Cheers to the old-school pub that does it right

hduncan@macon.comJanuary 25, 2013 

Cheers is accurately named. It really has the same kind of vibe as the bar on the 1980s television show of the same name: dark wood, not too fancy, smoky and frequented by an older crowd including a lot of regulars. You won’t find yourself hobnobbing with drunk college students in baseball caps.

The wait staff did not get trained yesterday and won’t be moving on to the next job tomorrow. As a result, the service was friendly and attentive. I’m not sure whether “everybody knows your name” if you come often, but it would not be hard to believe.

And I could imagine coming here often. The food is pub fare, but elevated -- not by exotic combinations and fusion gimmicks, but by specials like the $9.99 crab clusters on Saturday night. Those are high-quality, meaty and cooked well. Tuesdays they offer all-you-can-eat fried catfish for the same price, and Wednesdays the special is $3.50 for 10 wings with an alcohol purchase.

The standard pub fare is good. The Jack Daniels wings are sweet and amazing. They are known for their burgers, and the steak sandwich is large and cooked to order, without the rubberiness that sometimes accompanies the dish. The fresh chips are a little oily but thick cut and brown, and are served with copious blue cheese crumbles. (The blue cheese dressing here is unusually tangy, by the way.) And Cheers may have the best fried shrimp in town. The batter is light and a little crunchy, and the shrimp inside are big and tender.

The menu also features an array of salads, plus hot dogs, salmon and more, most in the $6-$8.50 range.

The décor at Cheers is nothing special: hanging lights with metal covers, walls covered in random sports and beer memorabilia, plain tables and chairs. But I can see why it may have appealed to the folks scouting for bars with a good local, “everyman” vibe for “Trouble With the Curve,” the Clint Eastwood movie shot there last year.

Non-smokers beware: Although there’s a section without ashtrays, you’ll still leave reeking. It’s pretty typical of what most restaurants were like before the law required them to either ban smoking or ban kids (Cheers picked the latter). But having happily adjusted to life without secondhand smoke, I now find it a sock in the gut.

The biggest downside to Cheers, given that it’s got “bar” in the name, is the lack of beer taps. And the selection in bottles is pretty unremarkable. But overall, it’s a great deal for Saturday night dinner and hanging out.

Northside Cheers Bar & Grill

3852 Northside Drive, Macon

Phone: (478) 474-5006

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays-Saturdays

Payment: Cash, credit, debit

Smoking: Yes

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: No

Noise Level: Medium

Health Rating: 90

Price range: $6-12

Rating: 3.5 stars

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