Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
Active Beers: 32
Beer Ratings: 775
Beer Avg: 3.77
Taps: 18 / Bottles: 10
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4
The folks at Map Room wrote me up directions and drew me this little map to Piece on a small paper plate. Head right out front to the corner, hook a right and head to the next light. Not the stop sign, but the light. You turn left and it's a little bit up on the right side. Easy enough, except that the "head to the next light" piece is a major haul along the unplowed sidewalks of January Chicago...
Piece seems to be a large airport hangerish room. Entering through a small triangular entranceway, you're in a small pit area with a half dozen raised bar tables at the foot of a stage (decent Jazz quartet up there playing tonight). A half wall seperates this area from the main dining space and bar. It's a large open space with a few raised bar tables, a half dozen long beer hall type tables, and a dozen low dining tables to the rear. To the front of the room lies a wood semi circle bar with seating for about 2 dozen, fermenters visible through a glass wall behind the bar, strung colored Xmas lighting, and 7 TV's over the bar. The far wall holds an open kitchen with a pizza oven serving up the primary staple here. The menu reads, "Our pizzas are modeled after the famous pizza that originated in New Haven, Connecticut". Mark (the Connecticut kid) was skeptical. I was slightly bent to find that the kitchen closed 10 minutes ago. Grrr!!!
Interesting room. The front wall is all brick with a modern wood beam ceiling and cross hatch support structure. There's a portion of the ceiling, a long strip running the length of the room, made up of arched glass panels on rotaries that hinge, and would reasonably open out upwards to ventilate this room. They claim the panels don't open but I'm pretty sure they do. Maroon and lime green walls with modern paintings throughout. Mike said, "It's a coordinated clash of styles. It's 2 different styles slammed together, but you know what? It works". Having described the concept of a beerfly to my coworkers, they were offering up things to jot down. The statement, "Look, they've got Phil's golf game!!!" was offered up enthusiastically.
In the back back, there's an elevated room with 2 dozen booths and to one side of the entranceway sits a small sunken lounge area with some cushy couches.
I asked for a sampler, but they don't do one. Instead they offered up samples to the 7 house taps (Triple, APA, Dunkel Weisse, Kolsch, Double IPA, Dry Irish Stout, Pils).
The Amarillo Brillo IPA, an Amarillo hop, double IPA, was wonderfully hoppy, the Flat Iron Dry Stout was absurdly dry, roasty, with a slight burnt flavor, and the best of the lot of them was the Dark & Curvy Dunkel Weissen, with a great deep bananananana clovey flavor. We all ended up with a glassful of it.
They've also got 10 guest taps (Sierra Nevada Celebraton & Pale Ale, Lindemans Framboise, Guinness, Hoegaarden, Stella, 3 Floyds Robert the Bruce, Capital Autumn, Bittburger Pils, PBR) and about 10 bottles (Chouffe, Leffe, Duvel, Delirium Tremons, Chimay, Maudite, La Fin Du Monde, Hitchachino White, Berliner Weisse, Czechvar).
It's a good joint, comfortable, beers were solid.
All we are saying, is give Piece a chance.
02-12-2005 17:46:49 | More by slander
4/5 rDev -1.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
Stopped in for lunch, my preferred rendezvous time to visit Piece.
As others have said, the place is spacious but cluttered up with a dozen or so flatscreen TVs. Later weeknights and weekend evenings draw a crowd that leaves a lot to be desired. Try an afternoon, and you should still be able to hold a conversation. In warmer months, the giant picture windows open to the street, which is nice for ventilation.
Barstaff has been friendly on several occasions, my favorite would be the tall brunette with glasses. She knows their beer. Menus describe their taps, which is a plus. Beers are always fresh, so no complaints there. Guest taps usually have something appealing craft-wise, but i'll usually go for a house beer. Table service can be spotty, so -1/2 point there.
Lunch is the most economical time to go, where they offer individual size pizzas for $6 until 5pm. The Sunday special is also a good deal: Large pie and a Growler to go for $25. Santullo's up the street also has a happy hour on their pizza slices: $2 from 4-6pm. Good to hit there before drinking at Piece if you're on a budget.
edit 2008: Beer has always been fresh, and usually of high quality, so +1/2 point.
2012: Have had some good times here recently with larger groups. Weekend afternoons aren't terrible as long as there's no big game on. Guest taps (12) have had some surprises too, YMMV.
06-14-2007 18:56:23 | More by emerge077
3.53/5 rDev -12.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | $$
The entryway was an inverted V/ triangular/wedge shape, in keeping with their logo. The maitre d station was just inside of the door, with the curved, U-shaped bar at a right oblique. The décor was earthy, with sea-foam green and brick red for the walls and the wood top of the bar had a reddish mahogany tone to it. The left part of the space, facing aft, was mostly high tables and chairs with a bank of benches against the wall. Beyond that was a semi-private party room with some really bright abstract paintings on the wall. Above this space, there was a multi-fretted guitar hanging in the overhead as a nod to part owner Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick. The kitchen was straight back, with the washrooms flanking either side. The serving tanks were visible behind the back bar, through a couple of windows. The front wall, which overlooked North Avenue, had a couple of glass and wood panels that could be folded open in good weather. The ceiling featured a steeply angled skylight that ran well over half of the length of the place. They also used a lot of blackboards to announce such things as Daily Specials, Now Pouring, and Upcoming Events, all in colored chalk. I mention this last because it has inspired me to use colored chalk in the classroom as a way to offset my standard white chalk. Finally, I liked the renditions of King Gambrinus atop the tap stations.
