at 9:30 p.m. Friday is also military night.
▪ What about Saturday? You can expect more live music and a lip syncing contest starting at 9:30 p.m. through the end of the month.
What’s with the name?
TBD stands for exactly what you think it does: To Be Determined.
“People often plan their socials with a TBD destination,” TBD spokesperson Amy Freshwater said. “They know they want to meet up with friends but don’t necessarily know where to go. We have the answer. We wanted to provide a laid-back place where every hour feels like happy hour. Guests can eat, drink, play and relax.”
The Fairview Heights location is the second TBD Bar and Social in the country. Houlihan’s parent company opened the first location in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this year.