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Local Option

Not Rated.
Local OptionLocal Option
Based on:
14 Beers
1,168 Ratings
Place Score: 98
Ratings: 165
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: n/a
Taps: 31
Bottles: 50
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

Place added by: tyee on 01-16-2008

Beers are brewed at / by another brewery.

Sunday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:00am
Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00am
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KDawg
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A very different vibe than what is normal in lincoln park. That can be a good thing depending on your perspective. Since I'm fine with lots of different vibes it was gonna work for me in the first place. But, it was nice not having to deal with a bunch of people who want to order miller lite and high five each other.

What they have on tap is generally really good. A lot of it are beers that one would normally get at retail in bomber. All of the selections are put up on a chalkboard for you to look at. The chalkboard isn't the most obvious though. It's up there to see for sure, but its a bit off to the side from the bar with a lot of spaces where beers were.

The food was very good. They try to go with the cajun theme, but I didn't feel it was truly a cajun place. Its not a knock in all honesty as it seems their focus is on beer and bringing good beer.

Photo of sweethome
4.2/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I've been here twice. Great variety - one of the best in Chicago for unique beers - particularly some craft european beers. Mikkeller in particular. I've had a number fo their single hop IPAs here.

Simple interior is rather stark upon entry - but fits the vibe of the place. Again - great selection including midwest focus with Summit, Jolly Pumpkin, Tyranena, Central Waters Three Floyds, etc. Only thing keeping me from a perfect score on selection is a need for a few more high quality quaffers - could use a couple local/regional pils or pale ale to round out the big stuff.

The food really surprised me on our first visit - excellent guacamole! Crab cake was one of the best I've had in Chicago - really blown away by quality fo food in this local joint...that is the best way to describe the place - it's local joint with great beer and food. Best drafts are higher than other places - but overall a destination for good beer in Chicago.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here as the [unintentional] final stop on our buddy's bachelor party bar crawl. It's small-ish and dark, but with some nice rock music blaring in the background. There's a sorta dark indie vibe to everything. The beers are all great selections, some of which you're probably not gonna find anywhere else in the area. And there's plenty o' good stuff to choose from, too. The bartenders were pretty cool, and they really knew their stuff, as well. (I've never been so entertained to have my coaster stripped from me due to a friend's comment...) The pricing was pretty fair, though because I accidentally forgot my debit card there overnight I couldn't tell you the exact breakdown. Overall, this place is badass, and I really wanna go back sometime soon. And I shall...

Photo of cratez
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited with my girlfriend during a recent trip to Chicago.

VIBE: hardcore metal dive bar and loud music, which put us off initially, but the staff ensure that everyone feels welcomed. Really cool historical portraits of the city and the signs ("No Specials Ever," "Welcome Nerds," "Purveyors of the Miller High Life") made us laugh. We enjoyed the privacy of our booth in the back of the bar.

SERVICE: quick and attentive waiters are readily able to make solid suggestions. I was drinking by style and each server made appropriate recos based on what I was looking for. All of them asked me what I thought of the beers. Food arrived swiftly and the staff were chatting us up on our way out. Very friendly people running this place.

SELECTION: silly and robust list of rare draughts from across the globe. I quaffed a SKA Steel Toe Stout, Green Flash Imperial IPA, and Lost Abbey Avant Garde and also noticed Port Brewing Older Viscosity, Mikkeller Funky E Star, Great Divide Belgian Yeti, and Old Mephisto on tap. Most of the Three Floyds lineup was available. Didn’t even look at the bottle menu since the draughts were so good.

FOOD: we only planned to have drinks but the food menu looked appetizing so we ordered the Guacamole plate. It was super fresh and tasty with a thoughtful presentation. I’d love to return for dinner to try the one of the po’ boys or jambalaya.

OVERALL: had an awesome time here and would gladly revisit. Definitely one of the top spots that we came across while vacationing in Chicago. A mandatory stop.

Photo of readbaron
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

If you like loud metal and bearded bartenders you'll be right at home. Definitely has a metal vibe, but doesn't cross over into feeling like a biker bar. The "welcome nerds" signage is awesome.

I'm not sure what to make of "quality". Quality of beers? Outstanding? Quality of food? Good. Quality of decor? Meh.

Service is good.

There's an excellent selection of beers - probably 20 or so on draft plus a lot of bottles. The local option always has something unusual available.

