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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Not Rated.
Rock Bottom Restaurant & BreweryRock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Based on:
475 Beers
3,117 Hads
Place Score: 87
Reviews: 67
Visits: 110
Avg: 3.85
pDev: n/a
Taps: 12
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1 W Grand Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60654-4806
United States
phone: (312) 755-9339

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @rockbottom

Notes:  Linked Beer Listing
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Visits: 110
Photo of mymrnngjckt
2.64/5  rDev -31.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5

Stopped here on a recent visit to Chicago. Only two block from my hotel. Walked in and was able to find the bar after walking around trying to find the bathroom which happened to be upstairs. The bar was pretty packed for a Monday night. Found two seats and ordered up some drinks. The service was OK. The selection was unimpressive. Usual house offerings with only two other offering. Settled on the Hoppy Summer. The beer tasted slightly better than home brew. I thought the place was overly dark like the all of the other Rock Bottom breweries I have been to. All in all, an OK place to stop if you are in the area.

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Photo of TheJudge
2.9/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Rock Bottom is in the near north side which means that is it is located very close to all the shopping trendy parts that tourist love to hit part of town. Take a cab or expect to valet part cause you won't find a parking spot unless you are a local and you now the secret prime locations. When you get into RB they have your typical sports bar/ brewpub schlock on the walls like "olde time" beer signs and giant TVs play any sports that are on at that time.

They usually have the standard 4-5 beers on tap with 1 seasonal and they are all are within style guidelines but still appeal to the masses. If I'm in the area I usually stop in for the seasonal but I don't go out of my way for the usual suspects.

They wait staff is used to dealing with high volume so they are really good at getting what you need and moving on. They always seem nice but they never stay around to answer questions.

The food is typical pub grub and if also appeals to the masses so you are pretty safe with anything you order.

It is a fun place to go if a company has rented out the private rooms and they foot the bill but with so many choices in Chicago it is not one of my typical hangouts.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.08/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

This brewery is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago. Being such its always busy which sucks and forever has has annoying construction around making it tough to get in and out.

The atmosphere is nothing special, its a a regular busy restaurant with a couple tvs throughout. Its too busy and cramped for me.

The quality is ok, they have decent beers of their own making. However, the quality and selection of guest beers is severely lacking.

The service is ok. They are not beer people, but nice enough. Cannot offer you good suggestions.

The selection is pretty weak, usually only 5-6 of their brews and not much of a choice of anything else.

The food bar food, and average at that. For the restaurant it is, it should be a lot better.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was staying at the Embassy Suites down the street so this place was the nearest beerworthy joint. Went there on two occasion and although I was please with the overall experience, I wasnt really expecting much from this chain. I will say this was my best experience of the chain.

Went on Friday night and it was slammed with thirtysomethings so service was really bad. Ordered a Belgian Wit and received a pale ale. It thought it would be okay when the server said "This one is on us". Whenever I got the bill, there was the wrong beer on there. I knew if I disputed it would take 30 minutes so I accepted the beer anyway (my wife drank it). Went on Saturday afternoon for a LATE lunch (like 2pm) and service was still pretty lame although the joint was pretty empty.

Beers were actually pretty good. I had the American Stout, the pale ale, the Belgian Wit, a 13 anniversary ale, and a HopFunWeizen (american wheat) and all were enjoyable with the stout being my favorite.

Chose a mushroom swiss burger that was pretty good. Fries were kind of old and cold and chewy due to the late lunch.

Pricey beers but I guess that is Chicago. Most were in the $5-$6 range, which was typical of all of Chicago. Went twice so I enjoyed it!

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Photo of BeerZack
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of sleazo
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

There are a few things I loke about this location of rock Bottom. First there is the roof deck which is great for the summer and offers nice views of downtown Chicago. The second thing is this place seems to have better quality seasonals than other locations. I had a Bourbon Barrel aged Brown bear ale which I thought was excellent. Other than that it was the typical Rock Bottom beers. The IPA I had was pretty bad, it tasted like hop pellets and nothing else. The food is typical Rock Bottom which you would find anywhere. It happens to be across the st from y friends house so it is a good choice for the area.

