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Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:51 pm
by 9tjr1
In Chicago for 4 days next week.

Besides the State and Lake and the Clark Street Ale House - any recommendations for places in the downtown core?

Also considering checking out The Map Room and Sheffields - anything else that I absolutely shouldn't miss?


Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:47 am
by tupalev
If you can find the October/November issue of Great Lakes Brewing News, they have a great write up on Chicago as well.

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:45 am
by JerCraigs
Rock Bottom was decent (see reviews on ratebeer) about half their own brews were just okay with a couple of standouts. It is very centrally located downtown.

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:48 pm
by Cass
Yeah, besides Clark St Ale, State & Lake and Rock Bottom, I haven't been able to find any other good beer places right in the Loop. You'll probably have to travel farther afield to hit some of the other beer spots.

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:52 pm
by Cass
9tjr1 wrote:Also considering checking out The Map Room and Sheffields - anything else that I absolutely shouldn't miss?

If you're willing to make the trek north up the red line you should go to the Hop Leaf. Nearby Map Room is Piece, which is a brewpub specializing in thin crust pizzas. Publican which I mentioned earlier is worth checking out, just a couple stops out of the loop on the brown line iirc.

There are two new breweries in Chicago, Half Acre and Metropolitan - you can give them a call and see if you can visit.

P.S. if you like Mexican food try to go to Frontera Grill / Topolobampo, probably my fave resto anywhere.

Posted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:23 pm
by Kish84
Heading to Chicago and Grand Rapids this weekend.

Staying at the Westin Michigan Ave. According to Google, its about 2.5-4 miles from a lot of the great beer bars. There's 4 of us going, but none of us will be in any condition to drive. Really we have no idea which places we are going to as there are too many options, Local Option, Hop Leaf, Map Room, Goose Island, Twisted Spoke, and there are a few more we want to try, but don't know if we'll get a chance to try them all. This is pretty much just a beer trip so it should be a good time.

Anyways, What's the best way of getting around in Chicago?

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:31 am
by Cass
Kish84 wrote:Anyways, What's the best way of getting around in Chicago?

Chicago's train system, "The L" is a great way to get around. Many of the great bars are located near train stations which are all accessible quickly out of downtown. You can get a fare card at any of the stations and add more money to it as you need.

I tend to train out to a bar area at the beginning of the night, and take a cab between bars throughout the night, and one back home. Cabs are pretty cheap in Chicago, especially compared to insanely expensive Toronto.

Walking isn't really an option from downtown to the bars you've listed.

P.S. there's a new brewpub that just opened in Chicago - Haymarket - check it out if you have the chance (and report back!)

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:07 am
by Flood
9tjr1 wrote:In Chicago for 4 days next week.

Besides the State and Lake and the Clark Street Ale House - any recommendations for places in the downtown core?

Also considering checking out The Map Room and Sheffields - anything else that I absolutely shouldn't miss?


I covered most the beer spots comprehensively last year.... Check these places out in addition to Map Room/Sheffields.
1. Local Option
2. Quenchers
3. Piece Pizzeria and Brewery
4. Revolution Brewing
5. Hop Leaf
6. Goose Island (N. Clybourn St. Location)
7. Kuma's Corner for the best burger you'll ever eat and a fine selection of beer while you're at it.
8. Small Bar - Logan Square

Now for beer stores:
1. Westlakeview Liquors
2. Archer Liquors
3. Binny's Beverage Depot
4. Armanetti Wineshop and Beverage Mart

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:19 am
by Cass
If you're in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighbourhood (where Map Room & Piece are) you should go to Big Star. Killer place. Tacos & beer, two of my favourite things.

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:32 am
by kwjd
My favourite place in Chicago when I was there in May was The Publican.

The menu is very adventurous, so if you like offal/charcuterie type food to go along with a great beer lsit, it is an excellent place to visit. If you do plan to go, make a reservation before the trip if possbile.

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:44 pm
by NRman
The pizza at Piece is very good and their IPA is great!
You guys are gonna love the Hopcat in Grand Rapids, if the Devil Dancer at Founders doesn't get you first!


Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:05 pm
by TheSevenDuffs
I was at Sheffields last summer - it is a really cool place. Although part of what I liked about it was the huge outdoor patio area, which won't do you much good at this time of year.