Food is good, but not great.

I wish the prices were better. $9 for a jolly pumpkin draft? blech.

Photo of Davidpgibbons
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

They always seem to have an amzing selection. The staff is pretty friendly but there are a few snobs that pay more attention to the regulars than the norm.
They also are always having crazy tapping events with extremly limited and rare pours.
Its a little small inside so it gets filled up pretty quickly esp during beer events
the fries are amazing and so are the po boys, beers are a little pricey but nice clean pours and rares make it worth it.
Overall a pretty dope spot if you just ignore the regular beer heads

Photo of mcc1654
4.72/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

My favorite beer bar in Chicago. They have 31 taps that rotate almost every week. The draft selection is amazing. I can't speak for their bottle selection because I only ever order draft beers when I am there. The service is friendly and they know what they are talking about. The food menu is limited, but everything I have had is solid. I always find plenty of good American craft brews on tap, but I am always amazed by the international small breweries they have on tap that I don't see anywhere else in the city. They are going to start brewing a few of their own beers in January next year. I can't wait. Overall this is a great place to drink some seldom seen in Chicago beers with a great atmosphere (not pretentious at all like some other "beer bars" I won't name).

Photo of RayYanks23
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Great Place! about a 2 mile walk from Wrigley, but it was a nice neighborhood. Wish we didn't end the long day here because they had the best selection I seen in town all weekend!! Pizza Port Anniversary and 3 Floyd's Drednaught were the highlights...

The bartenders were excellent and made us feel right at home, the owner showed up and we tasted some of his beer that he just brewed down south!

We actually bought the shirt the place was so cool, haha. Next time we will make it a point to spend more time there and check out the food and such. They were discussing a possible Brooklyn location! GOOD LUCK! I will definitely be there if it happens...

Photo of Weebay
4.65/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I've been here three times now and I do love this place. The selection was great, the service was amazing, and best of all Ed the bartender really knows and loves his beer; his bearded sidekick was awesome as well. (Sorry, I forgot his name)

I found the employees to be great people, we ended up chatting with them for most of the night on a quiet Thursday night, talking about everything from beer to the hockey riots in Vancouver. They had some great recommendations of places to check out in town.

The food was good, nothing to complain about, the burger wasn't as good as the one at Kuma's, but then again no other burger I've ever had has been.

I know I'll be going back again next time I get the chance.

Photo of Northsider
3.53/5  rDev -20.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is basically 'Kumas Lite'. The atmosphere of Local Option has the same tattooed edge, the same hard rock (though more subdued) playing while you eat, and the same "don't like it? Tough shit" attitude. It's a narrow building, so it seems like it could get really crowded during the busy times...and LOUD.

I went after work around 4:45-5:00ish...not too many people there. They didn't have a bottle menu, but the waitress said the bottles are more large Belgians. Ok...helpful-ish. The draft menu is on the chalkboard in the front and features many beer I've never heard of. Rare? Maybe. I don't know. Good selection though, nearly 35 taps to choose from. I went with Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere. My wife was really itching to try the Hitachino White Ale, which of course they "ran out of". She then asked for Gumbalhead, which she initially also said they "ran out of". After we glanced at each other with a "WTF" look, the waitress then said dryly, "ohh yea, we DO have Gumbalhead still. Uhh...okaaaay.

Food was unique for sure. I had the swordfish tacos and it was pretty damn good. Not the standard brewpub/gastropub choices here, which is a bit refreshing. I get sick of burgers and beer all the time.

Another major drag here was the cost: 9 bucks for the Bam? Jesus! It wasn't THAT good. Most of the beers were priced pretty high. Is it the neighborhood? Not sure.

Overall it's fun place to check out, but I can't say I'd be back. I can't stand the neighborhood, and the dazed staff definitely didn't make me want to return. Check it out if you like 30+ craft choices on tap, alterna-rock music, and tattooed staff. Otherwise, skip it.

