Club 21
(2035 NE Glisan St., 235-5690)

still looks like a little fish tank castle on the outside and feels like a ski lodge on the inside. But the former dive bar, which took only a slight hit in patronage while closed for upgrades this summer, has stepped up its style game considerably. Its former duct-taped booths have been replaced by new upholstery; dingy old beer mirrors replaced by...well, even older Pabst paraphernalia; two pinball machines have turned into four; the patio now seats dozens of young blue-collar regulars without discomfort. The obscenely cheap food specials are out, but replaced by still-cheap and altogether more satisfying options, including an epic build-a-burger menu with endless variations (how about a housemade veggie patty on Texas toast with smoked Gouda, Kingston jerk rub and Asian BBQ sauce?). Maybe the renovated Club 21 doesn't feel like a place your grandpa would drink—but let's face it, your grandpa needs a makeover, too.