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Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen

Not Rated.
Duke's Alehouse & KitchenDuke's Alehouse & Kitchen

30 Ratings
Ratings: 30
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 13.94%
Taps: 20
Bottles: 165
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

110 N Main St
Crystal Lake, Illinois, 60014-4433
United States
phone: (815) 356-9980

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @dukesalehouse

Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Thursday: 11:30am – 1:00am
Friday - Saturday: 11:30am – 2:00am

Kitchen Hours:
Sunday - Thursday: 11:30am – 9:00pm

(Place added by: circuitmonkey on 07-13-2005)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stupid_outfit
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%

Great beer list for something so far out in the 'burbs. Good selection of rotating drafts. They do a decent job of keeping everything on the list in stock (which is totally frustrating if what you want isn't there!) They are often understaffed on busy nights, but the servers/bartenders who are there provide good service-it's just slow due to customer load.

Food is pretty good and different from the usual suburban fare. They focus on local sources which I appreciate.

If you're feeling social join their beer club. Folks show up with a lot of interesting, rare beers.

stupid_outfit, May 07, 2014
Photo of valorian
5/5  rDev +22.2%

valorian, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of Stezz420
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Stezz420, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of deveau145
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

deveau145, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of P-funk
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Never disappointing. Just a great place for beer and amazing food.

P-funk, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of Paul_H
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Fries topped with pulled pork and Stone Arrogant Ale cheese sauce, steamed mussels in garlic, and a few beers from the huge beer menu....all very good.

Paul_H, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of maxcoinage
4.5/5  rDev +10%

maxcoinage, Aug 05, 2014
Photo of Fusebuddy
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Fusebuddy, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +10%

bowzer4birdie, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of Wolfhead
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Wolfhead, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of Dunkles
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Dunkles, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of jhhansen
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

jhhansen, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of Netdogca
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Netdogca, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of kendrid
4.54/5  rDev +11%

A great place to meet friends and choose from a variety of craft brews. They often have 'rare' beers such as Zombie Dust on tap. The beef (and most of the other food) is local and tastes great. They are a very green restaurant and do a lot to support the community.

kendrid, Aug 02, 2013
Photo of carmike813
4.46/5  rDev +9%

Duke's is a greay place to go to in the burbs.

The atmosphere is what you would expect, it is what looks like an old house/apartment complex that has been turned into a restaraunt. The entrance is directly into the bar, which can be tight squeeze when it gets busy, which it typically does after the 5:50 train reaches the CL stop (Metra station is directly across the street). Reservations are a no go on Friday through Sunday.

Food selection is broad, you can get a spectacular veggie burger or a spectacular "vegan slayer" burger, your choice. All of the selections are top quality and advertises as a green restaraunt which is great as well.

The beer menu is second to none really. There is a vast FFF selection as well as other local micro breweries. They tend to keep thier beer menu rotatinfg and have frequent tap takeover events. They also have a text message alert that you can sign up for and get instant event information.

Duke's is a great place that i frequent often.

carmike813, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of jeffhenders0n
4.51/5  rDev +10.3%

Great place, who knew? Visiting with the missus last night for the first time and was impressed not only with the draughts available (had my first O'so Hop Whoopin' IPA) and the overall look/feel of the place, but the food was excellent! It is now on my very short list of places to go in the far NW Suburbs.

jeffhenders0n, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

Went to Duke's for lunch on a Sunday and had a great experience. For the NW burbs (exurbs?) this is as good as it gets within a 20 mile radius (Firkin is 21 mi. east, better than Emmett's imho). The food is of high quality, the beer selection ever rotating/updated online, and the restaurant is certified green and zero waste. Sorry, but no one else in the area seems to be doing all that... some early reviews here do seem narrowly focused and a bit disingenuous, though are likely well outdated.

The building is slightly wedge shaped, located on a corner across from the Metra station. Plenty of street parking on the east side. Inside there's a narrow bar area with some alcoves of table seating, and a host stand on the right, leading to a more spacious dining room. High ceilings with pressed tin tiles and exposed brick, local artists' work, halloween decor, east wall lined with windows let some daylight in. Service was timely and friendly.

Draft selection: Zombie Dust, Zes Zes Zes, Parabola, Pumking, Tighthead Irie IPA, Prima Pils, Weihenstephaner, Dragon's Milk, Sixth Glass, Nosferatu, plus a dozen more. Prices range from $3 (Coors) to $10 (Parabola).

Bottle list: 150+ bottles, extremely well organized, broken up by style with food pairings, notes on low inventory (2 left, etc), drafts coming soon are listed as "on deck" (FFF Snow Weasel, etc), prices are listed separately on a single page. Beermenus appears to be updated on a weekly basis, and currently accurate based on my visit (one error, Juliet was $22 not $14). The list is thoroughly detailed and expansive, containing all you need to know... the servers can't all be beer geeks, frankly to assume so would be asinine.

Food: The brunch burger (fried egg, bacon, jalapenos on the side) and butterkase mac & cheese were both excellent, as were the house-made veggie burger and side salad. Sustainable ingredients, clearly of high quality, far from "typical bar food". Good range of sandwiches, flatbreads, and entrees, with rotating seasonal options. Daily food & drink specials. Both the food and beer menus read as if someone took care and pride in them, which is lacking at so many places these days.