Photo of argock
4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Enjoyed an evening here over dinner and a couple of beers with a friend. The bar is long and narrow with a laid back atmosphere. The beer list is impressive with some very interesting beers such as Port Hot Rocks schwarzbier and various Evil Tiwn beers including Yin, Yang, and another of their douple iPAs. I had the fish tacos, which were good but the serving was a little on the small side. The beers were pretty steep, $9 for a 10-12 oz chalice of the Evil Twin brews. All in all I enjoyed Local Option and would come back again after exploring a few of the other notable Chicago watering holes.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.3/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Local Option has a very impressive tap-list that seems to rotate quite frequently. The tap list is not huge, it is just heavy on quality. On this particular night, I am drinking Schlenkerla Fastenbier and Three Floyds Ham-on-Rye, but there are easily five or six other beers on-tap that I am dying to try. The staff here is cool, just doing their job, and somewhat difficult to distinguish from the rest of the crowd, if they weren't standing behind the bar. The omnipresent Miller High Life ephemere is hilarious; more insanely hilarious because it is no joke: mad High Life is crushed at Local Option, right alongside some other brews that might more rightfully vie for the title 'Champagne of Beers'. This would likely be a standby of mine if I lived in Chicago.

Photo of spointon
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I had been coming to this area for years and never made it in to this place. Damn what I was missing!

Its not a terribly large place but its not too small either. I visited on a sunny Saturday afternoon and it was halfway busy with about 1/3 to 1/2 the seats filled.

The bar has a cool old time look and the overall vibe is very laid back. Just a couple of TVs and the bartender was willing to search out the baseball game for me.

The beer was outstanding, with a totally stellar selection of quality, and in many cases rare, offerings. I walked in, studied the list, and ordered the Schlenkerla Oak Smoke. The bartender took this as a sign of me knowing about beer and we commenced to have a long and wonderful conversation about quality craft beers. Such a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

I will certainly go out of my way to visit this place as often as possible form now on!!!

Photo of mcallister
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Love this place. Absolutely amazing selection of beers especially form the Euro brewers whom the Local Option seem to have a great relationship with. Handles rotating all the time with things I've never seen on draught. The first time I went here I saw the Miller High Life neons in the window and thought I was in the wrong place. You go in, see the large chalkboard of showing what's on tap and are set off as a beer geek. Easy to drink to much here, especially if you are from Ohio because each time I've went there have been multiple things on tap that I've not seen before. Love it.

Photo of Spider889
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This was one of my must-see destinations on my latest trip out to Chicago. I almost went to The Map Room instead, but after doing some online research Local Option just seemed to have a better beer selection.

The bar is unassuming, near one of the college campuses. We went on an early Saturday afternoon so the place was fairly quiet when we arrived, only one bartender was working.

The bar (and website) is very simple, with heavy metal-esque tattoo style art. Otherwise the walls are all black. One small bar on the side, a few tables in front, and some benches/bar stools on the side opposite the bar. No frills, very small. Someone not in the know (or keen on my level of beer geekdom) might even call the place a dive bar - which is perfectly fine with the owners I would assume.

As soon as you walk in on the left wall there is a gigantic chalkboard with all of the draft beer options written on it. As soon as I sat down and got to study the list I was literally giddy with excitement - it was possibly the best list of craft beer I have ever seen in my life, some of the best choices included:

Gumballhead, Cantillon Gueuze, DH Tres Blueberry, several De Dolle and De Molen offerings, GD Espresso Yeti, four different Jolly Pumpkin beers, Whole Hog Barleywine, Mikkeller including Brunch Weasel, 1000 IBU, and more, three Struisse beers including Pannepot and Black Damnation II, and Lost Abbey Angel's Share aged in brandy bbls.

Holy hell I was in heaven.

The bartender was knowledgeable and fairly attentive, no complaints. We did not order any food as we had just come from brunch, but the menu looked really good to me, I was sorry I had no room to try their food.

The beer was a little pricey imo, even for Chicago, but nothing was outrageous. Though with no prices listed the tab adds up fast - the Black Damnation was the most expensive beer I tried at $12 a snifter.

Certainly a must-hit destination for the Chicago traveler. I will want to go back every time I visit the city in the future, for sure.

Photo of sapvt
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I was in Chicago on business and a little research showed me this was definitely the place to check out. It absolutely delivered.

Not big place, kind of dark with a handful of tables and the bar. There's a real punk attitude to the place, which the giant skull logo on the wall reinforces. Some unusual neon beer signs (Mikkeller & Delerium) behind the bar and the specials board:

No specials, EVER. So fucking metal.

That's all I needed to see. The selection was incredible, I had Bells HopSlam, Founders Double Trouble, Mikkeller 1000 IBU, Ska Toasters 30th, some Three Floyds. ~25 taps of beer geek heaven. The bartenders were great, very knowledgable and friendly. Thanks Noah!

