Best beer bars

These beer bars cater both to craft beer snobs looking for extensive draft lists and those happy with just any old brew

1/14
Photograph: Gemma Petrie

Best beer bars for craft beer and more in Chicago: Atlas Brewing Company

2/14
Photograph: Brendan Lekan

Best beer bars for craft beer and more in Chicago: Bangers & Lace

3/14
Photograph: Jeremy Bolen

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Fountainhead

4/14
Photograph: Jabari Zuberi

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Goose Island

5/14
Photograph: Jessica Zerby

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Half Acre tap room

6/14
Photograph: Michael Jarecki

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Haymarket

7/14
Photograph: Martha Williams

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Hopleaf

8/14
Photograph: Martha Williams

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Local Option

9/14
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: The Map Room

10/14
Photograph: Marina Makropoulos

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Maria's Packaged Goods

11/14
Photograph: Martha Williams

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Revolution Brewery

12/14
Photograph: Martha Williams

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Sheffield's

13/14
Photograph: Martha Williams

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Small Bar Division

14/14
Photograph: Martha Williams

Best beer bars for craft beer, draft beer and more in Chicago: Quencher's

Beer has officially entered the "something-for-everyone" territory. Hipsters enjoy their cans of cheap beer (ironically, of course), beer snobs dig into the latest batch of craft beer selections and everyone in between can find a lager, ale or other type of beer that suits them. Some of our favorite bars and brewpubs offer numerous beers on draft, allowing serious beer drinkers to sample everything from classic national drafts to specialty beer made right here in Chicago. Take your own Chicago brewery tour, and sit back and watch the magic happen in places such as Goose Island Clybourn and Half Acre, where the beers are brewed in-house. For a hard-to-find microbrew, a local Chicago beer, or just your average pint, check out our picks for the best beer bars in the city.  

RECOMMENDED: Best bars in Chicago

Atlas Brewing Company

It’s fitting that this micro-brewpub is located on the same stretch as Delilah’s; neither is your typical Lincoln Park bar. At Atlas, they are serious about beer—so serious, in fact, that they brew pale ales, IPAs and stouts themselves, in tanks on view behind glass at the back of the room. There’s also a chef-y food menu (example: hanger steak with slow-roasted tomatoes).

Read more

Bangers & Lace

At this bar by the owners of Bar DeVille, “bangers” stand for sausage (we dig the Chicago-style Vienna Beef over the fancier brat sandwiches), and “lace” for “Brussels lace,” i.e., beer foam on the edge of a glass. The stellar draft selection, two-ounce sample options and knowledgeable staff draw in a mix of beer geeks and neighborhood clientele.

Read more
Wicker Park

The Fountainhead

With its carefully attended-to beer list and homey, taverny look, this pub from the Bar on Buena folks has a serious Hopleaf vibe to it. The big difference? The crowds, though passionate drinkers, are not so large that they’re lining up on the sidewalk. So keep this underrated gem to yourself, or suffer the throngs of craft-beer geeks.

Read more
Ravenswood

Goose Island Clybourn

Critics' pick

Watching beer ferment in tanks is about as exciting as C-SPAN, so we’re pretty sure it’s concoctions like Matilda and Sofie that bring in the crowds here. Nearly every Goose Island beer from 312 to Pere Jacques is on tap, but we drop in to check out the seasonal releases and chef collaborations.

Read more
North Side

Half Acre Brewery

Beer. People drinking beer. Bearded people drinking beer wearing T-shirts bearing beer logos. This laid-back tap room adjacent to Half Acre’s brewing facilities swarms with all these things and more. Minimal picnic-style tables lend a beer-hall vibe, and on tap are the brewery’s classics (Daisy Cutter, Gossamer), its latest experiments (recently, barrel-aged Over Ale) and everything in between. You can peek through the doors into the brewery to see where the magic happens, but we guarantee this side of the building is having more fun.

Read more
North Center

Haymarket Pub & Brewery

There’s no doubt Pete Crowley is a great brewer. For his breakout bar, Haymarket, the former Rock Bottom brewmaster amassed an amazing bottle list, and some of the beers he’s brewed, such as the Mathias Imperial IPA and Oscar’s Pardon Belgian Pale Ale, are awesome. Still, the cavernous room and basic bar food don’t exactly make it an all-night destination, but it’s definitely worth a stop for a round or two.

Read more
West Loop

Hopleaf

Thought this was just a bar to belly up to with a Belgian brew in hand? One bite and you’ll know there’s much more. Our perfect night involves sampling the drafts at the bar while slurping down the famous ale-steamed mussels, but you could also class it up, grab a proper table and dig into seasonal rotations such as wood-roasted spring chicken with morels and favas, available in the spring. Beer geeks know this is the place in town to school their palate on craft brews, and they do come in droves, but the addition of an adjacent space helps keep the place from feeling like a sardine tin.

Read more

Local Option

Though it’s nestled on a quiet, tree-lined street, this is anything but your average Lincoln Park bar. The drafts (which rotate weekly) are a suds-geek’s dream come true, the stereo is heavy on metal and the bartenders know their shit, making this one of the most underrated beer bars in the city. Translation: Expect lots of beards.

Read more
Lincoln Park

The Map Room

Critics' pick

You couldn’t fit another beer on the killer list or another Bucktown local in this cozy tavern on occasional Tuesdays when the bar unveils new or limited releases of specialty beers. If you’re a more low-key drinker but like the vibe, stop by in the a.m. when the Map Room functions as a coffeehouse.

Read more
Bucktown

Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar

Critics' pick

Ed Marszewski—editor-publisher of Lumpen, festival host, gallerist and general Chicago indie-art-world guy-around-town—and his brother, Mike, remodeled and renamed Kaplan’s Liquors, the Bridgeport bar that was owned and operated since 1986 by their mother, Maria. The chandeliers built out of bottles and the 300-plus microbrews are notable, but the real standout feature is the welcoming scene: People like each other here.

Read more
Bridgeport

Comments

1 comments

Howells & Hood should get a mention here with the biggest craft beer selection in chicago - 114 beers on tap!