10 N. River Street - E. Dundee, IL 
Bandito Barney's FaceBook Page
Date & Time: Saturday 07/03/10 - 3:15pm
Price:  $5. 50
Bartender: Erin
Atmosphere: Can't Be Beat
I need to preface this review with full disclosure.  I've been going to Bandito Barney's beer garden ever since I was 17 years old & got my first fake ID.  Located in the heart of downtown Dundee, this hidden oasis is in my opinion one of the finest establishments in the Chicagoland area. I have yet to find another place in the area where you can go out back & immediately feel like you've been transported to another place - one that brings to mind sipping on a pina colada with Jimmy Buffet playing in the background. (who if Urban Legend holds true, once did an impromptu concert in the beer garden out back years ago) Being this is a place I hold dear to my heart, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with today's bloody mary....

After rounding up my friend Tania & her boyfriend to meet me on this beautiful holiday weekend afternoon, anticipation was high for spending a few hours in the hot sun with absolutely no humidity.  Arriving first, I surprisingly found that while the first bar out back was crowded, stepping down to the sand pit bar area out back was completely empty.  My only guess was that people must have still been hungover from the night before, as I couldn't ask for a better day for drinking.

After Shawn & Tania arrived, we ordered a round of bloody marys from the cute waitress in a tight black Jagermeister shirt, and I sat back with eager anticipation.  It was only then did I notice the lack of music playing on this perfect summer day.  I know they have rules about this after a certain time due to it being located in a residential area, but being it was nowhere near dark, the lack of tunes was definitely missed. (that said, about a hour & half after we arrived someone must of realized this, and rectified the situation)

A short while after ordering, I saw our waitress bringing a tray-full of hopefully liquid goodness our way, and I excitedly prepared myself for a delicious hangover cure.  The first thing I noticed was the lack of enticing garnishment.  With only a lime wedge (which had seen better days) & one lonely olive, I was happy that today I ate lunch before I came.   

At first taste I was hit with a blast of spices, which is a good thing, but a satisfactory aftertaste was not followed.  This sentiment was shared by all, as Tania's new boyfriend Shawn stated that it contained more spice then flavor, and while she felt the good feeling of spice in her throat, commented that it was in need of some salt. Speaking of which, this is the third day in a row that I didn't get any celery salt around the rim - is this a practice that is going out of style? 

I quickly finished the tomato concoction, and when the waitress arrived to see if we wanted another round, we all decided to pass an order beers instead.  We were in no hurry to go, as we couldn't ask for better weather, and even though the bloody mary wasn't up to par, I could think of no better setting to kick back & indulge.

People did slowly start to fill the back area bar, and the first beer was quickly followed by another.  Shawn kept me entertained with a surprisingly good Arnold Swarzenegger impression, and Tania decided to liven things up with music from her cell phone until they finally turned some on. The two of them decided to give the bloody mary another chance, while I stuck to more drafts.  I guess this was a good call on their part, as both of them stated that their second (and in turn third) was much better then the first go around. (and after taking a swig of one of theirs, I had to agree)

As far as my review on how the bloody mary was, I have to make my judgment on first thoughts, and while the atmosphere was enough to make anything taste good, this go around left me wanting more.  The presentation itself could be much better if they served the cocktail in the green logo mug that the water came in, rather then the simple plastic cup it came in, and garnishment could use some much needed improvement.  

While I'll no doubt give the Bandito's bloody mary another chance, cause like I said, the second one seemed to be better then the first - based off of today's first impressions - I'd recommend skipping the bloody mary & grab a beer instead.  Just sit back with a cold one & enjoy the perfect setting - you'll be hard pressed to find a better one.


Garnish: LACKING
Satisfaction: SOME
              Rating: 2. 5 OLIVES (out of 5 - extra half for setting)

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