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Photograph: Jason LittleHopleaf in Andersonville

The 19 best craft beer bars in Chicago

Chicago is a paradise for craft beer nerds—here's where to drink the latest and greatest brews.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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Craft beer is everywhere these days, inflitrating your favorite dive bars and the bars you go to grab a pre-flight drink at O'Hare of Midway. For serious beer nerds, it's not enough to find a place that offers an IPA or a fruited sour—they're in search of craft beer bars in Chicago that boast variety, stylish digs and a knowledgable staff. Whether you're trying to sample beer from Chicago breweries or hoping to find some sour ales from Belgium, these spots have more draft lines than you can shake an empty pint glass at. Ready to drink super-fresh local brews and hard-to-find beers from around the world? Find a stool at one of the best craft beer bars in Chicago and don't forget to tip your bartender.

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Chicago

Best beer bars in Chicago

  • Shopping
  • Liquor stores
  • Avondale
  • price 2 of 4

True to its name, The Beer Temple is a sanctuary for craft beer devotees, housing a spacious taproom where visitors can have a drink and a bottle shop stocked with plenty of interesting and hard-to-find brews. New kegs are tapped at the bar regularly (and are sometimes depleted mere hours later) so you're likely to find at least a few new selections every time you visit, such as the latest creations from downstate farmhouse brewery Scratch and local favorite Half Acre. If you're browsing the bottle shop, you'll likely be offered a sample of a newly-arrived bottle or can. Not a fan of the latest hazy IPAs and barrel-aged pastry stouts? Don't worry, this place has cans of Hamm's and shots of Malört, too.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

This Andersonville institution is well-known for its impeccable selection of Belgian beer. It's a place where you can nearly always find Kwak or Duvel on tap—and it will even be delivered to you in the proper glassware. With 68 draft lines and an extensive list of bottles and cans, you'll find no shortage of local, regional and international brews to peruse and sample. Take a seat at one of two bars (or snag a spot on the patio if the weather is warm) and don't hesitate to supplement your beverages with Belgian-style ale-steamed mussels or a CB&J (cashew butter, fig jam and raclette cheese) sandwich.

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  • Bars
  • Avondale

Part bar, part music venue, Sleeping Village has a little something for everyone in Avondale. With 56 beer and cider drafts, the bar is the main attraction; guests can choose from lagers, IPAs, stouts and sour beers from around the world that are all listed on a menu that's projected onto one of the venue's walls. Keep an eye out for difficult-to-find brews from Belgium and Germany, including a large-format bottle list that often includes selections from Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen and Orval. Find a seat at the bar, slip into the back to catch a show or sneak out to the patio to enjoy some fresh air with your drink.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Bridgeport
  • price 2 of 4

Before he founded Marz Community Brewing, Ed Marszewski and his brother Mike remodeled and renamed this Bridgeport bar and liquor store that was owned and operated since 1986 by their mother, Maria. Today, it's attached to the adjacent Polish and Korean fusion restaurant Kimski—you can order a beer at either bar and walk freely between the two (personally, we prefer the cozy, wood-paneled vibes of Maria's). Naturally, you'll find some of the latest Marz beers on tap here, served alongside plenty of interesting selections from local and national breweries.

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

If you're stuck in the Loop and looking for a place to get a good beer, you can't beat Monk's Pub. For more than 40 years, this cavernous tavern set beneath the ‘El’ has cornered the market on medieval dives. Beyond the heavy doors that seem to hide a monastery, you’ll find a menu packed with Trappist and Belgian beers, as well as the latest creations from a variety of local breweries. Your table comes with a complimentary basket of peanuts (feel free to throw your shells on the floor) that you can snack on before you dig into the menu of fairly-standard pub grub.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

Yes, its name is a bit clumsy, but there's nothing to dislike about this Lakeview beer café, where you're encouraged to bring your laptop, a group of friends or a good book to read while you relax in a comfortable couch or chair. At Beermiscuous, you'll always find a rotating selection of mostly local draft beers, all available as 4oz pours so that you can easily create your own flight. But it's the well-stocked coolers that will be most interesting to craft beer nerds; the curated selection is updated weekly and everything is available as a single bottle or can. That make it easy to taste a new brew inside the café or create your own six-pack to take home with you.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Lake View

Since outgrowing its old retail space on Lincoln Avenue, Bitter Pops has moved a few doors north—and added a full-service taproom that offers burgers and fries to go with your beer. The adjacent Bitter Pops bottle shop still stocks a huge selection of craft beer from Chicago and around the world, but if you want to drink on-site, you'll need to head to the taproom nextdoor. Armed with 18 draft lines, plenty of seating and a small sidewalk patio, the wood-paneled taproom carryies on the legacy of Northdown, a beloved brewpub that once made Lakeview a destination for hungry beer nerds.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Bucktown
  • price 1 of 4

A worldly Bucktown bar that houses stacks of old National Geographic magazines and international flags hanging from its ceiling, the Map Room is a great place for beer drinkers who like to exlpore. Begin your expedition by pouring over the menu, which includes drafts from Chicago, Germany, Belgium and beyond. There are beer specials nearly every day of the week and you can always show up early for Intelligentsia coffee, breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

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  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