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Photo of mikes2923
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

It may be a chain, but not all chains are inherently bad and this is no exception. Is it the Taj Mahal for beer lovers? No. But they have a respectable selection of above average to even "good" beers, a nice comfortable atmosphere, those cool "pitchers" that look like a cross between a beer bong and a keg complete with tapper, and some pretty decent food. All in all, if you happen to be in a neighborhood with one nearby you really can't go wrong.

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Photo of larsee01
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Definitely a fun place to go...conversationally challenged. Always crowded, but a good crowd. Pool hall/bar area an upscale version of the cookie cutter brewpubs.

This place is BIG! Polite service suffers slightly due to elbow-to-elbow crowds stretching the staff. Adjacent restaurant serves good food and a wide selection.

I've been here several times, but the memory that really lingers is an AMAZING seasonal "Belgian Dark" that I had. I wish I could remember more details, other than this thing was double-digit ABV which essentially erased many of my memories from that night. It sure was easy-drinking and sessionable that evening!

Overall a fun meeting place.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I visited Rock Bottom for both lunch (fairy empty) and a late dinner (pretty busy) during a weekend in Chicago.

The atmosphere was pretty decent. The building and location were great. Multi-floor, brick building with lots of wood and stone accents. Upstairs were the bathrooms and what looked like conference or banquet areas. Downstairs was the bar and dining area (which I never sat in...see below). The bar had a bunch of televisions, but they were all on a horse race undercard for lunch and Sportscenter at dinner. For me a sports bar is all or nothing. Either get a bunch of different games going (or the big ticket match) or don't bother.

There beers were pretty good. I had a red and an IPA. The red was really good, the IPA was pretty bad (either too young or way over-hopped).

Service was decent. During both the lunch and dinner visit we were greated at the door and asked how many were in the party. Both times we were also told to find a seat in the bar. I'm not sure why we weren't offered a spot in the dining area, but no big whoop. During the lunch the place wasn't busy. It took forever to get a beer, but our food came really quickly. The server told us about the special, but also suggested we try their version of a domestic light (a little disappointed there). At dinner things took longer, but our server came back to check up on us a lot. She didn't mention the specials.

About a dozen or so beers on tap. A nice variety of regular offerings, seasonals, and special one-time brews.

Food was hit or miss. Had a good burger and fries for lunch and about the most bland Rueben sandwich for dinner.

It was a bit pricey. I assume I'll pay a bit more in a bigger city, but they seemed to overdo it a bit. Regular pints were in the $5.50-$6 range with specialties going for a bit more. The special was a pint of their red for $3 (good deal in my book).

I'd go back with a group that wanted some beers with a meal, but I wouldn't make a trip just hit this place again.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

A very nice brewpub that gets alot of crap because it's part of a chain. However, Rock Bottom is a very well run chain - probably the best in the country right now. The food is good, the service is good, and the beers are good - even if somewhat limited. But some of the specialty brews are great. The only thing that brings this location down for beer guys is that it get's alot of tourist traffic and it's overly crowded at the bar on weekends. If you're in this part of town during the day, check it out!

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Photo of kensuthe
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Atmosphere - We stopped in for a bite to eat and to grab a couple drinks after the long drive up to Chicago from Baton Rouge, somewhere around 9pm on a Wednesday night. We sat in the bar area, and there were Cubs and White Sox games on the televisions along the wall. The bar area has a bricks, wood, tables, and booths look and feel to it. The crowd was younger and trendier than I remembered from the last time I had come here, but that wasn't a bad thing. The place was full without being packed, and different groups of people were coming in and out the entire time we were there.

Quality - We each had two beers, and they were all pretty good and served in appropriate glassware. Two of our beers, the Eric the Red and the Dublin Irish Stout, seemed to have slightly less carbonation than I would have expected, but the flavor wasn't off so it could have just been the after effects of driving for 15 hours.

Service - The place was busy, but our server was a little slow refilling drinks and taking new drink orders. He also failed to explain that the beer menu on the table is not what is available at all times, since Rock Bottom rotates certain beers among certain styles during the year but the menu does not change to reflect this. This wasn't too much of a problem to figure out, but I'd rather hear it from the server than be left to figure it out on my own after a beer that is different from what I ordered is brought to the table.

