Maybe you’re all partied out after Unofficial, or maybe you’re tired of visiting the same bars around the area. Places such as Brothers or White Horse are convenient for students since they’re close to Green Street, and places like The Blind Pig and Esquire in downtown Champaign provide a less congested atmosphere. However, many people end up overlooking Urbana, the quieter side of town that still provides several bars and lounges that are perfect for residents living in this area.
Less than six months ago, a new bar and lounge opened in Lincoln Square Mall and already it’s received high ratings from the community. It was an early weekend evening and I wanted something small for dinner, so I texted a friend and we headed over to Flyght, a classy-looking place with large glass windows near the entrance. The bar does have a dress code and requires patrons to dress in stylish/casual attire, meaning no work boots, athletic wear, hats, hoodies, or anything baggy-looking. I don’t mind this dress code at all and think it creates a more sophisticated tone that is fitting with the design and look of the inside.
Flyght is strictly for 21+ and enforces this rule, so I wouldn’t recommend anyone underage trying to sneak inside. When first walking inside, you’ll find the lounge with several dark leather sofas, a few pub tables in the corner, and dim lighting reflecting against the red wall. The look reminded me of the room from 50 Shades of Grey, but much more inviting. My friend and I arrived around 7 p.m. on a Friday night, a little early for anyone visiting a bar, but it gave us the chance to talk a little to the bartender while we enjoyed some drinks and food.
The menu provides several signature cocktails and 32 oz pitchers that range from $25 to $28 if you’re with a larger group of friends. I first tried Bay Area Drive ($7), which has Smirnoff vodka, peach juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine. Overall, the drink was okay. The bright red liquid looked and tasted like cough syrup with its intense sweetness, the flavors did not work well together, and the orange juice overwhelmed the other flavors. The cocktail wasn’t worth the price and I should’ve stuck to something a little more classic like a White Russian, but I wanted to see what Flyght’s cocktails were all about. The second drink I tried was Chi-Town Loop ($8) another vodka-based drink with Ciroc, peach schnapps, blue Curacao, orange juice, and Sprite. I loved ombre look of this cocktail and was much more impressed with the taste of this one than Bay Area Drive. Again, it was too sweet for my liking, but the ingredients combined nicely to create a refreshing beverage without an intense burn from the vodka.
Chi-Town Loop, Mile High Mix, and Bluff City Classic AKA 1 Town — all priced at $8 — were the bartender’s recommendations. Another bartender claimed that she makes the best kiddie cocktails in town, but I didn’t get the chance to test that out. Behind the bar are a couple of televisions and a very organized display of liquor and glasses, surprisingly clean for any bar, but perhaps this is because it is still relatively new.
I also wanted to try one of the items on the food menu, so I decided to go for something savory and comforting: The Grilled 3 is Flyght’s version of grilled cheese, which includes three wheat sliders topped with a three cheese blend and roasted roma tomato, with pesto served on the side. For $5, I thought this was an excellent deal and was given a generous serving that I almost couldn’t finish. The tomato tasted pretty fresh and I loved the addition of the pesto, which wasn’t too oily and had plenty of garlic. The only issue I had with the service was the wait time for the sliders, considering my friend and I were the only customers in the bar. There are a few other types of sliders on the menu including The Little Italy which tries to add an Italian twist. Along with the sliders, you’ll find salad, flatbread, and pizzas on the menu at very reasonable prices.
I’d like to stop by Flyght again during a busier time to see what business is like, but I was pleased with my experience and the upscale design of the bar and lounge. It’s a little far for most college students, which is a plus if you want a calmer atmosphere. Flyght is a great place if you want to go out on the town and dress up a little more than usual, but on most weekends I’d rather unwind and not worry too much about appearances. It might not be a prime location, but Flyght offers a nice change from the bustle of typical bars in town, friendly bartenders, and good service.
Flyght is located at 142 Lincoln Square, Urbana, in the inside of the Lincoln Square Mall near the South Entrance. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch, and Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
All photos by Madeleine Marsh.
Correction: A previous version of this review incorrectly referred to drinks as "Kitty Cocktails" instead of kiddie cocktails.