With locations in Wicker Park and Evanston, the owners of Bangers & Lace have created a miniature empire of beer bars that just happen to serve some great sausages (the titular bangers). The chalkboard draft lists at both locations change frequently, stocked with selections from local favorites like Pipeworks and Solemn Oath served alongside ciders from France and Flemish sour ales from Belgium. Don't be afriad to ask for a recommendation, especially if you're searching for something that will pair perfectly with your rabbit or duck sausage.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Logan Square

Want to try your hand as a bartender? Logan Square's Navitgator Taproom allows you to pour your own beer, choosing from 48 options on tap. Guests purchase credits that are loaded onto a card that can be used to buy beer by the ounce, making it easy to try small amounts of beer before you commit to a full pour. Your options run the gamut, including the latest IPAs from Noon Whistle, imperial stouts from Hubbards Cave and crisp ciders from Right Bee Cider. Once you've poured a few drinks, find a stool, order some food from a nearby restaurant and enjoy an evening with no shortage of beverage options. You can also pour your own growler to go!

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • North Center
  • price 2 of 4

Calling itself "Chicago's Premiere Neighborhood Tavern," this Roscoe Village institution has been serving craft beer long before the term "IPA" entered the vocabulary of most drinkers. Snag the latest release from Phase 3 or Three Floyds and head to the verdant beer garden, where you can sip a beer and enjoy some fresh air. If you have an appetite, the standard menu of fried cheese curds, burgers and tacos should provide the kind of sustenance you crave after a couple two, tree beers.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Avondale
  • price 1 of 4

Located on the corner of a sleepy residential block somewhere between Avondale and Logan Square, SmallBar carries on the legacy of a quintessential neighborhood tavern. Step inside and you're sure to notice a gorgeous arched and mirrored wooden bar, gold-painted tin ceilings, bubbling Lava lamps and an alt-rock-heavy jukebox. The beer selection is fantastic, and snacks like hand-dipped cheese curds and burgers round out the menu.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

A destination for Chicago beer afficionados for nearly 30 years, Sheffield's boats four bars and one of the most beautiful beer gardens in the entire city. Covered by a canopy of leaves, you can explore the various menus of drafts, bottles and cans—it's best to let your server find your drinks for you, unless you enjoy the experience of hopping between bars. Don't leave without sampling the barbecue, including baby back ribs, smoked chicken, brisket and pulled pork. Just try not to get any sauce in your pale ale.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • River North

River North has never been a destination for craft beer lovers, but the folks behind Centennial Crafted Beer + Eatery have provided a cozy spot to sip an IPA while devouring a burger. The tap list is displayed prominently behind the bar and changes out regularly, with selections from local breweries like Alarmist and Metropolitan sitting alongside beer from Germany's Hofbräuhaus and Oklahoma's Prairie Artisan (and there's even more options on the bottle and can list). Nearly every dish on Centennial's menu is accompanied by the optimal style of beer to pair it with, so go ahead and order a kölsch to accompany your Bavarian pretzel or an IPA to wash down the lamb kefta.

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  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

A contemporary beer hall with a sizable beer garden that's perpetually packed during the summer, Kaiser Tiger is equally adept at serving you the latest Une Année creation or a Schlitz tallboy. Take a look at the menu of sausages or enjoy a bacon-wrapped sausage creation known as "The Bomb" before you start exploring the draft, bottle and can lists. With a good mixture of hard-to-find craft beers and reliable standbys on offer, Kaiser Tiger is an equally approachable spot for hop heads and those who don't really care about who brewed the beer they're drinking.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Ukrainian Village
  • price 1 of 4

Part beer bar, part British-Indian food restaurant, Pub Royale is the perfect place to grab a pint and a serving of butter chicken. While you'll nearly always find a hop-forward Half Acre brew on tap, the rest of the beer list embraces less bitter styles—think pilsners, lagers and kölsches. The cocktails here are also great (including several varations on a Pimm's Cup), but you shouldn't skip the Dressed Hamm's: a tallboy of the macrobrew that's piled with hot suace, lime and spiced salt.

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  • Bars
  • Café bars
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

Straddling the divide between Ravenswood and Lakeview, the Longroom is a neighborhood bar always has something good on tap—and a socialable clienetele that will cheerfully chat with you while you drink it. During the early hours of the day, you'll find folks enjoying delicious sandwiches and burritos from the Biscuit Man, served alongside Kickapoo Coffee. But in the evenings, guests line the bar and the tables at the outdoor patio to enjoy a thoughtfully-curated list of local drafts until the Long Room closes up for the night.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

Like quintessential neighborhood bars of yore, this wood-paneled pub is a bastion of congeniality. Trivia nights bring in an eclectic crowd, but unlike your stereotypical Irish bar, there aren't any giant TVs to distract you or pub grub to be tempted by. Instead, much care has been put into the Green Lady's beer list, which eschews frothy pints of Guinness in favor of 15 fresh craft options from a variety of local and national breweries.

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  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Old Town
  • price 1 of 4

A craft beer bar for the Old Town set, this oppulent "pour house" is lined with giant TVs, rows of tables and no less than 90 draft lines stocked with suds for you to enjoy. There's no shortage of options here, from double IPAs to craft lagers and everything in-between. If you're gonna go somewhere to watch the game, why not make sure that it's somewhere with plenty of interesting beers to try?

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