Selection - There are six basic choices on tap to choose from, with one or two extra offerings on top of that depending on the time of year. Some of the styles rotate seasonally, so you'll see the same style on the menu but it might be a different beer that you're ordering.

Food - The food was okay, better than the average bar room food but pretty average compared to a decent restaurant. We had the hickory burger which was severely lacking in barbeque sauce and the bourbonzola burger which was pretty good, and a couple appetizers to go along with it. We stayed away from the pizza, at the suggestion of the server.

Value - It was slightly more expensive than similar dining experiences in the area, but it was still affordable and worth the prices. The beer was cheaper than the food. I'd probably pick something else if I had the option, but it's definitely not a painful experience to eat or drink here.

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Photo of jamescain
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Happened to be walking and saw this place and decided to have dinner there (can't go to a new city and not visit a brewery). They let you try the beer, which is brewed at location, so that was nice. The food was decent, not bad but not exceptionally good. Then best beer that I tried was the Terminal Stout, but other than that the other beers were a little flavorless. The cask ale was old and had a watery taste to it and the IPA was the worst IPA I have ever had, tasted like lemonade. But other than that it was a nice place, although I probably won't go back, too many other places in Chicago.

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Photo of beertooth
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

The food is on par with Applebee's or some place like that and is a little overpriced. Although, they do have some cheaper lunch specials. The crowd gets loud and is mostly made up of loopers having a beer after work, or at least when I've been there.

The beer is the best thing about this place. Pete is a great brewer and pulls off some wonderful barrel aged beers and great stouts. I've had some tasty IPAs there as well. With that in mind, the beer selection is hit or miss. Sometimes they'll have some special stuff on and sometimes not.

It's worth a stop for a couple of mugs if you're in the loop, but skip the food and try to block out the crowd.

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Photo of mgobrew
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

We went here after dinner for a few beers on the rooftop beer garden. The beer garden was nice change of pace for the downtown area although they only allowed drinking from plastic cups which I understand but it does take away points for quality. The beer selection was average with one seasonal offering and 4 others currently on tap. I started with the Chicago Gold Pale Ale and it was nice but I would prefer a bit more bite, but that’s just me being a hop head. The seasonal was a lager that was perfect for this blue collar Midwestern “Old Style” kind of town. This beer would be perfect while watching a game in the sun at Wrigley or Comiskey (Sorry I will not dignify the corporate moniker). It was smooth and refreshing and went down easy with just the right mix of malt and hops. Well done! The service was good even though one waiter covered the whole garden. I’m sure they have more when it is busy but it was full and another minimum wage server would have made for quicker service and happier customers. Not a high price to pay to insure good service customer satisfaction in my opinion. But that being said it was a nice experience and it would not deter me from returning.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

conveniently located if you're downtown visiting in the loop. if you're just interested in beer while in this part of town, you're better off going to the clark street ale house down the street. if you want food or a larger venue then this place is fine. this place is quite big and the decor is the same as other rock bottoms. i rate this higher due to the rooftop area with a decent view of the city and it's overall scale. there is also an entertainment room (pool, darts, etc.) and probably other shit i missed. typical lineup of rock bottom standard brews and monthly special release beers. selection suffers due to no guest beers as with all RBs.the brewer here is pretty good. as such, the monthly specialty beers will be better recieved by beer geeks than the standards. service was prompt and helpful. food was good, i had the buffalo (no, not spicy chicken) fajitas which were quite tasty. way better than beef. prices are reasonable, especially given that it's in a pricey part of downtown chicago.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Second time here, first time reviewing.
Great service and I went to have dinner with my family.
One Belgian on tap was the most unique seasonal. Good porter on tap and the Erik the Red was decent. I will not turn my nose up to Rock Bottom. They still turn out quality brews. Food has always been very good. They used to have a Monte Cristo sandwhich that was to die for. Not on the menu this time. Very convenient in the downtown area. I have never been disappointed with my dining or drinking at this palce.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Basically in downtown Chicago a few blocks from every place, this Rock Bottom is typically clean with wood and shiny brass like a hotel lobby. To the left of the entry it has a dozen or so stools at a bar with table seating that looks out to the street through large windows. An equally large bar area with tables and a big screen tv is to the right of the entrance.Upstairs is a roof top lounge with a great view of the city streets with all the people walking around.This Thursday night in July the roof was basically a meat market, with 20 somethings sucking down yellow beers and margaritas while trying not to look too self conscious.
Service was good and savvy to the beer offerings. We had the brewery beer and cheese taster which offers 3 beers along with some tasty cheese, sausage, and crackers.
The beers are pretty good all around, this visit they offered up a coffee porter and the American Dream IPA as the seasonals.
A good place to go if you're downtown on a trip or something , but the Chi town cabbies and expensive parking would keep me from driving here very often.

