Tag: bar and grill

Drinks to Warm You Up This Holiday Season

As the winter months bring more chilly winter days, getting creative and finding new drink recipes is a great way to have fun while staying warm this holiday season! Wither it’s a switch-up on an old classic or you are looking to try something new, there are plenty of drinks that can remind you of the holidays while expanding your drinking pallet and keeping warm. Below are a few ideas for your next round.

Warm Orange Maple Old Fashioned

A drink that earned the name the old fashioned has stood the test of time. An orange maple old fashioned is similar to the beverage, but with a twist. Add boiling water to maple bourbon and combine with muddled sugar and bitters. Complete with a cinnamon stick garnish and an orange peel. This drink is sure to be a holiday hit and warm you up from the inside out!

Holiday Hot Toddy

A hot toddy is a classic drink that everyone should try at some point! For a holiday take on the classic bourbon hot toddy, spice things up by adding any type of holiday spiced liquor such as pumpkin or peppermint. Plus, since this drink is tea based it’s perfect to drink morning, afternoon, or night! We recommend asking your bartender what options they have for the holidays so you can try something new and bold, you will not be disappointed.

Cranberry Gin and Tonic

Grab your classic gin and tonic and add a little bit of holiday cheer by adding come cranberry juice and garnishing with a lime, mint, or rosemary. This drink is perfect for someone who would like a cold drink but does not want anything too sugary or sweet. This beverage is the perfect balance of alcohol and festive seasonal berries so you enjoy the holidays in more ways than one.

Final Thoughts

Have fun this season knowing you don’t have to stick with your typical beer or wine. These holiday cocktails are sure to bring festive flavors and help open doors for many more festive drinks this holiday season! Spice things up while staying warm by trying one of the drinks above at your local bar Johnny’s Bar & Grill.

Flavorful Beers to Pair with Your Food

Men’s Journal says it best – “When pairing beer and food, it all comes down to matching the food’s flavors to the flavors of the beers.” Your brew and bite to eat can truly complement each other, but only if you understand how food and drink pairings work. Usually, bold and rich lagers are paired with meats, while light and hoppy ales go well with seafood and pasta. Learn more about the best beer flavors to pair with your meal!

Pizza/All Beer

When it comes to a cheesy dish, almost any beer pairs well. From cheesy breads to pan-dish pizzas, you don’t have to worry about which beer to choose. If you are ordering a light dish, such as a thin-crust pizza, lighter beers like ales or pale lagers are perfect.  

Seafood/Blonde Ales

Chicken and seafood dishes can have a lot of flavor; therefore, you don’t want to overpower the flavors with a heavy beer. Instead, opt for a beer that is lighter. Anything from a Belgian Blonde ale and German Hefeweizen to a Blue Moon can complement your fish or chicken. For richer creams and sauces, it makes sense to go for a heavier beer.

Burgers/Fuller Porter/Stouts

The best pairing for a burger or steak dish is with a dark stout. Brown ales and lagers are also great choices. Matt Simpson from The Beer Sommelier comments, “The idea is to balance the sweet malt and bitter aromatic hops. Any big robust beef or meaty food should include a beer that is big and bold enough to stand up to roasted meat like a darker, fuller porter or stout.”


Visit our sports bar to order a handcrafted beer from Johnny’s Bar & Grill. We have imported and domestic beers that pair well with our delicious meals. Browse our menu to order your favorite beer and bites today!

The Best Pizza Topping Combinations

A simple pie needs just a couple of basic ingredients like bread, sauce, and cheese. However, pizza connoisseurs know that there are more ingredients needed to make the perfect pizza. With so many different toppings to choose from, it’s no wonder why classic combinations, such as pepperoni and cheese, have a permanent place on restaurant menus. Read more about which pizza topping combinations are customer favorites at Johnny’s!


