Chicago Reader | Bar Guide | Bar | Craft Beer

Craft Beers

Recommended Craft Beers

  • Au Cheval
    Au Cheval West Loop/Fulton Market
    Open till 2 AM Monday through Saturday (1 AM on Sunday), Brendan Sodikoff's "diner" boasts curated classic cocktails and 30 craft beers on tap. —Mike Sula
  • The Aviary
    The Aviary West Loop/Fulton Market  1
    There are plenty of cocktails to marvel at while visiting Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’s cocktail lounge—now under the supervision of former Drawing Room bartender Charles Joy—and in general they’re well balanced and delicious. But that’s not why you came. »
  • The Bad Apple
    The Bad Apple North Center
    This spacious three-room bar always seems to be at least a little crowded, even at what ought to be dead hours, and it's not hard to see why—it has great burgers (I've heard it described as "Kuma's without the wait"), »
  • Bangers & Lace
    Bangers & Lace Wicker Park/Bucktown
    Bangers & Lace evokes a traditional hunting lodge, complete with a deer head on the wall and other stuffed game animals scattered about. It's a classy place, though, with lace curtains on the tall windows and 32 taps topped by »
  • Big Star
    Big Star Wicker Park/Bucktown
    No matter the time of day, a wait is practically guaranteed at this U-shaped bar manned by bartenders who spin classic country and honky-tonk on vinyl. Here are well-engineered cocktails alongside cheap domestic beers, and if you can't decide between »
  • Delilah's
    Music Bar
    Delilah's Lincoln Park
    Imagine if every last bit of grit, street cred, authenticity, and tattooed flesh in all of Lincoln Park were forced into one delightfully creaky, dimly lit, two-story bar. Wait, that actually happened. And if that's not enough, the whiskey selection »
  • DryHop Brewers
    Craft Beer
    DryHop Brewers Lakeview
    Behind the bar at Lakeview's DryHop Brewers are six shiny beer tanks, striking against the red tile wall. Behind the food these days is chef Joel Pillar, a veteran of the Purple Pig, who’s designed a small-plates menu for pairing, »
  • Dusek's Board & Beer
    Dusek's Board & Beer Pilsen/Little Village
    Beer-centric tavern helmed by chef Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle, with two dozen craft brews on tap.
  • Emporium Arcade Bar
    Arcade bar
    Emporium Arcade Bar Wicker Park/Bucktown  1
    The people behind Emporium are pioneers in Chicago barcade culture; they established this Wicker Park spot in June 2012, just a handful of months before Lakeview’s Headquarters Beercade opened. Emporium’s the superior option—the craft beers are slightly cheaper, the games »
  • Farmhouse Tavern
    Craft Beer
    Farmhouse Tavern Near North
    The concept here isn't exactly groundbreaking: seasonal farm-to-table food, with a local focus that extends to the beer, wine, and cocktail menus. It is, however, well executed—and that makes all the difference. When I go back—and I will—I'll probably take »
  • The Globe Pub
    The Globe Pub North Center
    This North Center spot seemingly shows every professional soccer game played anywhere in the world at any time (rugby, Australian Rules football, and plain old American sports get their due as well). Team scarves cover virtually every inch of wall »
  • GMan Tavern
    Craft Beer
    GMan Tavern Wrigleyville

    The back room at this friendly joint in a beautiful old wedge-shaped corner building has two lamp-lit pool tables, a black-and-white tile floor, a good jukebox, and eclectic vintage decor. The big front-room bar offers a huge selection of »