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I have only been in here a few times, but each time it has been a solid experience.

When it comes to a beer bar staff, there are two things that I look for, and both are met here. They are knowledgeable, meaning they can provide some interesting background that, even with some internet research, I may not have known about a beer. They also are more than able to recommend beers of their menu to someone with any palate. More importantly, they are friendly. Each time I have come in I struck up a conversation with a bartender, and they enjoy what they do and enjoy being there. Believe me, it is noticeable, especially compared to the snobbery that one can find at other bars. They are happy to talk you through a few beers and offer samples to see what you will like.

The atmosphere is solid. Casual decorations and a few tv's here and there exist in a moderately sized venue. A lively but not overcrowded group is normally relaxing over a few brews.

The food is just all right, all though I have only eaten here once. My buddy's sandwich was "eh," and my steak tacos were not worth reordering. Maybe other stuff is better though.

Honestly, I mostly head here for the selection. Yesterday I had Southern Tier Unearthly and Mikkeller 1000 IBU, and they always have some hard to find offerings. Their prices are on the higher end of the scale. Today, they have precisely 0 draft offerings for less than $6.

I definitely like to see this kind of place strike out in the middle of Lincoln Park, with its slew of dive bars and college kids. If I still lived really close, I would come more often.

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

First visited 7/27/2010 with Masterski for Mikkeller Yeast series tasting.

Really cool place and great people here. They have 20something taps covering a pretty good selection. We were there to try all the Mikkeller Yeast Series beers on tap but after ticking those I enjoyed a couple glasses of Saint Lamvinus.

The service is very helpful and friendly, prices are reasonable, and there is ample seating. I've been back a couple times already and will definitely go back if/when I get back to Chicago.

Photo of cadaugherty
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Great beer selection, knowledgeable staff who are very friendly if you come more than once, okay food. This place has an event that is worthy of geek travel at least once a month and an owner who is as big a beer geek as any of us. The staff is not always super friendly to newbies but they more than make up for it if you show up regularly. The location is great because this is a badly needed beer oasis in a section of town that has a dearth of good beer establishments and tends to be more yuppy and/or college oriented.

Word of warning the place can get a little noisy (metal) at night, but is never so loud that it is off putting. Give it a chance and you may have found your new favorite bar for a good beer.

Photo of Czap
4.24/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Never even heard of this place until my buddy mentioned it on the way to the city. He wanted to hit it before dinner and the Louis CK show. We didn't stay long. I only had two beers. Left Hand Milk Stout and a Dreadnaught, both from tap. If my memeory is correct, I believe they had anywhere between 12-15 taps running that day. I might be wrong. I do remember the selection being very good and full of stuff you usually don't find at your corner Binny's. The atmosphere was very unassuming, nothing special. As with most places like this, the bartenders were friendly and knowledgable.

Overall, I liked this place, it's relatively small, and I would hate to see it busy, but it is definitely a good place to hang when in the area.

Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

finally hit the local option. had dinner at Perennial, relatively nearby, and cabbed over

when we arrived around 9pm, the bar was nearly empty. This was fine with us as we'd been more or less drinking since 10am and were up for a lowkey nightcap. When we left at around 11:00, this place was packed to the brim.

nice dark interior - about 25 taps - selection absolutely blew the map room weekend selection out of the water. there were 4 or so of the mikkeller yeast series (brett, belgian, hefe, lager) and also the beer geek brunch. There were a couple 3 floyds beers, including the ice grill. Founders devil dancer, oak aged yeti, and lots of other treats on the menu. i never perused a bottle list but the bartender gave someone a shorts huma lupa when they asked for a good ipa.

service was great - free samples were poured near the height of a full pour and beer knowledge was present without the attitude you find at other establishments.

great spot.

Photo of Bungletronics
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I'm on vacation in Chicago and had a whole list of beer related activities. I decided not to go to many of them for various reasons. Today on a whim I decided to check out Local Option after hearing about the place on here, or maybe it was the beer thread on VWVortex? Whatever.

Located not terribly far from the Fullerton stop on the red line, Local Option sneaked up on me as I walked along Webster. I walked in and there was virtually no one there so I plopped my fat ass at the bar and ordered a Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus. I saw earlier on their website that they had this on. Seeing as I'd never had any Cantillon before I decided that this would be a must.