Even though this topping combination is a controversial topic for some pizza eaters, it still holds its own on the menu. Cooked with fresh pineapple and Canadian bacon, Hawaiian pizza offers a savory and sweet taste. Spizzico Italian Kitchen adds, “there are so many possibilities with pineapple. It makes a great standalone topping, but it also tastes great with other pizza toppings. Ham and pineapple are the classic duo, although pineapple also pairs well with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, chicken, olives and more.”

BBQ Chicken

With hints of smoky and tangy notes, BBQ pizza is reminiscent of summer pastimes on the grill. This combination uses BBQ sauce as a base with grilled chicken breast, mushroom, onion, and mozzarella cheese. It may not have traditional pizza sauce as a base, but its BBQ sauce replacement is just as good and definitely complements the rest of the ingredients!


This pizza has all of the delicious toppings a vegetarian can enjoy, without the meat of course! A hearty vegetarian pizza consists of fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and black olives. Of course, there are options to add more veggies, but those important decisions are left up to the customer.

Our Thoughts

At Johnny’s Bar & Grill, we are the masters at cooking the best hand-made, freshly baked pizza. Our menu consists of many pizza topping combinations to satisfy your hunger. We have the classic combos, Hawaiian and BBQ Chicken, as well as our own creations, Johnny’s Special and Mama Mia, and much more. Browse our full menu online and place an order today!

How to Support Local Restaurants During COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, several state governments have mandated the closure of small businesses such as nail salons, restaurants, and bars. Through these trying times, many businesses such as Johnny’s Bar and Grill have been able to remain open while implementing steps to help combat the virus. Going out to dine at a restaurant might not be the same as it was before, but the support that one can provide to their favorite local restaurants is a lot. Read along as we list a few ways in which you can support your local restaurants during this pandemic.

Order Take-out

You might not be able to dine at your favorite places to eat, but you can still enjoy them in the comfort of your home! Restaurants such as ours are offering curbside pickup or delivery to help flatten the curve while remaining efficient. Call your order ahead of time or order online and have it ready to go by the time you get there. If you don’t want to leave the house at all, order through a food delivery service, they too are adapting to the changes and some are even taking it a step further by offering contactless delivery. Just remember to tip your driver!

Tip Your Server

Truth is, we are all experiencing this pandemic together. And while some have been laid-off or furloughed, other’s such as our wonderful team are still coming in to work to provide our customers with their favorites. Recognize their hard work and make their day a bit brighter by leaving them a tip!  

Leave a Positive Review

Virtual appreciation goes a long way! This a quick and easy way to show your appreciation for your favorite local restaurants, and needless to say, it is also free! Froom Google to Yelp and Facebook, there are plenty of platforms where you can share your positive comments. This will not only put a smile on their face, but it will also grab viewers’ attention and convince them to try that place out too!

Repost, Like, and Share!

With everyone staying at home and being more socially active online, it has made it easier for small business owners to connect with their fan base. If you are following a restaurant or any other small business online, make sure to like or share their content!

We hope that these ideas have motivated you to show your support to the local businesses around you. If you are in the Sterling, IL area, feel free to order some delicious American food from our restaurant! We are offering curbside pick. Learn more about our local restaurant and updates by following us on Facebook!

How to Grill Like a Pro

When you sit down to eat at a restaurant, your expectations of a great burger is juicy, tender, and grilled right? Seeing those appetizing grill marks on a burger makes all the difference. Of course, it comes down to the person standing in front of the grill making your food. If you want to learn how to become a grill master yourself, here are a few tips and tricks to get started.

Basic Rules to Follow

Cooking on the grill is an American pastime and an honored position whether you’re hosting a party or preparing a meal for the family. In order to practice good grilling habits, you will want to begin by cleaning the grate to prevent your meat from sticking. Next, you will need to reserve some time for your grill to heat up. You want it to be hot enough to get your burger cooked all the way through, even if it’s just medium-rare. Depending on if you’re working with a gas or charcoal grill, you will want to keep an eye on your food. Some grilling items may need a lower temperature to cook, like your fish, chicken, and vegetables. If you’re cooking a burger, it’s best to use a medium heat for a gas grill. Flip when necessary to get an even grill on both sides of the meat. It’s also important to have the right tools to flip the meat and have them nearby at a moment’s notice. One tip that grillers should always follow is to not step away from the grill for too long; the last thing you want to happen is for your perfectly marinated burger to burn!


