Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Active Beers: 440
Beer Ratings: 2,616
Beer Avg: 3.74
Taps: 12 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 66 | Display Reviews Only:
4.4/5 rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
While in Chicago one of my friends told me he went to this place and wanted to go again. I figured it would be like a Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and nothing special, prolly bland beer with mediocre food and shoddy service. But it was lunchtime and my hangover was starting to kick in. I needed lunch and maybe a beer or two so a group of us went. Well, shit, I was way off the mark here! The service was quite knowledgable about their beers and he was very friendly, already better than the GRBC and their shitty service. Their sampler deal was a good deal so I went with that. The beer was exceptional for a national chain standards. This brewer knows his stuff, its obvious. Each beer had a solid flavor and some were exceptional. Plus, the best part, they had a bourbon barrel aged imp. stout and a bourbon barrel aged barleywine on tap!!! And they were both awesome, simply incredible. The food was solid and large in size. I had an chesse dip appetizer which was really thick and slightly spicy. Then the pulled pork sandwich which was really big and really juicy, not dry at all. The fries were weak and too greasy and thin. I liked this place so much I had to go back a few more times in my relatively short stay, it was also b/c of where i was staying and the fact i could walk there and back easily. Don't miss this place, next time I would like to meet the brewer and give him my congrats on such a good job.
11-24-2004 18:48:11 | More by granger10
4.33/5 rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I liked this location. There are quite a few neat things that I noticed they were doing. First off, they had this 'rake-like' device that they used to transport and pass out the samplers. You basically will have to visit and check it out, I couldn't do it justice. Also this is the first bar that I've seen that has coathangers mounted underneath the bar and bar tables. This is a good idea!
The beers were good. At the time we visited they had 7 beers on tap. From a golden ale to a porter and an American IPA. Most of the beers were brewed to style and none of them tasted stale or old. But they weren't anything too exciting either.
The food and the service were very good. Our server wasn't too learned in the ways of beer, but he sure did know how to get us our beer and our food in lickety split time.
Don't let the fact that this is a chain brewpub discourage you.
07-06-2004 16:59:25 | More by beerinator
3.34/5 rDev -13.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5
Really big, really busy restaurant/sportsbar type. Besides the big touristy feel to the place, the experience was nice. The sampler included about 8 different beers (but I was dissapointed the stout was out), so selection was acceptable. Erik the Red ale surprised me with its impressive hop crispness and drinkability and the Brown ale was rich and dark. This place can definately make a few good beers, but I doubt I would go back for them - at least not on any weekend or game nights, just too big of a hassle with the crowd and limited seating.
06-23-2004 18:50:38 | More by BeerZack
3.88/5 rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3
I know.. this is a corporate brewpub. The thought of praising what is normally a monolithic chain is a bit anathema to my prefered style of thinking, but RB has done a lot to grant some more beer knowledge to the masses. Praise em for that..
And praise whoever unleashed brewmaster Pete Crowley at this location. Pete is easily one of the most creative guys working inside of a corporate structure these days. Where else could you go to a Rock Bottom and find that the guy has been making his own barrel aged lambics (which he kindly shared with us during the AHA pre-conference pub crawl) Every one of Pete's specialities is at the very least, not boring.
As for the particular location, this place is right in the heart of downtown and is fricking huge.Tons of space and big screens alond with an impressively sized main bar. During the warmer months there's a big upper deck that overlooks State and Grand.
This probably is the best location in the whole chain so don't pass it up just because it looks like another corporate location.
04-12-2004 11:45:39 | More by drewbage
2.9/5 rDev -25.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3
I guess the beer was above average. Part of the rockbottom chain. I wanted to know if the porter made here was the same as the porter made in Cleveland, but noone could answer my question. Even e-mailed to Rockbottom, but got no response.
The Chicago Gold was so/so. Kind of light bodied, low in flavor. The Erik the Red was pretty good, as were the brown bear ale and walleye wheat. So the beer was above average. But the selection was lacking. They were out of something (I don't remember what), so had only 5 beers on tap.
We sat for some time before someone came over to take our drink order. Then sat for some more time waiting for them to come. Then sat some more time waiting for food order to be taken. Then sat even more waiting for the food. It wasn't really worth the wait.
Took two growlers to go out with us. Probably the best move we made. Not bad price wise, but to go and drinking them in the hotel room certainly served us better.
02-19-2004 20:39:04 | More by TheJudge
4.08/5 rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
My company had an outing here. I'm glad the planer is a beer fan!.
