Midwest Living Review
Boltini, open since 2000, looks and feels like a fancy big-city cocktail club. Like so many of the downtown Champaign establishments that have opened in recent years, it makes excellent use of its old architecture, with a decor emphasizing the high tin ceiling. Odd touches include some old window frames hanging perpendicular to the wall, functioning like dividers between some of the booths. Plush, purple curtains hang in the big windows along Neil Street, open enough to let in some light from the street, but the bar is dimly lit. In the back part of the main room, a few steps lead down to a secluded lounge area with couches and modern lamps. The well-stocked shelves behind the bar feature a wide selection of spirits, including small-batch bourbons, single-malt scotches, wines, vodkas and gins. Obscure varieties of beer are visible in the refrigerated cabinets next to the bartender, and nearly 100 kinds of martinis are available. During our visit, a big glass canister was sitting on the counter, filled with pineapple-infused aejo tequila (big chunks of pineapple were floating inside). It was the perfect stuff to make a bittersweet margarita with plentiful salt around the rim of the glass. Boltini also offers drinkable desserts and hot cocktails. Boltini's kitchen disavows anything resembling bar food -- nothing is fried. Popular dishes include the Liar's Club sandwich (seared Ahi tuna with avocado, sprouts and a Thai style of mayonnaise, sriracha aioli, on a tomato roll). Boltini regularly features DJs spinning house music, funk and soul. Entrees are $7$12.