Grilling burgers is what we do best at Johnny’s Bar & Grill. We have our seasoned chefs and cooks on the line to grill your burger to perfection. Whether you want to enjoy a drink and game at our bar, you can always count on us for a delicious burger. Be ready to order when you visit our restaurant by checking out our menu online. We can’t wait to serve you!

A Brief History of Darts, a Timeless Bar Game

Bars are social spaces where people from all walks of life can sit down and enjoy drinks together. This core principle of the bar reaches all the way back to ancient times, where Greeks and Romans established taverns as places for people to congregate, drink alcohol, and socialize. Over the centuries, bars have evolved in appearance and the specific types of amenities they offer, but the idea at the heart of the bar remains the same: a place where people can kick back, socialize, and enjoy themselves.

Along with the usual activities of drinking and socializing, games are another way for people enjoy themselves in a bar. One game that you’ll likely encounter often is the game of darts. It’s a common sight to see a group of tipsy people tossing darts at a board with no semblance of accuracy – though they’re certainly enjoying themselves. With its combination of simplicity and enduring popularity, you may have wondered about the origin of this classic bar game. This blog will give a brief rundown of the evolution of darts, and its implementation in bars worldwide.

Slow and Steady Growth

One appeal of darts lies in its ease of access: anyone can pick a dart up and throw it at a board. Of course, the amount of technique and skill required to throw darts accurately is what separates a novice from a skilled player, but for a group of people looking for a bar game to play, darts are a great way to relax and have a good laugh.

The game of darts is a firmly British one, though its origins are most likely placed during the Dark Ages. As such, there aren’t many solid recordings of the development of the game of darts during this time. Most historians agree that darts originated among British soldiers, as both a pastime and a way to practice their aim. Legends dictate that the earliest darts players, who were soldiers, would throw spearheads at various targets, including alcohol containers and tree trunks. The game would grow steadily in popularity until the 19th century, during which it was played by everyone from English nobles to commoners.

Darts and Bars: a Match Made in Heaven?

In 1896, a standardized ruleset for darts was finally established by Brian Gamlin, a carpenter. Finally, people could agree on the game and darts could be widely enjoyed by bar goers – in theory, at least. In practice, that’s not what happened.

Instead of being embraced with open arms by bars, taverns, and pubs across the United Kingdom, darts were a controversial topic. Forms of gambling were outlawed at the time, and darts, termed a “game of chance” due to its high skill gap and enjoyment in bars, fell under this category.

In 1908, a bar owner was taken to court for hosting darts games in his bar. The case was dismissed, setting a precedent for allowing darts in bars and taverns. By the 1930s, darts were played in bars, taverns, and pubs worldwide, finally earning its place among bar goers from all walks of life.


To this day, darts enjoy widespread popularity at both the amateur and professional levels, played by anyone from bar goers to professional darts players, and being hosted in bars and official darts tournaments. Next time you stop by your local Johnny’s Bar & Grill, play a game of darts and participate in this historic game,which makes beauty out of simplicity!

Read This and Drink with Confidence

Ask anyone who drinks alcohol and you’ll hear something different from everybody. One will attest that tequila makes them euphoric and social, another will attribute their sudden rush of aggressiveness to too much Jack Daniels or Vodka. While there is plenty of scientific study about how alcohol affects the brain, there is still not a lot of information on how different types of alcohol work on the body. If you’ve ever wondered how to drink with more confidence, read on!