As I was finishing my Cantillon, the Spain v. Portugal World Cup game came on so I decided to stick around. I'm glad I did because I started chatting with Jim, the bartender. What a great person! He is a huge beer geek and was totally excited to share stories and info about some of local/midwest beers I've never had. He was more than happy to send samples my way and make suggestions and just shoot the shit about all sorts of things.

I was there for almost 4 hours and probably could have stayed longer but I knew I shouldn't. During that time I had a Mikkeller single hop IPA (centennial) accompanied by a sample of the East Kent Golding version for comparison. My last beer was a Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager which was the perfect end to my time there. I honestly wanted to have one of each beer they had on tap. It was a great diverse selection.

I can't stress enough about how great it was essentially hanging out with Jim and geeking out on beer and soccer and wedding gifts (you had to be there). Next time I'm in Chicago, this will be the first place I stop and I'll be going there more than once.

If you're going there to eat, it is pub food so don't be alarmed if you were expecting a charcuterie plate. The beer battered fries were pretty good though, but I do feel like I need a salad to counter the fried food.

Photo of skberke
3.9/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Local Option has become one of our default bars, even though it's a bit of hike from our place. The tap selection is constantly changing, and always loaded with interesting beers, usually a mix of American craft brews and Belgians, with occasional selections from other countries. They usually have something sour or something lambic-like, and they usually have a good mix of styles represented. The bottle selection is also large, although they do not print menus so heaven knows how they expect anyone to order from it!

The food is better than average pub fare--their salads and tacos are particularly good. Some of the servers are real beer geeks, others clearly know nothing.

One of the best things about Local Option is that it never gets insanely crowded, making it a perfect Friday or Saturday night dinner spot. Obviously we all love the Hopleaf, but I want a place where I have some hope of sitting down on a weekend night. Local Option is the ticket.

If I could change just one thing, I would introduce them to the magic of a laser printer, and I would convince them to organize the menu by style. They now only have beer names scrawled on the black board, which is not visible from everywhere in the restaurant, and has no explanatory information at all.

Photo of jrallen34
4.19/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Local option is really close to me, but Map Room is even closer so I hardly go anywhere else. I finally made it there last night and I'm glad I did. Its a nice change of pace from the Map Room.

The atmosphere here is pretty good. The bar itself is pretty small and boring, not a whole lot going on or a very cool crowd. However, it is not insanely packed on a Saturday which is great, I can actually move around and take a seat.

The quality of the beers is great, they had 25 beers that were all top notch. 2 cantillons on tap, surly, jolly pumpkin, tons of great stuff. 25 drafts is a lot but other than that no bottles or a big selection. It doesn't have to have 200 beers but more than 25 would be nice. The beers were mainly American, could use a better selection of Belgians, besides the Cantillon on of course.

Service was so-so. I dealt with two bartenders. One guy was nice, knew what he was talking about for the most part. A girl serviced me later she didn't know so much. She knew enough to bs someone who knows nothing but a true ba would see right through her.

Overall, it was a great trip. They have a nice selection of American craft and a low key atmospshere making it easy to get a seat. I wish they had somewhat of a bottle list and a couple more Belgians to make this place great.

Photo of Here4Beer
4.06/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

On a vacation involving some national doozies such as HopLeaf, MapRoom, & Publican this place stood out to me as a less reputable newcomer that was surprisingly impressive. What was supposed to be a quick round or two before an afternoon Sox game turned into four, as they offered some damn fine drafts.

Nondescript building nearby Depaul, not quite a college bar though as it looked like it had a fresh coat of paint and probably 100 bottles on a shelf in decorative fashion.

The craft beer conference was in town a week or two before, and DLDay was occuring the weekend I was in town, so maybe they had out a stellar tap lineup b/c of that? Regardless they had plenty of interesting sours, Imp IPA's, and other goodies I can't get in Las Vegas. Loved the Hopslam & Oak Aged Unearthly from Southern Tier.

Service was knowledgeable and attentive, but I was one of a dozen or so in there so maybe not so applicable.

All in all, check it out! As a beerbar barkeep this place reminded me of somewhere I'd like to work. The condescending beer snob attitude which can be found by the barkeeps/mgmt at the big national beer bars like Toronado is NOT found in this place. It's just a cool, low key hang with great suds. I'll be back (no Austrian accent intended)

Local Option in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.