Beers: First off, NO samplers! 8=( I started with their Dysfunctionale, an IPA, followed by Surrender, a Biere de Garde. Both were quite good, but I do not feel qualified to comment on their beers if, like Simple Simon, I was unable to taste their wares. Bah!
10-02-2006 08:23:42 | More by woodychandler
4.1/5 rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
I am biased, because an old college friend and ultimate frisbee teammate is one of the owners of this Chicago hot spot. I read alot of positive reviews and I am glad to report that this place did not dissappoint. Larger sized room, multiple levels, a large bar to the right and a large open area in the rear where you can see in to the kitchen that turns out all that tasty New Haven, Ct. style pizza. The crowd was on the younger side (25-35 year olds) when I visited. The game was on the multiple TVs, the vibe was easy going and fun. I tried 3 or 4 differant styles of beer and each was was fresh, tasty and a respectable or better take on the style. Very fun place, I'm sure I would be a frequent partaker in here if I was local. I wish there was a place like this alot closer to northern westchester county , N.Y.!
11-18-2007 19:36:56 | More by Billolick
4.33/5 rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$$
The famous Piece! The just won some award for "Number 1 Independent Pizzeria" in America or whatever. Is that why they're mobbed? And I mean mobbed! Saturday evening there, around 6:00pm.
The wife's luck got us parking right by Piece, both amazed at the comings and goings around North Avenue. Lotta buzz! Bucktown/Wicker Park- a 'hood I ought to explore. 30-minute wait, then some more but we get in, the place is crowded and extremely loud and/or "lively". It looks like everyone and their grandma has come to Piece!
But... service is outrageous. And I mean outrageous. Despite the craziness, we got a server right away and he took care of us. It was a bit like being at Per Se in NYC or one of those exceptional fine-dining restos. You're thinking of having something and the guy materializes himself in front of you with what you were thinking/expecting. Fucked-up good!
The whole thing reminded me of the Dogfish brewpub in Delaware- a loud, crowded joint, three-people-deep at the bar, boisterousness all around. Only here service is WOW and tables are shared, which I like.
8 house brews on tap plus a bunch of guests, including a Bell's sour, New Belgium Grand Cru, Sierra Life&Limb, FFF Alpha King, Half Acre and more. Their house brews were alright good but not amazing. The 10% Anniversary Ale tasted like a Euro Strong Lager, all booze and no subtlety. Fornicator Dopplebock was blah... another lager/ale with lots of alcohol but no complexity (surprisingly, the wife liked it).
Dysfunctional IPA was the winner, a very solid pale ale. I'm giving quality relatively low marks because of my disappointment with the brews, but other than that, they are fresh and varied.
Pizza is a lil' pricey and the ingredients are a tad boring (no gourmet toppings here) BUT OH MY GOD. Best pizza ever! This coming from a New Yorker talking about pizza in Chicago! It is true. Unfreakinbelievably good.
I will make Piece a priority destination next time I'm in Chicago.
10-05-2011 17:27:00 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.25/5 rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$$
Piece is located on the northwest side of Chicago on West North Ave not too far off I-94. Metered parking is available in all directions, however the spots right in front of the place cannot be used until after 6pm.
Inside the wraparound bar can be found on the right side, with highboy tables and booths on the left. The paneled skylight ceiling is high and makes the space feel very open. There are chalkboards that list the available beers, and medals and awards won by Piece are displayed all over. There is a dark red and cream color scheme. One other note related to atmosphere: the men's room is laid out so that there is a clear view to the urinals from the main seating area if that's your thing.
Piece has around 7 beers of their own beers on draught and another 9 or so guest taps. The house beers run from Kölsch to the Dark 'N Curvy Dunkelweizen to an IPA and IIPA. Some slightly more atypical styles like Altbier and Bière de Garde (Worryin' Ale) are available too. All in all the beers are above average to very good, especially the Wack Job Imperial IPA. The brews are available in a sampler too. Guest brews include Bell's, Three Floyds and the like.
Service on an early evening was good, and the place went from relatively empty to practically standing room only in the nearly two hours I was there as the after work crowd started showing up. The Blackhawks were on TV playing my hometown Blue Jackets which I think was part of the draw.
The pizza at Piece is very good. They have some menu pizzas but the recommendation to me was to start with red or white sauce and build my own which is what I did. My creation was delicious if I do say so myself.
