Bars along Regent Street often have two personalities. Our first taste of these bars is often the beer-soaked madness of a football game, where every establishment is filled to capacity to cheer on the red and white.

In the absence of a game, the bars retreat into the comfort of their own distinct routines. The Grid Iron, located near the corner of Regent and Monroe Streets, is typical of such character.

Name aside, the Grid Iron is much more of a neighborhood bar and live music venue than a sports bar. True, there are pictures of famous Badgers on the walls, and the place gets crowded for basketball games on the big screen. But with one look around, you can tell this place is much more.

The dark black and blue colors are slick. When darkened, all attention can be focused on the stage near the front door. On a small platform only two feet off of the ground, the audience is close to the action. It has that intimate I-am-hanging-out-really-close-to-the-musicians vibe.

Showcasing performers who represent a wide variety of genres from southwest Wisconsin, the Grid Iron offers live music Thursday through Saturday, and has open mic on Wednesday. The bar might have a small cover charge which ranges from $3 to $5. If it is the excitement of live music you seek, this amount is a mere afterthought.

While music is a main feature, the bar offers other forms of entertainment. Descending down the staircase and underneath a disco ball to the lower level, you will find some pool tables and darts. The downstairs area has a house party vibe, partly because too many house parties take place in the low-ceiling environment of a basement.

The Grid Iron is a giant leap forward from any house party, and the sight of a keg-stand or beer bong would be totally inappropriate. On the flipside, some drinking games are welcomed.

On Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., a special known as “Kill the Keg” commences. One half-barrel is offered up to the bar, priced to move with 25