Active Beers: 14
Beer Ratings: 969
Beer Avg: 3.82
Taps: 31 / Bottles: 50
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 121 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
4.74/5 rDev +7.5%
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.
03-04-2011 17:35:44 | More by Spider889
5/5 rDev +13.4%
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!
02-17-2011 16:13:43 | More by sapvt
4.35/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
I have only been in here a few times, but each time it has been a solid experience.
When it comes to a beer bar staff, there are two things that I look for, and both are met here. They are knowledgeable, meaning they can provide some interesting background that, even with some internet research, I may not have known about a beer. They also are more than able to recommend beers of their menu to someone with any palate. More importantly, they are friendly. Each time I have come in I struck up a conversation with a bartender, and they enjoy what they do and enjoy being there. Believe me, it is noticeable, especially compared to the snobbery that one can find at other bars. They are happy to talk you through a few beers and offer samples to see what you will like.
The atmosphere is solid. Casual decorations and a few tv's here and there exist in a moderately sized venue. A lively but not overcrowded group is normally relaxing over a few brews.
The food is just all right, all though I have only eaten here once. My buddy's sandwich was "eh," and my steak tacos were not worth reordering. Maybe other stuff is better though.
Honestly, I mostly head here for the selection. Yesterday I had Southern Tier Unearthly and Mikkeller 1000 IBU, and they always have some hard to find offerings. Their prices are on the higher end of the scale. Today, they have precisely 0 draft offerings for less than $6.
I definitely like to see this kind of place strike out in the middle of Lincoln Park, with its slew of dive bars and college kids. If I still lived really close, I would come more often.
01-28-2011 19:52:21 | More by KickInTheChalice
4.5/5 rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
01-28-2011 19:35:48 | More by t0rin0
4.35/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Great beer selection, knowledgeable staff who are very friendly if you come more than once, okay food. This place has an event that is worthy of geek travel at least once a month and an owner who is as big a beer geek as any of us. The staff is not always super friendly to newbies but they more than make up for it if you show up regularly. The location is great because this is a badly needed beer oasis in a section of town that has a dearth of good beer establishments and tends to be more yuppy and/or college oriented.
Word of warning the place can get a little noisy (metal) at night, but is never so loud that it is off putting. Give it a chance and you may have found your new favorite bar for a good beer.
11-15-2010 09:08:15 | More by cadaugherty
4.24/5 rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
10-14-2010 04:10:11 | More by Czap
4.5/5 rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
finally hit the local option. had dinner at Perennial, relatively nearby, and cabbed over
when we arrived around 9pm, the bar was nearly empty. This was fine with us as we'd been more or less drinking since 10am and were up for a lowkey nightcap. When we left at around 11:00, this place was packed to the brim.
nice dark interior - about 25 taps - selection absolutely blew the map room weekend selection out of the water. there were 4 or so of the mikkeller yeast series (brett, belgian, hefe, lager) and also the beer geek brunch. There were a couple 3 floyds beers, including the ice grill. Founders devil dancer, oak aged yeti, and lots of other treats on the menu. i never perused a bottle list but the bartender gave someone a shorts huma lupa when they asked for a good ipa.
service was great - free samples were poured near the height of a full pour and beer knowledge was present without the attitude you find at other establishments.
08-09-2010 14:02:02 | More by dirtylou
4.58/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
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.
06-29-2010 22:34:01 | More by Bungletronics
3.9/5 rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Local Option has become one of our default bars, even though it's a bit of hike from our place. The tap selection is constantly changing, and always loaded with interesting beers, usually a mix of American craft brews and Belgians, with occasional selections from other countries. They usually have something sour or something lambic-like, and they usually have a good mix of styles represented. The bottle selection is also large, although they do not print menus so heaven knows how they expect anyone to order from it!
The food is better than average pub fare--their salads and tacos are particularly good. Some of the servers are real beer geeks, others clearly know nothing.
One of the best things about Local Option is that it never gets insanely crowded, making it a perfect Friday or Saturday night dinner spot. Obviously we all love the Hopleaf, but I want a place where I have some hope of sitting down on a weekend night. Local Option is the ticket.
If I could change just one thing, I would introduce them to the magic of a laser printer, and I would convince them to organize the menu by style. They now only have beer names scrawled on the black board, which is not visible from everywhere in the restaurant, and has no explanatory information at all.
06-21-2010 22:50:58 | More by skberke
4.19/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
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.
05-02-2010 17:38:12 | More by jrallen34
Local Option in Chicago, IL
97 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.