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Local Option

Not Rated.
Local OptionLocal Option
BEER AVG
3.81/5
Based on:
15 Beers
1,381 Ratings
Place Score: 98
Ratings: 174
Reviews: 85
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: n/a
Taps: 31
Bottles: 101
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1102 W Webster Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60614-7020
United States
phone: (773) 348-2008

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @localoption

Notes:
Place added by: tyee on 01-16-2008

Beers are brewed at / by another brewery.

Bar:
Sunday - Friday: 12:00pm - 2:00am
Saturday: 12:00pm - 3:00am

Kitchen Hours:
Tuesday - Thursday: 3:00pm - 10:00pm
Friday - Sunday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 174 | Reviews: 85
Reviews by ccozzi:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Clutch5
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Outstanding place, outstanding beer. Get the crab quesadillas if you can!

Photo of Sweffin
4.51/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

This is a metal craft beer bar. If you don't like metal, you probably won't have a good time.

Photo of Jwesley
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

great beer selection for a small bar.

Photo of ianw87
5/5  rDev +13.1%

This is my favorite spot in Chicago. They usually have some rarer beers on tap plus they have some unique beers of there own. I love the Kentucky Common.

Photo of maxcoinage
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

So I've been to Local Option twice, the first time was a great experience while the second time was terrible. First time I went was on a Saturday night and we went for dinner and drinks, the server was super nice and attentive, making some good suggestions on beer and food. Had a muffaletta sandwich that was good but there was seriously like an entire jar of olives on that thing..way too many. But had some good tasty drafts including FFF War Mullet and their tasty Blood ov the Kings. Second time, I went on a Saturday afternoon with a buddy and we sat at the bar. THe bartender did not even acknowledge our existence for at least 5 minutes, and it wasn't that crazy busy. We ordered a round of Zombie Dusts, and to our surprise they poured them into 10 oz mugs and charged $16 for the round ---- I couldn't believe it! I mean cmon a Pale Ale should be served in a pint, no exceptions. What a Fn rip off,

Photo of beinerso
3.64/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 1 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Miller Lite sign-lights and proximity to an Undergrad campus makes one think that this place is another terrible college sports bar. But the facade and location are just a wonderful and snarky joke. This is a legit craft beer mecca. The servers are pretentious, unhelpful, slow, and rude. But the beer on tap (and the tots) are worth it. Tastebud delight.

Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Came here during a Lincoln Park bar crawl and wanted to dodge the DePaulsters for an hour. First it was packed took a few minutes to get some services but I understand nothing can be done about it. The beer is great had Morning Wood and Central Waters BA Stout. FFF dorks pack the place only drinking ZD, AK, and any other FFF beer versus trying something new. Wings are good not great but good.

Looking forward to coming back again for an event. Great place I enjoy the "Option."

Photo of guityler83
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

After making a few wrong turns and ending up in the center of the business district of Chicago somehow.. we pulled up to Local Option, plugged the meter for a couple of hours a block away and moseyed on in.

It was about 7:30 and we were able to grab a seat at the bar without much trouble, the bar tender fielded some questions on what styles of beer a few where since the chalkboard just had names and not much else. They had an excellent selection of there own beers (10ish) other Chicago goodies (pipeworks, revolution) and a bunch of "what?! they have that?!" (Surley Darkness, Hill Farmstead, Jolly Pumpkin, etc etc. I went with the Local Option gose.. name is eluding me, very tasty and a good starter.

Service was quick since we were at the bar, but the dude was grumpy the whole time.. I don't blame him they looked short staffed for a Saturday night and by the second beer it was nuts to butts. I grabbed a Surly Darkness and ordered a Po Boy. Mean while, Electric Wizard plays on the stereo, how much better can it get.

The last beer of the night was a Pipeworks Simcoe Ninja and it went down like water. The bill was kind of surprising, but not totally unexpected. Overall, I'd defiantly go back and recommend it to others.

Photo of teledeluxe
3.7/5  rDev -16.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

I want to love this place. Their tap list is massive and awesome. The food is okay at best. Here's their major fault: I find the bartenders to be standoffish and rude (when I trouble them for a beer). The place is usually pretty full but it shouldn't be that hard to get a beer at the bar. Having said that, I'm willing to give them a third chance. Negative points for charging $1 more per pint than their peers.

Photo of jampics2
2.85/5  rDev -35.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Perennial Abraxas variants on tap the night before FOBAB? I'm in. But, wait, should I be?

**Never again at this place!**

We got to the bar at 3:00 and snagged a table. We had a bowl of decent guacamole and a bunch of beers as the place filled up. Once it got slammed, the service was horrible, but it was decent until an hour or so before the tapping.