I haven't been to either Map Room or Hop Leaf, but I have seen both places listed in numerous "top beer bars in the US" lists...

Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:12 am
by Kish84
Thanks for all the recommendations!! Currently on our way to Chicago. Will report back.

Posted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:22 pm
by Kish84
Where to start? Well first off definitely wished we had more time down there, lots of places we didn't get to go to. Unfortunately, Haymarket was one of them, but here's how it went. It was JB84, myself, and 2 other friends who aren't beer geeks, but are being converted slowly. Not being afraid of germs, for the most part we all ordered different pints and had a few sips of each.

Before reaching Chicago, we stopped at Bell's, which despite under going renovations was still great. After Bell's a slight detour to Three Floyd's, and then to Chicago. A lot of the trip is hazy, but I'll try my best. :)

First night:

Local Option: Great tap list, only looked at/had appetizers, but they were good. Music was fairly loud, we were sitting at the bar and service was great. Bartender was informative and gave great recommendations when we were stuck on what to choose next.

Goose Island (Clybourn): Liked Goose Island quite a bit, although I don't remember much of it. Great tap and bottle list and I enjoyed my food. We were in a booth in the corner so noise wasn't much of an issue. Service was very good.

Ended the first night after that as we were all tired from a long drive, and a LOT of beer.

Day 2:

West Lakeview for bottle shopping, about $400 worth of bottles, with a few special bottles that were hidden in the cellar offered to us from Kristina, the owner of the shop.

We tried to go to Frontera Grill/Topolobampo for lunch, but it was an hour wait and we were hungry....and thirsty.

Piece Pizzeria and Brewpub: Quite possibly our favourite place on the trip, GREAT thin crust pizza, tried 7 of 8 brewpub offerings they had, and a few guest taps. Atmosphere was great, despite it being extremely busy. It is because of this place that we didn't get to try as many places as we wanted. Thanks for the recommendation Terry and Emma!!

Map Room: Once again great tap list, bottle list was good, but there's better in the city. Beer School was about to start so they took away a 3rd of the seating for patrons. Once again extremely busy, in terms of service, there was very little. Had to walk to the bar every time we wanted another drink, no bar tab either so had to pay each time. Not a huge deal, and still enjoyed it.

Hop Leaf: Again, extremely busy, very hard to find seating. And like Map Room, you had to get your own beer from the bar. Great tap and bottle list.

Sheffield's: I liked this place a lot, but I also already had a lot to drink before getting here. Food was fantastic, tap and bottle list were great. Service was exceptional, waitress wasn't totally knowledgeable about beer, but brought over a bartender when we had questions, received a beer that was either off or just not enjoyed (Flossmoor Station IPA,) and they took it off our bill.

That was it for Chicago.

Grand Rapids wasn't too exciting, but that could be because of the terrible drive from Chicago. Weather got really bad once we hit Michigan and we saw about 20 cars in ditches. Buffalo Wild Wing's was a good time, we didn't expect to have anything to drink there, but they had Two Hearted on tap, and well, we had a lot of that. I expected a lot more out of Founder's, beer was good, except for the Kaiser Curmudgeon, which tasted like Forty Creek, which I like, but not in a pint sized serving. Biggest let down was that we didn't get to go to Hop Cat.

All in all a great trip!

Sorry for the long post.

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:41 pm
by cratez
I'm in Chicago this Friday for a one-week vacation and I want to hit up the best beer spots in the city. Looking for some advice from Bar Towellers since I'll be with my girlfriend, who doesn't enjoy dive bars and would like to have a decent glass of vino wherever we go. Therefore, bars that serve both wine and dinner are preferable. Also, there's a handful of places that I went to while I was living and working in Chicago, but I'm not interested in returning to them (only new spots this time!). They include the downtown and Lakeview Binny's, Rock Bottom, Whole Foods Gold Coast, and Clark Street Ale House. Lastly, we're staying in the South Loop area and will be walking and taking the subway to get around.

I've created a preliminary list of destinations based on "combined" place scores from BA and Rate Beer; however, I'll be using the suggestions from this thread to refine it. Your help is greatly appreciated! Cheers