 A “Standard” to Live By

Did you know that all alcohol whether you’re talking about wine, beer, whiskey, or tequila is the same? All drinkable alcohols are made from ethanol, and ethanol just so happens to be what gets you drunk. The NIH thus has created the “standard drink” model so people can understand that all drinks regardless of their respective sizes contain the same amount of ethanol. A standard drink refers to 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor, or 5 ounces of wine.

The Factor of Environment

The way in which you consume alcohol, as well as the environment where you consume it both play important roles in how it will affect your body and mood. Having a few beers while watching TV will feel different than taking 2 back-to-back shots at a club with your friends. This is because your choice of drinking environment is reinforcing the experience you want to have. For example, if you like to philosophize around the fireplace, sipping on a peaty scotch is probably a better choice than shots of Jägermeister and Red Bull.

The company you keep while drinking is also indicative of your mood while drinking. Studies have shown that when individuals are with others that are drinking heavily, they’re more inclined to feel just as intoxicated as their comrades even if they haven’t drunk as much. Choose your friends wisely when you’re planning on consuming alcohol, it will influence your experience heavily.

In the Mix

Are you feeling uncharacteristically tired or hyper after a few cocktails? If your drink is mixed with highly caffeinated or sugary liquids, it will quench the intoxicated feeling even though you’re taking on the same amount of alcohol. Sugar has been found to actually mitigate the effects of intoxication because it slows down the entry of ethanol into the bloodstream.


The best strategy for a fun night out on the town is to moderate your drinking and keep in mind that your experience with alcohol is hinged on both who you’re with as well as what you’re mixing your alcohol in if anything. When you feel like having a standard drink (or two) in an inviting and fun atmosphere, visit Johnny’s Bar & Grill today.

What To Pair with a Turkey Dinner

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, turkey dinners will be abundant with savory sides and decadent desserts to match. But what about the perfect libation to match? There are so many beers, wines, and spirits to choose from, that making the one perfect pairing can seem impossible. We gathered a few suggestions on what to look for to help you narrow down your search so you can enjoy your meal with friends and family in style!


A frothy brew pairs well with turkey.

If you are a beer fanatic, you know how well it pairs well with some of our grill options. But what about the perfect brew for your turkey? It is important to find a frothy option that will complement not only the turkey, but the side dish options as well. The perfect beer will have a variety and balance of notes, such as fruity, sour, malty, spicy, and hoppy, just to name a few. Options such as a porter, Belgian ale, or Saison brew will capture the notes you are looking for to help bring out the nuances of the season.


Imbibe in a delicious wine.

There are options available to help satisfy the desires of both white and red wine lovers alike. If you love to savor a glass of red wine, a pinot noir is best due to its low bitterness, which helps enhance the flavors of your food and not overpower them. For white wine lovers, a classy sauvignon blanc is your best option with its aromatic notes to help bring out the flavors of those tasty side dishes.


A small shot of whiskey makes all the difference.

Looking to lift your mood with a flavorful spirit? Whiskey, bourbon, and scotch make the best pairing with a turkey dinner. A small pour with a few ice cubes will be more than enough to complement your dinner while still soberly enjoying family time.


Regardless of whether you are seeking the best beverage to truly enjoy the holidays or to try to get through the inevitable family drama the holidays like to bring along, we hope our pairing suggestions will help you savor the holiday season. When the holidays are over or you want to go out to get away from the hustle and bustle of the season, make sure to visit Johnny’s Bar & Grill , where we promise to have your favorite drink waiting for you!

Rules for Enjoying the Game in a Bar

If you’re a sports fan watching the game in a bar with friends, keep in mind some of these unspoken rules to have a truly enjoyable experience.

Sports bar interior.

Sports bar interior.

Don’t Be a Hater

If you enjoy sitting with friends and watching the game in a bar, make sure to support and focus on the fun. If your team didn’t make it into the playoffs or the Super Bowl, don’t sit and complain the night away; instead, choose to cheer for your friend’s team. Remember to enjoy the time watching the game and not spend it sulking.