A server stopped by and we asked about the tapping around 5. He said "no worries, we're pro's at this - we'll make sure you get the beers! No pre-orders but we'll be by to make sure people like you who have been here for hours get served."

The tappings were at 6:00. At 5:30 there was a line 5 people deep at the entire bar. Again, a server stops by and says "At 6:00 you can order your beer from me".

We don't bug him. Why would we? He's assured us we'll get the beer and I'm not sweating it, since they're pro's at special releases.

At 6:00 the beer is tapped. We've been there for three hours, since there were 20 people in the bar. Could have grabbed a bar stool or gotten in line at any point. The server comes by and says "I'll be right back to get your order".

At 6:05 he tells us "I can't get you the Perennial Abraxas beers. They're pouring from the bar and not for table service. Sorry."

Biggest "Oh no you didn't" moment of my beer drinking career. I had to leave my table and fight tooth and nail through a line of bearded beer geeks and beer farts to luckily get a pour of each variant. The idiots at the bar were pouring, serving and taking cash - duh, "pros" - have one guy doing nothing but pouring. One doing nothing but handing empty glasses and taking back full ones. And the three servers standing to the right of the bar picking their asses as the melee goes on infront of them - why not let them dole out the brews?

Look, I have no problem with a bar handling a release/tapping any way they want. This was a cluster, and self-created. I'm patient. I could have had my beer at 6:30 if I was guaranteed to get one. Never bugged the server. But a heads-up and decent info would have been great. I'll never go to this place again because they obviously don't know what they're doing. Anything but pro's.

Should be called "worst option".

Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

The bar was loud, tight and small, a truly local watering hole for beer geeks. Clientele ranged from hipsters to metal-heads, all enjoying unusual beers together. I consider myself pretty well versed in beers, but I honestly had never heard of most of the beers on the chalk board! One I certainly did recognize was Cantillon Gueuze on tap! That alone was worth the trip.

Service was a bit iffy, but the place was crowded.

Photo of kevanb
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

Local Option is my favorite local place, I probably visit 3-4 times a month, more during Hawks season. The atmosphere is fun, it's loud and bustling on most weekend nights, and some weeknights when a Blackhawks game is on. The music typically metal or punk, although occasionally, oldies, funk and r&b is playing. The crowd is a good mix of beer nerds, local LP residents and metal heads, and it's very harmonious. The lights are low, keeping the place dark, but never in an obstructive way. The taplist is fantastic, always, nearly 30 taps going at all times that are always pouring something great. Whether its a hard to find beer from Europe, a great local treat, seasonal and one offs, there is sure to be a beer for everyone. Lately, they've been showcasing a lot of their contract brewed beers, many of which are quite good. The bottle list also makes their selection hard to beat, lots of foreign treasures, lambics, quads, tripels, as well as domestic things, barrel aged this, limited that, there is always something special on the list. The service is always good, the servers know their stuff about beer and can easily guide someone to making a good beer choice, while being friendly and engaging rather than pretentious and snooty. Beer and food are always served as promptly as possible, and while the food is nothing special, typical bar fare, the cajun twist on things and the consistent product is great.

The prices on beer are a little higher than usual, $6-10 depending on the volume and beer, imports and rarer things run higher while locals and bigger craft offerings (new belgium, laginutas, sierra nevada, etc) are on the cheaper end. The food is fairly priced for bar food, $9-13 for burgers/sandwiches and other entrees.

The parties/events here are top notch, with tap lists that rival any place in the world. The prices are fair and the servings are large, but the place gets PACKED and service slows down to a halt and their small staff gets pushed to the limit, but they still do a bang up job.

Verdict: The best bar in Chicago in my opinion, friendly staff, amazing beer, solid food, fun atmosphere and the Hawks are always on.

Photo of Rainblows
3.58/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3

The food is pretty much your standard bar fare, and the tap list is one of the better in the city for the most part. Had no problems walking in and sitting down to eat on a weekend evening, though I know it gets crazy for special events. Their house brews are decent and can now be found at some bottle shops around the city.

Photo of joeseppy
3.58/5  rDev -19%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Great rustic atmosphere for a neighborhood bar. Pretty dark inside with a gigantic chalkboard listing all their crafts on-tap. I'm sure music was playing but the din of conversation drowns that out-so yeah, it's noisy. Seating is scant so expect to stand your entire time. Booths for six each in the back but then one couple sits there-c'mon, ask people who are standing to sit with you-chances are you have something in common 'BEER'. Not a place for romantic dates and definetly no kids.

Always something on tap that will blow your mind like "How'd they get that" or "I thought this brew was out of production".

