Sapphire’s the belle of the sports bar ball

Beer-battered fried cheese curds from Sapphire’s.

First thing’s first: No, it’s not a strip club.

So please, don’t be fooled by the name or the tinted windows.

This is just a cozy sports saloon, its trademark copper bar serving as the centerpiece. Aesthetically, at least.

Because at Sapphire’s, the cooking is the point of attraction.

And worth making repeat visits. Several repeat visits.

One could muster a meal from the appetizers alone. And assuredly, these are not of the unholy trinity of mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers and chicken fingers.

At Sapphire’s, choices include beer-battered and deep fried bacon ($6.79); brie cheese with a red wine reduction ($8.29); deep fried mac and cheese egg rolls ($5.99), smoked salmon pizza ($7.99); delicious house-made potato chips ($2.79); and grilled or fried bite-size pieces of grouper ($6.29).

The best of the apps? Either the beer-battered cheese curds ($7.39) or the mini-bites of prime rib ($7.59).The curds are delicately fried into small nibbles, packed with gooey cheese, each bite as addictive as the previous. The prime rib pieces arrive in a sea of au jus, bordered by buttery bits of toast. Dip those, too, if you like.

Sapphire’s also features plump half-pound, hand-pattied burgers ($8.29), several extra crispy hot wings in creative flavors like red chili Thai and Boom (habanero, red chili, sweet cream), and classic sandwiches, including the Reuben, Philly cheese steak, pimiento cheese and BLT.

This is the sort of place that if it were downtown, it’d be the belle of the sports bars. And the prices would be twice as much, and still worth it.