502 Bar & Bistro has been in the works for a while, and this week the staff has started to work out any last minute kinks with a soft opening for friends and family. Tonight, Thursday, July 21, the restaurant  at 10401 Meeting St., Prospect, will open to the public beginning at 4 p.m.as part of the soft opening workouts, but the grand opening is set for Monday, July 25.

The eclectic, modern American menu is a few steps above that offered by most sports bars. Co-owner Scott Cheatham described the range of dishes on offer. “We do have some standard sports bar things like wings and beer cheese, but our chef Ming Pu has put his own twist on them,” Cheatham said. “There is an ahi tuna appetizer and a Korean short ribs dish, and a pretty full range of salads.

“We have burgers, of course, and a Cuban sandwich, and an open-faced meatloaf sandwich that has been pretty popular during the soft opening. Our entrees start with a vegetable stir fry and go up to a beef filet, buy we also have lamb chops, shrimp and scallops grits and pork chops, both of which have been doing well.”

Dinner will be served every night, with bar service starting a 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with limited bar menu from 2-4, before dinner service.

There is a full bar, with about 12 taps for draft beer, a good Bourbon selection and a wine list that will continue to be refined. The mixologists have worked up 5 signature cocktails for the opening weeks.

502 Bar & Bistro bills itself as a sports bar, but as consulting chef Peng Looi puts it, “It’s a sports bar, but like no other.” “There are a lot of TVs, with sports on,” Cheatham said. “But our decor is sleek and contemporary. The tall ceilings give a wide-open feel, with lots of room o move around and have a good time. We think it is sophisticated and family-friendly. to fit in with the spirit of Norton Commons.”