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Photo of 98green
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in at 8pm on Halloween Saturday. Was the only place that wasn't completely packed, so that is a plus for me. The beer is fine but not spectacular.

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in for a couple of pints with a colleague after dinner (up the street in old town).

Very large bar area and very crowded for 9:30 on a Tuesday night.

They had about 8 beers on tap but no hoppy IPA which is what I'm after.

I had a red that was described as aggressively hopped with centennial and I think cascade but I didn't pick up much of it in the beer. Also had a Chicago gold that was a pale ale in the pac nw style and was a pretty good session beer. Ended with the smoked juniper porter which was nice and would have been much better served on a beer engine.

Good location to grab a beer right off the Mag Mile. There's also a Binney's right around the corner.

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Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Came here with my girlfriend and parents while living in Chicago. Gorgeous, swanky interior, lots going on, fairly loud music with patrons by the bar and couples/families seated for dinner. We chose a booth by the window away from the crowd. My dad and I split a flight of seven different beers, including the American Dream IPA, Brown Bear Dark Ale, Terminal Stout, and Line Drive Light, among others. All of the brews were mediocre to above average. For food I went with the Creole Jambalaya, we all split the Brewery Nachos, and everyone enjoyed their entrees. This is a great place to have some drinks and a meal with friends or family, just don't expect much from the beer lineup.

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Photo of Czap
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This is a very good brewpub for what is essentially a chain restuarant. That is probably mostly do to the fact that they give the brewers at every one of their locations the freedom to put their own spin and influence into each of the styles. I really like that and respect that.

I have found myself at this location a number of times. I always enjoy myself. The beer is solid and sometimes I will come across one that is very tasty. I always get a flight, since the stout you tasted last year will not be like the stout they have tonight. That goes for all their styles. They have a nice menu and I have never had a bad meal.

All in all, this is a very safe place. If you find yourself with a bunch of swill drinkers, this place is a good idea. It will keep you happy as well as have plenty of safe choices for their unseasoned tastebuds.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.85/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

A: Lots of people and games on TV. Some cheers as Detroit hit a couple home runs, obviously people are here for sports in addition to the beer and food. Smelled absolutely exquisite when we walked in. We only planned on getting apps, but I'd love to try a steak next time.

Q: Pretzels were awesome, beer was good, too. Some were better than others, but good overall.

S: Our waiter, Ricky, was on point. Very knowledgeable about the beers and if he didn't know an answer, he found out for us. I'd ask for him in the future.

S: Only perused the appetizers, but lots to choose from. Like I said, I'd love to try something more hearty next time.

F: The pretzels were awesome.

I didn't realize this was a chain, but it was impressive. I look forward to going back again.

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Photo of TheBear11D
3.85/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a brewery tour of Rock Bottom during a bachelor party. The host of the tour was exceptional and I believe his name is Kevin. He had a great knowledge of beer and the brewery.

The atmosphere is pretty enjoyable. They have a rooftop view which is pleasant, but they do not have all their beers available up there and we were not informed of this so that was pretty lame. Our waitress was decent, but I do not think she ever smiled. She should have been ecstatic to have 10 guys drinking plenty of beers and eating food while tipping well, but she likely lost some tip in her lack of a single smile.

The food was wonderful. Everything you want in pub food. Their homemade chips were an excellent addition to the burger. The beers complimented the food well. For Chicago the price is pretty solid. I actually anticipated playing a little more.

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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Chicago, IL
87 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.