  • Hopleaf
    Hopleaf Andersonville  7
    Ever since I moved here in 1996, Hopleaf has been my favorite beer bar in Chicago. It’s most famous for its fetishistic selection of Belgian beers—more than a third of the two downstairs bars' 64 taps on any given day, »
  • Hutch
    Hutch Lakeview
    Based on its silly one-word name, its location on Bro Row, and its self-identification as an "American bistro," I expected Hutch—a rehaul of the Lakeview bistro Socca—to be douchebag central. I owe it a big apology. There may have been »
  • Jaks Tap
    Jaks Tap West Loop/Fulton Market  1
    Friendly, casual West Loop sports bar peopled with regulars and folks from the neighborhood. There are 40 microbrews on tap, and the menu is more substantial than you'll find at most: in addition to the usual sandwiches and burgers there »
  • Joie de Vine
    Joie de Vine Ravenswood
    The cocktail menu at Joie de Vine is literally nonexistent. In its place is a brief paragraph explaining that if you tell the bartenders what spirits and flavors you like, they'll make you a drink tailored to your tastes. It's »
  • Local Option
    Local Option Lincoln Park  1
    With a handwritten sign inside reading "Welcome Nerds (You Know Who You Are)," custom neon for Mikkeller and Evil Twin above the bar, and a huge skull-and-crossbones mural whose German motto translates to "Shit beer will kill you," Local Option »
  • Logan Arcade
    Craft Beer
    Logan Arcade Logan Square
    Logan Arcade is the third member inducted into the community of Chicago barcades, just behind Emporium and Headquarters. Jim Zespy and crew moved their vinyl shop, Logan Hardware, three blocks west and built a King of Kong-themed mecca, complementing an »
  • Lone Wolf
    Craft Cocktails
    Lone Wolf West Loop/Fulton Market
    Lone Wolf has capitalized on the West Loop’s popularity as a dining destination, positioning itself as a place to get pre- or postmeal drinks and snacks, or to have a drink while waiting for a table at a nearby restaurant. »
  • Long Room
    Music venue
    Long Room Lakeview
    As the name would indicate, the Long Room is a shotgun-style bar, with tables along the facing wall allowing a thin walkway to a back room with a couple more tables and a few booths. It's always been a welcoming »
  • Longman & Eagle
    Longman & Eagle Logan Square
    At Longman & Eagle the throngs are as apt to tie up the tables early Monday evening as they are late Friday night. Good thing there's a craft cocktail list delectable (and affordable) enough to make it worth sampling just »
  • Map Room
    Music venue
    Map Room Wicker Park/Bucktown
    The Map Room honors its name with a huge relief map painted on the wall, flags of the world hanging from the ceiling, and an impressive draft list—26 taps and one firkin—that's roughly half imports, with regular appearances by Stiegl »
  • Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar
    In August 2010 arts raconteur Ed Marszewski transformed his mother's packaged-goods bar into one of the city's premier watering holes for international craft beers and whiskeys. The bar offers more than 450 brews in bottles and on tap, along with »
  • Owen & Engine
    Owen & Engine Logan Square
    This gastropub strategically sited across from a multiplex is decked out to resemble the place your great-granda headed for after the grouse hunt. A certified cicerone just might visit your table midmeal and insist on pouring sample pairings, with detailed »
  • The Owl
    4 AM Bar
    The Owl Logan Square
    There's a waterfall behind the bar—that’s definitely something. Fortunately, though, the 4 AM spot brought to Logan Square by the people behind Estelle's, Easy Bar, and Alive One has a handful of other amenities, including a solid rotation of 17 »
  • The Publican
    The Publican West Loop/Fulton Market
    On a busy night diners can wait upwards of an hour to knock elbows with their neighbors at communal tables at this shrine to pork, oysters, and beer. But the food, under executive chef Paul Kahan and chef de cuisine »
  • Punch House
    Craft Cocktails
    Punch House Pilsen/Little Village
    This concept from the team behind Longman & Eagle is even more ambitious and impressive than Michelin-starred L&E itself. Here they've transformed Pilsen's historic Thalia Hall into a restaurant, Dusek's, and an upstairs concert venue as well as this basement »
  • The Radler
    The Radler Logan Square
    Logan Square's first Bavarian-style beer hall offers a changing locally brewed "haus" beer engineered to pair well with food and not fill you up too much should you opt for a liter rather than a half-liter stein. (It's also used »
  • Revolution Brewing Company
    Craft Beer
    Beer geeks drain the house brews here faster than brewer Jim Cibak can produce them. Lines of stoic bearded dudes stream in and back out again with biceps curled around growlers of hoppy IPAs, roasty stouts, and spicy Belgian-style brews, »
  • Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar
    Wine Bar
    Dark and comfy, with an outdoor patio that in the warmer months brightens an otherwise stark intersection, this is a fine spot to take a sip or two from an intriguing list of small-batch beverages, including a passel of interesting »
  • Scofflaw
    Craft Cocktails
    Scofflaw Logan Square
    A rebellious mix of the baroque and the affordable, Scofflaw makes a perfect square of Logan Square's premier cocktail destinations (Lula, Longman & Eagle, the Whistler). Head mixologist and co-owner Danny Shapiro has mixed more than his fair share of »
  • Simone's
    Simone's Pilsen/Little Village
    This resto-pub is a poster child for repurposed materials—benches in each booth were constructed from old safety belts, chandeliers are industrial clusters of mismatched lamps, wood was reclaimed from Westinghouse High School—but the drinks and food transcend the spectacle. American »
  • Small Bar Division
    Small Bar Division Ukrainian Village/East Village
    This cozy establishment was voted the country's best soccer bar in a 2010 U.S. Soccer Federation poll, and I'm voting it the only tolerable place to have a beer on the stretch of Division between Damen and Western. In fact, »
  • Sportsman's Club
    Craft Cocktails
    Sportsman's Club Humboldt Park
    Heisler Hospitality's revamp of an old Polish dive, featuring craft beers and "spirit-forward" cocktails from barmen Wade McElroy (Trenchermen, Barrelhouse Flat) and Jeff Donahue (Barrelhouse Flat, the Aviary). Sporting the occasional dead animal head, the bar is cash only, with »
  • Twisted Spoke
    Twisted Spoke West Town/Noble Square

    Don't let the motorbike and its skeleton rider rotating on the post outside put you off: Twisted Spoke is a top-notch beer bar with a selection of whiskeys (almost 400) to rival Delilah's. Sure, there's plenty of ersatz bad-boy attitude, »
  • Vincent
    Vincent Andersonville
    Originally Dutch-inspired, this pleasant European-style bistro and bar features a farm-to-table menu including moules frites and house-made charcuterie. There are a dozen gins and genevers, along with craft beers and craft cocktails, and the patio is dog friendly. —Kate Schmidt
  • Ward Eight
    Craft Cocktails
    Ward Eight Evanston
    At this craft cocktail bar from Anne Carlson and Cody Modeer, formerly of In Fine Spirits, there's a full spectrum of expertly mixed potions, from light effervescences like the gin-and-sparkling-wine French 75 to bitter boozers like the rye-Fernet Toronto, all »
  • Weegee's Lounge
    Craft Cocktails
    Weegee's Lounge Logan Square
    Aside from offering an expertly prepared gin rickey, sidecar, and old-fashioned, this joint is arguably the most tolerable locale with a shuffleboard table in the city. Located off the Logan Square beaten path of cool, the dimly lit, rarely too »

Craft Beers

Search for a bar.

Agenda Teaser

Other Stuff
Chicago Reader Member Pin Party City Winery Riverwalk
June 17
Galleries & Museums
Where is the Reward LVL3 Gallery
June 15

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories