Opera, the contemporary Chinese restaurant in the South Loop, will close after dinner service on Dec. 31. Partner Jerry Kleiner tells us it will reopen in three or four months as a yet-to-be-named "gastropubby sports bar."This is definitely an interesting change. Maybe Kleiner and crew noticed how well Flo & Santos is doing across the street and decided a change was needed. Although we like Opera and are sad to see it go, it's been evident that the place hasn't exactly been packed over the past couple of months.
A gastropub concentrates on quality food. The name is a combination of pub and gastronomy and was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, London. The concept of a restaurant in a pub reinvigorated both pub culture and British dining, though has occasionally attracted criticism for potentially removing the character of traditional pubs.