Before You Go Liquors (1917 W Fullerton Ave, 773-789-0050)
The Midwestern microbrew focus, occasional Friday tastings, you-pick six-packs and rarities like Three Floyds’ Blackheart and Half Acre’s Meat Wave make this strip-mall standout worth braving the horrific six-corner intersection.
F&R Liquors Inc. (2129 S Halsted St, 312-421-3031)
The brothers who run this Pilsen gem have solid taste in beer, stocking their coolers with seasonals, limited releases and Belgian bombers.
Foremost Liquors (1040 W Argyle St, 773-989-0808)
This Uptown joint’s bulb-lined sign was erected in the 1950s; the 400-label-strong beer selection has beckoned geeks for almost a decade.
Hollywood Pantry (1301 W Hollywood Ave, 773-769-4000)
A 2010 face-lift of this shoebox-size Edgewater convenience store brought Friday and Saturday beer and wine tastings (6–9pm) and a solid stock of craft-beer selections, including cult faves Unibroue and Dogfish Head.
Kimbark Liquors & Wine Shop (1214 E 53rd St, 773-493-3355)
Defying its simple strip-mall location, Kimbark has the best beer selection on the South Side, from countless American microbrews to obscure imports from Brazil, Estonia and Austria.
Maria’s Packaged Goods (960 W 31st St, 773-890-0588)
Nearly 400 different beers are squeezed into this Bridgeport corner store, which holds free tastings Tuesdays from 8–10pm and hides a tiny bar just through the door to the left of the register.
Tabb’s Food & Liquor (2600 W Chicago Ave, 773-292-0735)
Beer-geek owner Freddy Chehade offers a constant rotation of seasonals, including new arrivals such as Two Brothers’ Hop Juice, Lagunitas’s Lucky 13 and Hoppin’ Frog’s Turbo Shandy.