Step inside the latest extension of the Prairie Street Brewhouse family, and see how sports come alive in this well-positioned new hot spot.
Imagine a 12-foot TV, a gigantic pretzel delivered on a baking sheet, plus a pint of craft beer in your hand.
All of this is found at Owly Oop Sports Pub, located within the UW Health Sports Factory in downtown Rockford.
Reed Sjostrom, Chris Manuel and Dustin Koch – the same trio that owns Prairie Street Brewing Company – are enjoying the first few months of the pub being open to the public.
“It’s a pretty lively place,” Sjostrom says. “The view of the river is the first thing people notice when they walk in. You can see Davis Park and the federal courthouse, which you don’t normally see from any other vantage point. It’s a fresh perspective of downtown.”
On weeknights, the building is full of kids who participate in leagues for basketball, volleyball and other sports. Owly Oop is perched above the courts – a perfect place for parents to enjoy themselves while watching their children play below.
The weekend typically brings an even livelier crowd.
“It gets pretty crazy up here, especially if there’s a tournament,” Sjostrom says. “But it’s not just people who are using the facility – it’s also people who are simply coming to enjoy the space and be a part of the atmosphere.”
Owly Oop is a haven for sports fans. Whether you want to watch NFL football or Premiere League soccer, the pub broadcasts both common and obscure sports. During the March Madness college basketball tournament, visitors will be able to watch every game at once, if they choose. People are welcome to make requests and watch any sport they’d like.
Having a craft brew from Prairie Street Brewing Company only enhances the experience.
“The beer here is mostly the same as it is there – we try to keep our staples on tap,” Sjostrom says. “Though eventually, we’ll probably do some kind of interesting thing that’s only here.”
Food-wise, Owly Oop serves up family-friendly pub fare with items in all calorie brackets. The menu contains healthy salads, hummus, a quinoa and black bean burger, as well as other nourishing options. Those looking to enjoy a burger, sandwich or Prairie Street’s fan-favorite cheese curds will also be satisfied. Sauces are made in-house, and ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible.
The Rockford Park District chose Prairie Street Brewing Company to be the concessions operations partner for the UW Sports Factory.
“They sent an RFP out to the public – a request for proposal – so they asked everyone to put in a proposal for the space and describe what you would do with it,” Manuel says. “We had to interview for it, put some menu concepts together, and some over-all theme concepts of what we would do. It’s flattering they picked us. The Rockford Park District has been a great partner – we’ve had a relationship with them for four or five years now. Helping each other out has been exceptional.”
Hours for Owly Oop Sports Pub are Mon.-Thurs., 4-10 p.m., Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sun. 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. For more information, visit uwhealthsportsfactory.com/restaurant.