Overall I really like this place. If this brewpub was on the ocean it would be neck and neck with Pizza Port as far as my favorite brewpub and pizza place. As it stands it is definitely a place I will try to hit on future trips to Chicago.
04-14-2010 22:45:21 | More by Dogbrick
3.95/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
hmm, interesting place
its a big open space inside with skylights and vaulted cielings...on a tuesday night at 8pm there was a long wait for tables but there was some space at the bar if you staked it out
the bar was a long semi-circle with maybe 25-35 seats and the rest of the space was quite large
there were nice tv's everywhere broadcasting a variety of baseball games and there was great music in the background (heard the magnetic fields, pavement, and some others).
the crowd was pretty shit-tastic though. its on the outskirts of wicker park but doesnt reflect that scene at all - its like lincoln park got lost and overflowed this place...kind of a shame
there was maybe 10 piece taps which spanned a few interesting styles...there was also about 10 guest taps including bear republic, surly, sierra nevada, a few belgians, and a few three floyds. on tap of that there were about 12-15 overpriced belgian bottles. All things considered, lots of great drinking options
the food-fare is pizza, which i didnt try. its not deep dish, so in my opinion it has no place in this city. they were spitting out some massive pizzas though - amongst the biggest i have ever seen
service was fine, but they didnt know shit about beer and this place gave off that whole vibe of being a brewpub catering to and employing people who dont know shit about beer
07-23-2008 04:24:34 | More by dirtylou
3.83/5 rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
This is a really cool place that I try to visit every time I go to Chicago. Fairly decent atmosphere, but pretty open-area, bright and noisy...not too intimate. The crowd can be a little annoying / hipster. The bar is nice though, if you can get a seat. Bartenders are friendly and helpful. They have a good beer selection; good variety of styles with seasonals rotating. The food is tasty, with good quality pizzas...not deep dish actually, but thin crust style, with some good topping options. Prices are mostly reasonable. Good place.
05-08-2011 22:11:33 | More by Rifugium
3.9/5 rDev -3.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stop 2 on the 2nd Chicago CTA Pub Crawl.
First Impressions: Larger then expected and really hopping for a Saturday afternoon, although Im told that it gets 10 times busier.
Service: Considering the size of the crowd that walked in with me they did a fine job. I didnt talk to any wait staff or ask the bartenders any questions but they brought me the beers I ordered quickly and were very friendly to our large group.
Atmosphere: Large warehouse like room with a great ceiling of exposed trusses and glass. Large tables in the center, smaller tables around the walls. A long bar lines one wall. Large pizzas are flying out of a hole in the back wall. They look and smell great.
Selection: 20 or so guest taps are nice to see. To me just seeing them gives Piece a west coast feel since guest taps arent all that common in the Midwest yet. At least 10 of their own beers on tap.
Quality: I tried the Surrender, Moose Knuckle, Dark and Curvy, and DysfunctionAle. The Surrender, a bier de garde of sorts was really smooth and interesting. I could have sessioned that one. The Moose Knuckle was too young of a Barley Wine for my tastes though Im sure that a vintage version of it would be spectacular. Fans of fresh, hoppy ABWs would find it appealing as is. The Dark and Curvy was a pretty run of the mill brew pub dunkelweis, although the Chicago kids really loved it. I guess they dont get many Germanic styles at their brew pubs down in FIB country. Im sad for them. The Dysfuntionale, an IPA, was just a regular old IPA done flawlessly. I really liked it and could have sessioned it as well. Overall, I am very pleased with Pieces line up and quality.
Food: I really want to try a pizza there. They look fantastic. I want one now.
Revisit - 4/7/07: Had a pizza. Ultra thin, greasey, NY style, oddly cut (some pieces were a foot long and three inches wide, others the reverse). Great service, great brews. The Surrender was much hoppier this time around. Upping service by a half point. Wonderful salad!
03-19-2007 17:26:58 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.15/5 rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Hit this place for lunch before they even had the doors unlocked. Large wide open room with skylights and vaulted ceilings. Large, half moon shaped bar with ~30 stools. Various musical paraphernalia on the wall...via Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick, who is a part owner. TV's everywhere and nice background music...but alas no Cheap Trick!
Great selection of beers from the 10 or so Piece offerings to the dozen or so guest taps with the likes of FFF, Surly, Bear Republic and other fine craft brewers.
Food is New Haven, CT style, read thin crust--bucking the deep dish Chicago style, pizza. A bold move here in the City of Big Shoulders! I like it, brought back memories of having fine thin crust pie at Bru Room @ bar in CT! We all ordered pizza and were very happy with it.
The Piece beers were all VERY solid with the winner being the Egyptian Camel Toe, not only for the irreverent name, but also it freakin' ROCKED!
Our server was fine, nothing exceptional, and she did her job without any problem.
Overall a nice visit...I would hate to see this place on a weekend night....it was even getting busy when we left. Parking I imagine can be brutal...this is a place best served by public transport! I happily return but would be cautious what time I visited.
10-01-2008 08:36:10 | More by Deuane
Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in Chicago, IL
91 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.