Service is a big drawback for me-almost to the point where I ask myself was it worth it to come here since I live west of Chi-town. Traffic and parking are a bitch. All staff seemed to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of customer needs. Staff does not look they are having fun or enjoy what they do.

Value is what it is--you get what you pay for.

Bottom line for me is that this place is an oasis to grab a few quality drafts and leave. And may I suggest that whenever there is an event that the bar seats be removed so people can have equal access to ordering. Ordering over people is annoying and some people at the bar look like it's their real-estate, freakin' chill out beer nerds. Waited 25 minutes during a recent event. If you are shy-you will be waiting a looong ass time-you gotta have initiative in ordering.

Photo of blindpiggie
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Visited recently on a trip to Chicago. Arrived immediately after opening on a Monday, so wasn't exactly hopping, but it gave me some time to chat with the bartender who was incredibly hospitable. I ordered my first ever Gumballhead and he poured me free tasters of the two other wheat beers that were on tap for comparison. Beer selection took a quality over quantity approach which was very welcome, especially since this was the only place in town where I found BCBS. If I lived in the neighborhood of Local Option, I would be listening to a lot more heavy metal.

Photo of Fluffheady
2.95/5  rDev -33.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

This place is really great when it comes to a beer destination. They have lots of connections and always have great things on draft, and they brew and distribute their own beer. I don't like their food, and it is pretty generic. I must give a shout out to the bathroom. WOAH.

After recent visits, I must lower my service rating. I have a baby face, and even though I’m several years older than drinking age, I look 19. With that, I always have my proper ID, the bartender looked it over, and I was served. The rest of the day I was treated like a lost DePaul student. I was informed that one of the beers was "too dark for my taste". After insisting that, yes, I wanted the ’dark’ beer, it was poured for me. You guys need to wake up and smell the hops. Beer knowledge is no longer preceded by obesity and beards. There’s too many good beer places out there to have the crappy attitude.

Photo of ohiobeer29
3.7/5  rDev -16.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Pretty decent sized place beer nerds heaven,I tried three floyd's gumball and goose Island's bourbon county brand stout which was amazing.the waitress was really nice and the waiter kept my fiance's pop full all night.great selection of local option beers and some other rares and local favorites.great place to chill out and have a beer will go back next time I am in town

Photo of sholland119
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Loved this place, visited twice while we were in town for a convention, both times late night. We walked from Paddy Long's one night, after a nice stroll through the DePaul campus and the upscale neighborhood. Chicago bordering it.

Got a comfortable seat at the bar and were quickly greeted by the staff. A chalkboard has the copious draft list, with plenty of bottles in the coolers if nothing fit your fancy. We did not need to resort to the bottles as the draft list was plenty awesome. We made sure to grab the Local Option house beers (not made there but still) and other locals.

We would love to have closed the place if not for the early work bell the next day. One of our favorites.

HV

Photo of Slap_and_Pickle
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

This was a must stop during my trip to Chicago. Absolute amazing collection of rare beers that were on tap! Claims to be cajun regarding the food selection - had the jambalaya, which was mediocre but the bread that came with it was delicious.

Anyways more about the beer. I had the struise st. amatus and black albert on tap - my companion had goose island bourbon county rare and evil twin imperial biscotti.

Selection here is amazing and the staff is patient and well versed. Hats off to the owner for going out of his way to have such a excellent selection of hard to find brews on tap.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

This was my favourite of the places I visited on a recent trip to Chicago. Great atmosphere that very much felt like the local bar down the street. Tap list was fantastic with a the likes of BCS, Plead the 5th and a great selection of others from Chicago and around the US, including one of their own beers.

Service was excellent. Ed took care of us and even gave us some good beer recommendations. Food was also excellent and everything was reasonably priced. I will definitely return here next time I am in Chicago.

Photo of bschinelli
4.93/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is the best beer bar in the city of Chicago. I know, there are other places with great beer, but the Local Option always has something on tap that just isn't available anywhere else. I won't say it's always a world class beer, but it's generally interesting, like the Swiss trying to brew an American IPA.

If you're in Chicago, you need to visit the Local Option.

Photo of CFC_HeadHUNTER
4.33/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Awesome beer bar. Need to be in to metal if you plan on drinking there all night. Incredible beer selection with appropriate glass wear and knowledgeable bartenders. Total bar geek vibe. Bought a sick pale ale glass with there awesome skull logo on it. Ask for the dildo tap handle!

Photo of tbergsli
3.96/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Amazing beer selection and the food outstanding Cajun style. I recommend the Po Boy. Usually bars will have amazing tap selection and lack in food, this is not the case for Local Option. The bar has a history for being a biker bar until the residents of Lincoln Park couldn't handle the crowd anymore. I think the crowd has definitely changed to beer nerds but it still looks like it could be a biker bar in the middle of yuppie Lincoln Park/DePaul area.