Sunday crowd was mixed, from young families to motorcyclist couples and even seniors. Duke's seems to fill a niche for quality casual dining in the area, in addition to serving as a haven for the local beer nerds.

emerge077, Oct 22, 2012
Photo of TTAmod
4/5  rDev -2.2%

This bar probably has the best selection of craft beer available on tap in the McHenry County area. There's a rotating selection of around 20 craft beers. Sometimes they get some rare ones in, which is nice (they currently have Boogoop, for example.)

The food has been stepped up big time as of late. The prices are reasonable, and the food is interesting and have never been disappointed.

When the place gets hectic, the service can be hit-or-miss. When going, I would suggest going on an off-hour to get the best service.

They have good bands, some dart boards, and an outdoor deck that's open during the summer. The crowd has always been cool, in my opinion. The d-bags go to the various other bro bars in the area.

I'd suggest going here if you like good beer and good food.

TTAmod, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of scamplin1966
3.66/5  rDev -10.5%

my family and i were in town visiting friends from nearby, going to catch the train to go downtown Chicago ( 1 hr wait ). they know i like my beers and our always picking me up brews that are not available in Michigan,they had mentioned this place, beats waiting outside? we sat at a table top for a little bit before we were recognized or I guess we were but bartender told a staff member he was to busy to take our order. our friends were getting irritated by this (usually its me that gets ticked off, nothing worse then trying to spend money when thirsty). but then a server came and took our drink order, she was very apologetic about our wait and very knowledgeable about the beers. i was impressed they had DH Scotty Karate, she didn't know he was real dude,was impressed with their selections lots of 3 Floyd's on tap. unfortunately they were out of two i wanted to try. but still had a lot of decent beers on tap and bottle selection. i would like to go back and try the food,spend some time there, without feeling the need of a train schedule.

scamplin1966, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of Dogbrick
4/5  rDev -2.2%

(Visited 02/2011): Duke's Alehouse is located in Crystal Lake north of I-90 on North Main. Parking is available nearby.

The interior is laid out in an open manner with table seating throughout the space and lots of windows around the perimeter. Their claim to fame is a restored tin ceiling which lends a nice element to the atmosphere. The bar is on the left side. There are beer posters around and they have a small stage as well.

Duke's has over twenty beers on tap with a lot of craft breweries represented such as Three Floyds, Victory, Grand Teton Great Lakes and The Bruery. A couple of imports from the likes of Spaten as well. As for bottles there are over 100 with an eye toward microbrews like Bell's, Three Floyds, Great Lakes, New Belgium and even Hoppin' Frog. Some imports include Chimay, Reissdorf, and St. Bernardus. They also offer a "beer school".

Service on a weekday evening was good. The server was familiar with the featured beers and was friendly and attentive throughout dinner.

Duke's food menu includes flatbread pizzas, handcut fries, burgers, sandwiches and the like. My colleague and I both enjoyed our meals.

Overall this place is a nice find north of Chicago.

Dogbrick, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%

Finally stopped in here to see what it's all about. Sat in the bar area, which is a small-ish hall-like space connected to a dining room. The usual patterned ceiling tiles are there, along with a handful of flatscreens playing the Crosstown Classic. Bellied up and ordered...but the beer that was shown on BeerMenus wasn't yet in. Odd, it had been listed there for a couple weeks... See, this is probably my biggest issue with this place: They keep their website and menu updated fairly regularly, but they tend to stretch the truth a bit about what they have. Many of the taps they purport to have have either been kicked for a while or have yet to be tapped, and several bottles on the list don't really exist. This isn't a major problem, necessarily, but it gets to be pretty irksome when you're down to your fourth or fifth choice due to the above issue. The bartender, though, was pretty helpful (if slightly terse, though I attributed this to the full bar present at the time), and seemed pretty knowledgeable about the beers. It was nice to see that they had a reference binder with info about the beers, as well, even if it's only for the 'tenders' use. The beers they did have were pretty solid, if nothing too outstanding or hard to come by. It was sad, though, that the overwhelming majority of the taps were IPAs or pale ales, but they were still pretty good. I didn't try the food, but sorta plan on it if I come back. The pricing was generally standard for the area, bordering on a bit high. Some of the bottles, though, do run significantly more expensive than elsewhere, but not all of them (and I have seen worse...). Overall, a nice place, especially for the immediate area (which doesn't hold all that much in the way of beer destinations), but there are some things that need to be worked out if I'm gonna call this place a regular haunt.

TMoney2591, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%

Visited here on a a few weekends ago with the wife. A nice little corner bar/restaurant place. To be honest I was not wild about the food we ordered. . it was good, but nothing to write home about.
The beer list however was very solid with at least a few offerings both local and imported in most of the main style categories with a few surprise twists and selections. What stood out to me was that the prices for some of the bottles and on tap beers were actually quite inexpensive considering how much I would have to pay elsewhere for it.
Overall, it was a nice quiet lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Not overly busy and we sat by the window. Certainly worth another visit, though I was disappointed that their tap list hadnt been updated in a while so I went expecting a few other beers on tap, but were kicked weeks ago.

sweemzander, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of FullObs
3.29/5  rDev -19.6%

Visited about 2 weeks ago on a Sat. night.

