Local Option

Not Rated.
Local OptionLocal Option
BEER AVG
3.81/5
Based on:
15 Beers
1,447 Ratings
Place Score: 97
Ratings: 178
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 4.41
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: 178 | Reviews: 86
Photo of jampics2
2.85/5  rDev -35.4%
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 -1.4%
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 -0.7%
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 -18.8%
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 -18.8%
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 +3.9%
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 -33.1%
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 -16.1%
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 -3.6%
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 +6.1%
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 +5%
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 +11.8%
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 -1.8%
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 -10.2%
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 -36.5%
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%
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.

Photo of Florida9
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.25

Visited on a recent Saturday evening. Considering the reputation this place has, I was expecting Local Option to have a much edgier, more "metal" feel to it. Instead, LO was full of the yuppies and preppies that populate the neighborhood in which it resides and there was not a single degenerate in the house. A "softer" style of metal music was playing at a very reasonable volume. It was almost as if Local Option was some sort of caricature of what a metal bar should be. Oh well...
But, in all reality, I didn't come here for the music or the company. I was here for the beer and that did not disappoint. Virtually every beer on offer was an excellent choice, from Against The Grain brewed beers to limited release Bell's beers to GI, Three Floyds, and some very respectable Belgian imports. So many excellent choices made the decision making rather difficult, but such is a good problem to have.
Service was good. Attentive, but not assertive or pushy. Friendly, helpful, and full of beer knowledge.
Food on the other hand was rather average. Fries were good, but the house made slaw was incredibly salty (saltier than the fries) while the burger seemed to come from a frozen meat patty. I guess some of the other choices might have been better, but I can only say what I ordered was fairly lackluster.
Overall, the beer list at LO is impressive enough that they should be a destination for anyone in the city and I hope to be back soon.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited on Fox Night 2012...was some fucked up shit going on in there...

They had BCBS on tap, oh my! They had bottles of Drie Fontienen oh me!, they had great food, oh no!, and some good service! A really cool joint and I think we hit it on the right night. Not alot of foot traffic, so we were able to sprawl out with our whole group and crush some major brews. The bottle list is very affordable with some great surprises on it. The tap list is a bit more on the pricey side, but for the selection, WTF do you expect? Cough it up and drink something nice.

Local Option just moved up my list of favorite places in Chicago...it was at one time Hopleaf/Maproom/Fountainhead in that order, but Local Options vibe and variety has vaulted them past the three prior favs. Cheers for doing such a great job!

Photo of JonathanSuarez
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have been here several times this year(2012) alone. Metal isn't my thing but damn I love Metal when I go to Local Option. Their Shrimp Po'Boy is a definite must if you are coming to eat/drink. Honestly the food stands alone but with 30 rotating taps one can usually find several beers that pair well with their menu offerings. This is u a MUST VISIT if you are coming to visit Chicago and want to absorb the beer culture. Definite Beer Geek Spot. One will never pay more than $9 for anything on tap(per Tony). Their is also a pretty sweet bottle list as well. The artwork made up predominantly of skulls definitely adds to the Metal bar aura. The guys behind the bar are top notch just dont fuckaround or be a uppity prick. They have always been helpful in recommending beers. Definitely worth coming to their special tappings. Local Option is the one of the best, if not the best, in Chicago when it comes to offering beers that are not local at all. Hands down my favorite pub in Chicago!

Photo of Claybo
4.95/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is MY bar! I love this place. I love everything about it; so much so that I have the glassware to think about it when I cannot be there. The staff is cool, if you are cool. Do not attempt to order Miller Lite. One of my fondest memories of this place was probably the first or second time I visited. It was on a weekend, maybe a Friday night. The place was not too busy, and it was nice and cool inside. I tried many awesome sour ales on tap including Maastricht Aachen (sp? I can never remember how to spell this one), and Maracaibo (Jolly Pumpkin). They had Tom Petty playing. It was magical.

If you come to Chicago, go to the typical brewery tour, or bar, or whatever. But if you want something special, check out Local Option. You will not be disappointed. Unless you are a douchey Cubs fan.

ps. Great part about this place is that it is in the snooty Lincoln Park neighborhood, and sticks out like a sore thumb saying "FUCK YOU PREPPY ASSHOLE!"

Photo of BrewsAndBeyond
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

http://brewsandbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-worthy-local-option.html

The Local Option is indeed a great local option. There is an alliance of all factors beer nerds look for in a place and it collaborates beautifully. This place has a special impact; there is self-realization and inner reflection involved. You realize the vast array of beers out there in the world you have yet to conquer, you start to question the rationality of becoming a voodooist, but more importantly you realize as you are surrounded by nerds while having an energetic discussion about brews with staff and patrons is that: “Wow, I AM a nerd too! And it’s pretty cool.”

Photo of n2pux
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Hit this place the day after a night at Three Floyds Brewpub, which was great ...but I gotta say I liked Local Option even better. It was early enough on a Saturday that it wasn't packed yet. The soundtrack isn't nearly as metal as the imagery on the wall would suggest ...which is a bonus for me anyway. As mentioned in another review, the servers greet you initially with a hint of suspicion. But they do warm up nicely once they can tell you're not liquored-up Cubs fan. And the beer selection is world class. Had a few that I'd only read about in beer-deprived Texas. I can't imagine ever being in Chicago without stopping here.

Photo of shadytony
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Atmosphere: this place is metal. I gave it a "5" for atmosphere. If you have never listened to Iron Maiden, you may give this joint lower marks. Local Option does not pretend to be anything that it's not.

Quality: 5 stars. You will be hard pressed to find a better selection of beer in Chicago.

Service: once the bartenders warm up to you they will treat you right. they seem to initially treat patrons with a hint of suspicion. This is likely due to the number of random dbags that stroll in off the street and attempt to order a Miller Light.

Selection: 5 stars. I don't think that they would be able to offer a better selection while keeping the level of quality where it is.

Food: slightly above average. cajun style offerings. This is a beer bar. Go get a steak at one of Chicago's legendary steak houses and come here to drink.

I've lived in Chicago for 12 years. This is my favorite bar in town and truly a world-class beer bar. *disclosure: I am a huge Maiden fan.

Photo of Sammy
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I had the best time of the 3 days at this bar. There were some unusually good beers here, led by one of the four of their own brews, a style I had never tried (Kentucky Common) that yields a long mildly sour finish without cherries. The owner and head brewer and 3rd bartender are a flurry of activity, and could handle even a much bigger crowd than this rainy weeknight. Small Earthy bar, safe area with a lot of students in the street. I would make it a point to come back as these people really know their beer.

Photo of pbass78
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The Local Option is hands down, one of my favorite bars in the world. They have a fantastic (if not enormous) beer selection, really good and reasonably priced food, great service, and Iron Maiden artwork on the walls. What more could you want? I'm in Chicago for three days, and have already been there twice. The guacamole and po-boys are delicious, and all the beers I've sampled (Dreadnought IPA, Jandrain-Jandrenouille IV Saison, etc) have been quite good. My ONLY complaint about this place is their beer board. The beer names are written (sometimes in abbreviated form) on a chalkboard, but the prices, serving size, style and alcohol content are not provided. Granted, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and helpful, but since all this info IS avaialble on their website, it has always baffled me as to why they wouldn't provide this on a printout menu or on the board. That being said, this a WORLD-CLASS beer bar, and I will always make a point to visit when I'm in Chicago. Happy New Year!

Local Option in Chicago, IL
97 out of 100 based on 178 ratings.