Photo of br3wmeister
2.8/5  rDev -36.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Atmosphere is nothing special little dark an some sculls but really nothing else to offer.

The quality of the restaurant was not great. Bathroom was somewhat dirty and things did not seem well kept up.

The service was not great. Our server seemed like he thought he was too cool to answer a few simple questions and was not present to desk with.

There was a pretty good selection of beer but nothing that really made me want to come back for more.

The food was sounded great when reading it on the menu but was really underwhelming. The combinations of fallacies were lacking an it was over priced for glorified pub food.

I might return for beer due to the convenient location but will not get food there again.

Photo of TheSSG
3.44/5  rDev -22.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

So, I decided to try the place out with a group of friends.
A nice hole-in-the-wall type size. We came in on a weekday evening, and there was only about 5 or 6 people in the whole place.
The whole "Metal bar" style is just funny to me. It's not my thing, but it wasn't outrageous. It's analogous to going to Three Floyds (sans the cool nerd stuff). But, this is kind of hipster/metal. Three Floyds feels more like a genuine metal person decorated the place. If they just turned down/off the HILARIOUSLY juvenile music (is the clientele mostly angsty teenagers?) , it'd help.
I liked the emphasis on German brewing, alot. They really selected some less-than-often-brewed styles, so that was a big bonus for me.

There's a big board with all the stuff they currently have.
They had a nice selection stuff, but I was actually pretty disappointed in the lack of selection for housebrews (or contract brewed) or local breweries. Oh well. I'll avoid questioning how "Local option" is "local" by having a bunch of stuff from around the world, and contract brewing a lot of their stuff from places in Kentucky....Overall, Chicagoland was represented by about 4 biers on their menu (not even a single Two Bros, too!). I think it uses "local" in the name to cash in on the hipster cache of "buy local." Again, I fail to see the "localness" of the bier here. AT THE LEAST, my expectation was a nice bier bar to sit and survey the bierscape of Chicagoland.
I mean, it's a decent selection, a bit above average, but nothing monumental.

When we were there, they had a Gose (name is German origin, brew was theirs), and Gueze (name is French origin, brew was Belgian origin).
When I ordered my /ɡozə/ (The German one), I got a really long, passive-aggressive story about how Germans would be upset at my mispronunciation because it is /guz/. I tried to be polite and joke it off by pointing out the lack of silent final vowels in German (I'm an applied linguist fluent in German), and that I thought he was thinking of the French-derived Gueze. This was met with more passive-aggressive, snobbish commenting. So, typical hipster in Chicago who "knows everything." Moving on....My friend ordered the Gueze...another the Dampf Loc, and another the Morning Wood.

The in-house Gose wasn't very good. I was told it was inspired by Wits, and it was not salted (what was the point of not salting a Gose!?). So, it was just kind of a bland wit.

Now, their "Morning Wood" was pretty damn delicious.
I've actually been to "Against the Grain" in Louisville, and they have good stuff. This was similarly well made. It was very well balanced and used the coffee flavors in a way that was subtle and up front at the same time. One of the best coffee brews I've ever had.

I tried a bit of the Dampf Loc, and was underwhelmed. It wasn't especially...anything.

Finally, we went to pay and leave.
Turns out the ~6 fl oz. pours of the Gueze were $9, and the Morningwoods were $7 for like 10 fl oz.
I guess we assumed since it was a non-descript board listing everything without mention of size or price, we shoulda been hipsters and pulled out our iPhones to check their menu on their website...Or the staff could mention, "Hey, by the way, that's a $9 pour of 6 fl. oz." before we ordered. You can't imagine absurdity until you have a 6 fl oz pour for $9. It was in a snifter like I use to drink tequila/whiskey out of.
The prices weren't outrageous, but they were a tad high considering most of it isn't even full pints.

**tl;dr**
Overall, it's not a bad place.
The Atmosphere is meh; I could take it or leave it (the bathroom is HILARIOUS, though).
The staff is knowledgeable, though I have my complaints (give me a heads up on the outliers of size/price, and keep the German lessons to yourself...especially the WRONG lessons).
The selection is pretty good (a lot of variety in things tailored for the bier geeks), but the selection of in-house/contract stuff isn't very great. Of their stuff I had, one was AMAZING, and the other two were so painfully mediocre, it makes me kinda sad. With the whole contract-brewing arrangement, it may just come down to who is actually doing the brewing for them (Against the Grain in Louisville is really, really skilled).

Would I go back? If I was in the area. I am not going out of my way, though.

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Local Option in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.