New sports bar welcomes special-event booking

The city of Champaign is no stranger to a thriving bar scene. And this semester, the diverse Campustown establishments can welcome the newest addition to hit Green Street: Venue 51. Located on 51 E. Green St., Venue 51 is the newest sports bar that hosts any event from weddings to Greek exchanges.

Its grand opening took place on Aug. 29. Steffanie Millage, event coordinator for Events at Refinery, oversees a variety of venues that includes Venue 51. As an ‘07 alumna of the University, Millage has become well-acquainted with the Campustown community. Her responsibilities as event coordinator include giving tours, writing out contracts, handling billing information and a variety of other event planning, including establishments’ grand openings.

“(Venue 51’s) opening night was a very successful night for us, and we were very fortunate to get such great reviews,” Millage said.

Overall, the night consisted of drink deals, including $1 signature shots, $2 domestic bottles and $3 UV mixers. Free empanadas were also catered in by The Empanada House, currently one of the five caterers for events at Refinery.

Taylor Eggenberger, sophomore in Media, attended the opening night and enjoyed its unique atmosphere. She described how LED lights aligned the bar, giving it a club-like feel while still maintaining a college vibe due to the giant projection screen in the main area. Eggenberger said Venue 51 has the potential to be successful because of its ability to be both a college sports bar and an upscale facility. She is excited to attend future events at Venue 51 this year.

Millage said the projection screen will be ideal during the venue’s Superbowl party. Venue 51 will also play the Illini football and basketball games on the screen, both home and away, she said. The current cliental, according to Millage, is mostly college students. Available for private parties, the venue has booked a variety of sorority and fraternity events, with an estimate of eight to nine Greek-related events for this semester alone, Millage said.

Erik Scott, social chair for the University’s Acacia Fraternity chapter and junior in Media, has booked an exchange for his fraternity this October at the new locale. Scott said that he thought it would be nice to change up locations and found Venue 51’s new special to be particularly appealing. Scott was able to get a $500 discount for his fraternity, which is also applicable to any prospective customers if they book their event prior to Oct. 1.

Although the average party is booked from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., there are a variety of negotiable times and available openings throughout the semester. According to Millage, Venue 51’s staff mostly consists of college students and they are still accepting applications for any Illini searching for a job. For all those looking to gain more information on Venue 51, its Facebook page is up and running at

Christen can be reached at [email protected]