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Discuss beer travel and regional information, including the best bars and places to check out around in Canada and around the world.

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nicktbm
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Postby nicktbm » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:48 am

cratez wrote: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


Mike
You know I love metal and I love burgers (and beer) so Kumas Corner is a must stop. Now its always busy, loud, smokey(from the grill only) and tasty! The beer choices are great (compairing it to the Works or Relish) and if they're busy half a block down the street is Square, where you can have some tasty Beers while you wait for your table at Kumas!
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cratez
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Postby cratez » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:08 pm

nicktbm wrote: Metal...always busy, loud, smokey


Hmm...if Court can tolerate any one of those things (and that's a major IF), I'll try to get her over there (great beer and burgers sounds tempting!). Do they serve wine or mixed drinks?

EDIT: I see that they've been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives TWICE for their burgers, and they also have a patio. Convincing the lady will be much easier now! Thanks for the reco.
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cratez
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Postby cratez » Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:51 pm

BTW - I've been reading the comments in this thread and they're all very helpful. I only posted because of the "wine and food" conundrum, in the hope that someone might know of good beer spots that serve these two things. Some of Chicago's beer bars are true alehouses that don't offer food or wine of any sort, hence my inquiry.
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Cass
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Postby Cass » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:25 pm

Looks like the Publican has a good mix of both. I can definitely vouch for the beer.

http://thepublicanrestaurant.com/upload ... .20.11.pdf

http://thepublicanrestaurant.com/
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Weebay
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Postby Weebay » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:21 am

As to Kuma's, I was there a week ago, and the burgers are amazing, Zombie Dust on tap, great bottle list.

When people say it's busy, they really mean it, if you show up 10 mins after they open you're likely going to be waiting an hour for a table(This is on a weekday). If you want to sit at the bar, it will go faster. All the burgers are heavy metal themed, I had the Sky High On Fire, and it is the best burger I've ever had in my entire life.

They do have a selection of hard liquor behind the bar, bourbon and whiskys and what not, but they pride themselves on being an unapologetic beer and beef place, they have a big notice on their menu that there are no vegan/vegetarian options, and it wouldn't surprise me if they were uninterested in making mixed drinks, and if you ask about wine they may throw you a beating.

Promise to resurface the kitchen floor or take her mother shopping or something, but do whatever you can to go there.
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Postby jibblypop » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:30 pm

I just wanted to post a thank you to all that posted in this thread. I was just in Chicago for 4 days and was able to find plenty of great beers and bars thanks to you!

The Map Room was especially good!

I had an awesome time in Chicago but there is something about getting back to good ol' Toronto that makes me feel great!
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cratez
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Postby cratez » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:40 pm

Two months late here, but I just wanted to thank Cass, Adil, Terry, Kishan, and kwjd for making great recommendations. We hit up most of the spots mentioned in this thread (as well as other places) and had the best vacation of our lives. Also enjoyed a fantastic anniversary meal at The Publican. Chicago really is a world class beer city, and I strongly encourage all Bar Towellers to go there at least once. Here's how my ratings broke down:

Fountainhead A+ / 4.8 (96)
Local Option A+ / 4.8 (96)
The Publican A+ / 4.78 (96)
Haymarket Pub & Brewery A+ / 4.75 (96)
Bad Apple A / 4.45 (90)
Revolution Brewing Company A / 4.43 (88)
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria A / 4.38 (88)
Goose Island Clybourn A / 4.33 (86)
Sheffield's A / 4.28 (86)
The Long Room A- / 4.2 (84)
Half Acre Beer Company A- / 4.14 (82)
Whole Foods Market - South Loop A- / 4.03 (80)
Jerry's Sandwiches B+ / 3.9 (78)
Map Room B- / 3.49 (70)
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub B- / 3.49 (70)

Some side notes:
- We planned on visiting Kuma's Corner for lunch on the way back home (managed to convince the lady based on Baird and Weebay's recos), but because I kept my truck in the far north end to save on parking, Bad Apple and Half Acre ended up being a lot closer and more convenient for us.
- The places with the largest beer selections (my three lowest ratings) also had the worst service.
- The cask scene is surprisingly strong in Chicago. Wasn't expecting to find real ale anywhere but many of the bars that we visited had one to three beer engines. I was very impressed!
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andrewrg
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Postby andrewrg » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:32 am

A relative offered to bring me back a beer (just one!) from Chicago. She's flying, so not a lot of room for more in suitcases.

Anyone have a recommendation for a standout beer local to Chicago?

I'm partial to porters/stouts and saisons, but open to most anything.
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Postby TheSevenDuffs » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:17 am

andrewrg wrote:A relative offered to bring me back a beer (just one!) from Chicago. She's flying, so not a lot of room for more in suitcases.

Anyone have a recommendation for a standout beer local to Chicago?

I'm partial to porters/stouts and saisons, but open to most anything.
I would recommend something from Half Acre.
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JerCraigs
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Postby JerCraigs » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:38 am

Find out where she's staying, use Ratebeer places to ID the closest good beer store to her and email/call em up. Then give her a top 10 list to choose from. This way you are less likely to have them bring you back stuff that's available at the LCBO :)
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andrewrg
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Postby andrewrg » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:11 am

Hmm, good calls. Thanks for the advice, folks.
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cratez
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Postby cratez » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:53 pm

andrewrg wrote: Anyone have a recommendation for a standout beer local to Chicago?


TheSevenDuffs wrote: I would recommend something from Half Acre.


Yes, Half Acre is as "local" as it gets since they don't distribute their beer outside of Chicago. Daisy Cutter Pale Ale is their flagship beer; it's one of the best APAs I've ever had. Munster Fest is the current seasonal from Three Floyds - they might be able to snag it from West Lakeview Liquors or Maria's Packaged Goods. Hope that helps. Cheers
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Cass
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Postby Cass » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:36 am

Anything new in Chicago? I read an article online a while back about how there was something like 30 breweries in planning in the city. Not sure if any have gotten off the ground recently.

Heading down to Lollapalooza next weekend!
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cratez
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Postby cratez » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:28 am

Cass wrote: Anything new in Chicago? I read an article online a while back about how there was something like 30 breweries in planning in the city. Not sure if any have gotten off the ground recently.

Heading down to Lollapalooza next weekend!


Not sure about breweries, but I've seen two newish bars mentioned a couple times on BA: Northdown Cafe & Taproom (currently ranked #5 in the city) and The Green Lady. Apparently they're just a few blocks apart on N. Lincoln.
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sprague11
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Postby sprague11 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:04 pm

Will be heading down at the end of next month, followed by a quick trip to Kenosha for some WI beers.

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