I think this was a small place with one long bar sometime ago and they've expanded to include a dining area and updstairs as well.
Bar was crowded so no seating. Dining room was about 1 hr wait. Food is done at 10 and then the tables open up (if diners leave) and they had a band play in that area.

Unfortunately once the tables open up no food avaiulable at all - damn those late night munchies. Also there is no cocktail service so you must get up and go to the bar to order. (Upstairs was closed to private party).

The selection is not comparable to many of the downtown bars but I'm sure this blows away anything you'll find in the area. Probably 40-50 brews but the menu wasn't well organzzed. I was also surprised to see many of the customers were ordering miller/bud and vodka tonic etc...

My biggest beef was that I had checked the website twice before visiting - mind you they updated the site between my visits - so I was confident their list was up-to-date. When I arrived I found the 2010 Darkness which was listed on the site for at least 2 weeks had not been tapped yet. Then the DFH bitches brew was marked "coming soon" but this had been retail for a month or more. I ordered 2 others Iwhich the bartender could not locate either. So here I am trying to find some good brews on the menu and the bartender walks away leaving me to wait another 5 minutes ( they were crowded I'll admit). Repeat this process and I finally had a few brews. Made it topuch however to get my non-BA friends to try my hobby. Overall the bar left me disappointed.

FullObs, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of cjacobsen
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Used to be Duke O'Briens and now Duke's Alehouse. This used to be the place that everyone in Crystal Lake went for drinks on Thursday and Friday night. They decided to up the ante and appeal and be more of an open restaurant.

The dining room had a cozy appeal to it, seeing it was touched up to accompany dining. Still has the small stage and staircase to the second floor. You're hit with the bar immediately through the door and then you're directed into the open dining room. Not too impressive.

The menu looks great and there seems to be a lot of good stuff on it. The food wasn't what up to what the menu made my taste buds think. I had a Mac Burger (baked mac n cheese on a house burger) and it wasn't bad, but no home run.

Pricing is $10 and up for burgers and most of the plates on the menu. Kinda steep if you don't hit up a special. They have a lot of organic stuff, which didn't strike a chord with me but if that's what you seek out, this is a great place for that.

The beer list has a nice selection, but nothing I've never seen before. A bit more expensive though than most of the places that boast a nice craft menu.

[I had to rate $$$ because some bottles were a bit more expensive than they ever should be and the burgers are too expensive for what you get, or don't get for that matter.]

cjacobsen, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of Mandark
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%

OK, let's be real: this is, yes, a bar around 50 miles from Chicago in a suburb called Crystal Lake. CL is not a beer mecca. There is sprawl, there is water--sounds like Chicago to me--and there is a somewhat quaint downtown area in which Duke's sits across from the train station and the neat Pop's Corn Crib. And dammit, Duke's is probably the best place to get your craft beer fix for at least 20 miles.

I've visited Dukes six times between early 2009 and early 2010, at different times of the day and week, and like any other place one is bound to have a different experience based on the clientele, the level of activity, and the employees working their shifts. I will say that each time the service has been at least friendly, and the food has been quite good. More than standard pub fare, there is a decent selection of creative dishes utilizing locally grown ingredients. The atmosphere is nothing special, but their outdoor beer garden is pleasant and their dining room is charming enough. It is busy on the weekends with BMC bargoers.

But it's the beer we've come for, right? Right. Surly Furious is always on tap; it was also the only place around that had Darkness on tap in '09 (and for that I'll be eternally grateful). Three Floyds is usually well represented (Brian Boru and Gumballhead as of 4/12/10); Green Flash was around for awhile; Weihenstephaner hefeweizen is a constant; right now I'm seeing Old Rasputin, the Bruery's Mischief, Founder's Breakfast Stout, DFH Red & White, Young's Double Chocolate...and those are just on tap. You can check the website for the even more extensive selection of bottles, but you get the point--there's some excellent beer here. OK, there's also Bud Light and specials on Pabst and Miller, but I think that's a small price to pay and denotes a real sense of the economic reality of the environment on the owner's part.

If the Map Room, or Hop Leaf, or any of the other mighty beer bars located in Chicago proper were in Crystal Lake or Woodstock or Johnsburg, then Duke's selection would pale in comparison---but they're not. They are fifty miles away. Therefore, it is unfair to judge Duke's in comparison to them, simply because they exist within a rather large geographical relevance.

Having moved to this area from Chicago I'd rather encourage places like Duke's and the opportunities and knowledge they bring to the far suburbs. I just checked again and I see that they will be tapping Ommegang's BPA and some Troubadours'---the point is, they continue to expand their selection and bring new options to a place that has nothing else like it. I'd bring friends and family to Duke's without hesitation and I'll be visiting it again soon.

Mandark, Apr 13, 2010
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Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen in Crystal Lake, IL
92 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.