Nice large space, plenty of room to stretch out. Nice lively crowd adds to the fun.
My bartender was very good. He was able to tell me about all the beers and did not get tired of my questions.
I liked the food. We were served from a buffet, but the food was tasty. Nice appetizers as well.
I had not been in a Rock Bottom for about 5 years and I was surprised about how much the beer has improved. I liked the Wheat & the red, but the IPA was the best in class. Unfortunately, they did not have a stout or porter available that evening.
This is well worth a stop if you find yourself downtown. Very enjoyable indeed!
01-15-2004 19:09:47 | More by Redrover
4.18/5 rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
This place is incredibly huge! The bar itself is not that large, maybe 20 seats, but there was a dining area near the bar that would be as big as most brewpubs. Then they have another large dining area to the left as you walk in, an upstairs hall, and a rooftop beer garden. Most of the regular beers were in the somewhat boring range expected at a big chain brewpub. But I had an Oktoberfest lager that was very good and the Dunkleweizen they had while I was there was outstanding. I would go back just for this beer alone. Food was typical of the Rock Bottom menus elsewhere. Sevice was very attentive without being too in your face. Bartender let me sample most of the beer and was very knowledgeable about the beer and ingredients used. Sidewalk on Grand smells like young punks who can't handle their beer throw up out there on a regular basis.
10-20-2003 20:13:27 | More by Longstaff
3.7/5 rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4
Brewmaster Pete Crowley has done what he can to improve the beer selection. Not much he can do with the regular taps, that seem to be the same across the chain, but his specials have been impressive. His Double Barrel IPA was a good competitor in the IBU wars, and his Illinois Common (part of a cometition among the Illinois Craft Brewers to create a beer from the same recipe, in this case Steam) was a nice surprise. Pete's helped support the local homebrew scene, and once I just wandered in after work and he invited me up to the roof where they were sampling mead. Lots of mead.
The food is indeed a notch above a typical Chili's; meaning it's very serviceable, but priced very reasonably considering its yuppie location. The roof garden is a great place to enjoy a beer, even as the view is becoming blocked by more and more overpriced condo high-rises. Parking is very pricey in that region, but there's also a CTA station right at that corner. The waitstaff was very good, and made an effort to know about the beer. A worthwhile dining place, and you've got a chance at a good beer, too.
09-23-2003 13:32:48 | More by DrunkMcDermott
4.35/5 rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5
Rock Bottom/Chicago: I used to hit this place quite frequently, but stopped because the beer was just so-so. However, Rock Bottom hired a new head brewer (Pete Crowley), and rededicated themselves to making fine beers. I was impressed with their offerings at the real ale festival, and much more impressed with their offerings last night (reviews to come).
The place is quite large, but unfortunately the bar itself is kind of small, with not much seating. There is a wonderful beer garden on the roof, and it is definitely worth a stop.
I sat down with a pint of Mai Bock, and asked a few questions of the waiter in anticipation of buying a sampler. Not only did the waiter know his stuff, he substituted an oatmeal stout for the light, and brought me a total of NINE samples, including the barleywine that they were just tapping. All were above average and some were exceptional.
Rock Bottom was hosting the American Homebrewers Association that night, and I had a chance to meet fellow BA Drew, and Pete Crowley and his fairly new assistant brewer (whose name Ive forgotten) were there and I had quite an amiable chat with them, while sampling more barleywine. I understand Rock Bottom frequently hosts such gatherings, which is terrific.
The food I had was quite tasty, and some of the other diners around me had nice looking chops and steaks. They have a full menu as far as I could tell.
I had a wonderful time, and this place is now on my short list of places to recommend to friends and visitors.
06-19-2003 09:49:44 | More by jackndan
4.1/5 rDev +5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
This place is pretty damn large. It's very "tourist oriented". Great beer is to be drank nonetheless. I tried an irish-style dry stout, hefeweizen, and their new maibock...all of which were wonderful. The service was pretty good considering how crowded it was. Don't go there on the weekend nights to enjoy beer. It'll be loud and crowded. They have a couple rotating cask-conditioned beers, and a few specialties that rotate, which is nice since the regular beer menu only has six to choose from.
The food is great, amazing salads and one heluva chicken sandwich. I prefer Goose Island's brewpub over this one since it's not as touristy. But this place is not to be overlooked when visiting Chicago.
04-24-2003 20:27:46 | More by AudioGilz
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Chicago, IL
87 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.