Open a Tab

A kind thing to do when watching the game is to open a tab and take some stress from the bartender’s mind. This is the best way to reassure them that you’ll pay at the end of your evening, while also allowing you to keep track of how much you’re drinking so you don’t overspend or over drink.


Don’t Get too Loud

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the game and rooting for your team, but keep in mind your location. Feel free to express the love you have for your team, but remember that not everyone will have the same enthusiasm. When you’re watching the game in a bar, be mindful of the other patrons around you and keep the volume down so the other people can have a nice evening out too.

Watching sports in a bar.

Watching sports in a bar.

Respect Other Fans

Keep in mind that if your team didn’t make it into the final game, or isn’t currently playing on the bar’s televisions, that doesn’t mean the other sports fans in the bar feel the same. Don’t go after someone else’s choice in teams just because yours didn’t make it. Keep the conversation and banter light rather than going for low blows about the other person’s choices.



There’s never anything wrong with going out with your friends for a drink at your favorite bar while enjoying the game on the television screens. Keep these ideas in mind when coming into our bar to enjoy the game and we at Johnny’s Bar & Grill will be here to welcome you with a beer and great food.

The Origins of Billiards

Billiards (or pool) dates all the way back to 15th century Europe and has been played by royals and commoners alike. Since then, it has evolved and become the game that we know and love today. When you go to a bar, you will usually find a couple of pool tables that have several people surrounding them. It’s a game that invites competition but encourages teamwork. Seeing pool tables isn’t a strange sight, but how many of us actually know the history? In this blog, we will outline billiards’s history, from its inception to today’s version.


Originally, billiards took place outside on the lawn as a game similar to croquet. It eventually moved inside where a wooden table with green cloth was set up to mimic grass. The balls were shoved with wooden sticks called “maces.” In the 1600s, the cue stick was invented after realizing how inconvenient the mace’s large head proved. Players had been using the mace’s handle, and so the cue stick was born.

The Industrial Revolution allowed for many improvements to billiards equipment. The use of chalk created more friction between the ball and cue stick, and leather cue tips were perfected to help players perform a side-spin to the ball. During the 1870s in America, billiards was played on a 11 or 12-foot, four-pocket table with four balls. American Fifteen-Ball Pool eventually grew from this and is the predecessor of modern billiards. Around the 1900s, Eight-Ball was invented, followed by Straight Pool.

The term “pool” came from poolrooms where betting for horse races occurred during the 19th century. Billiard tables were set up in the room so that people could pass the time in between races. After World War II, people were more interested in buying homes and building careers, and so playing billiards lost popularity. It wasn’t until 1961, with the release of the movie “The Hustler,” that the dying game began to see a revival.

Today’s Billiards (or Pool)

Ever since the success of “The Hustler” and its sequel, “The Color of Money” in 1986, poolrooms emerged, attracting men and women, as well as championship tournaments that gave players a more serious perspective to the game. The idea or image of pool had seemingly negative connotations as poolrooms were places where men often gambled, picked fights, smoked, and loitered. Women had trouble being accepted in these rooms, but the game itself has been played by all sorts of people – not just men.

Because of the gambling and smoking that occur in poolrooms, children are not allowed to play pool there. However, pool tables have been set up in more welcoming amusement centers such as bowling alleys and arcades. Passionate individuals can purchase their own table to play at home, but going to a public area to play invites a sense of community. Billiards has come a long way, but it’s a game that people won’t get bored of for some time to come.


Some may see pool as a competitive sport, but at the end of the day, it’s a game that can be enjoyed casually by all. You can play competitively or friendly – as long as you have a few people with you, the game will be fun for everyone. Bars, amusement centers, poolrooms, one’s home – pool tables can be found and played in these environments. Whether you’re new or a veteran to the game, there’s always satisfaction when you see the ball shoot straight into a hole with a clink.