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Local Option

Not Rated.
Local OptionLocal Option
BA SCORE
98
world-class

155 Ratings
Ratings: 155
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 10.18%
Active Beers: 13
Beer Ratings: 1,028
Beer Avg: 3.77
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

Notes:
Sunday - Friday: 11:00am - 2:00am
Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00am

Beers are brewed at / by another brewery.

(Place added by: tyee on 01-16-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 155 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bschinelli
4.93/5  rDev +11.5%

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.

bschinelli, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of CFC_HeadHUNTER
4.33/5  rDev -2%

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!

CFC_HeadHUNTER, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of tbergsli
3.96/5  rDev -10.4%

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.

tbergsli, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of br3wmeister
2.8/5  rDev -36.7%

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.

br3wmeister, Apr 13, 2013
Photo of TheSSG
3.44/5  rDev -22.2%

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.

TheSSG, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of Florida9
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

Florida9, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%

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!

MarcatGSB, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of JonathanSuarez
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%

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!

JonathanSuarez, Sep 27, 2012
Photo of Claybo
4.95/5  rDev +12%

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!"

Claybo, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of BrewsAndBeyond
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%

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.”

BrewsAndBeyond, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of n2pux
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

n2pux, Aug 09, 2012
Photo of shadytony
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%

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.

shadytony, Jul 06, 2012
Photo of Sammy
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

Sammy, May 09, 2012
Photo of pbass78
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%

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!

pbass78, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of LornaLee
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%

This is without doubt my favorite beer bar in Chicago. I have been to many others, and for interesting selection, knowledgeable (and not snooty) service, this place cannot be beat.

I also like that the staff never condescended to me because I am a woman. I was able to clearly communicate my likes and dislikes, and my excitement for new beers, and try beers without being pigeonholed. That is sometimes hard to find at other beer bars, as the beer world is a boy's club, and it's sometimes hard for me to find my place in it. Note to other restaurants, a beer geek is a beer geek, no matter what kind of junk you pack.

It doesn't hurt that it's two blocks from my apartment in a neighborhood full of bars that aren't my speed, either.

I don't knock the food, but I'm a dick about food just like I'm a dick about beer. That being said, I have no qualms about having a date night with dinner at The Local. The guac is stellar, and you should only order the Muffeletta if you don't have dinner plans for the next three days... its' that big, and that delicious.

I love the constantly rotating taps, and the old standbys mixed in with their own brews, as well as other beers I rarely see elsewhere and probably wouldn't have the guts to try.

Extra points for no jukebox and interesting music always being played (metal, jazz, yacht rock, vocal groups, you name it), and the Big Buck Hunter game in the back.

LornaLee, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of stercomm
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%

Have been here twice with my son while visiting him, both times we came in for a late lunch 1-2PM. Place was pretty quiet. Beer selection is very nice, the barkeep had some good suggestions and we were able to try out some really nice beers.

I was surprised at how good the food was, had the grilled cheese sandwich which was exceptional.

Service was good, since the place was quiet spend some time talking brews with the bartender.

Definitely a place to visit again when I'm in the Windy City, they do know beer.

stercomm, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%

Also stopped by here on a business trip to Chicago. A bit out of the way - was staying downtown - but worth the trip. Near De Paul University and had an interesting tap selection - notably a Cantillon Gueze - which was quite tasty. A strong selection of Belgium beers with some good beers from the States. They had carbonated LA Angel's Share on tap - that's pretty rare in itself. Overall, looks like your standard college bar with nothing too out of the ordinary. Bar staff was attentive and helpful and prices were pretty decent. Would definitely venture back if I'm in town and they've got some good stuff on tap.

JoeySchlitz, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of crossovert
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%

Went here on a Wednesday evening before a Devin Townsend concert (I heard it was a "metal bar")

It is a hole in the wall in a mostly residential area. It is nice inside with 31 taps and some bottles. Lots of rare goodies. There was no metal music but it was a nice quiet vibe.

I got a Dark Horse Plead the Option and it was a bit too cold. The food is well-priced and delicious. Not too spicy but there was hot sauce at the table.

The bathroom is unique.

The beer is pricier here.

Overall a solid place if you want to try some rare beers.

Been here many more times and I think it is the best place in IL.

crossovert, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of bkett01
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%

Stopped in for dinner/drinks before the Bruins/Blackhawks game. It's certainly a place you have to seek out and don't just stumble upon.

It's a relatively long but narrow dimly lit room with a bar running along the the wall in the middle. The first thing that caught my eye was the army of tap handles across the front of the bar. Right next to this is the chalkboard where 30 impressive draught beers are listed. I had Evil Twin Before During and After, 3F Gumballhead & SKA Steel Toe stout (nitro). All were very good and the prices are on par with what you'd expect for beers of this quality.

The food (jumbalaya) was good and had a moderate amount of heat to it. Our server/bartender was excellent. Thoroughly answered any questions and made some good suggestions for my wife and I.

I'm not sure why there were so many neon Miller High Life signs in the place but if you're in Chicago looking for some good beer and/or a completely blacklit bathroom you should give Local Option a shot.

bkett01, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of Skeksi
4.95/5  rDev +12%

Best owner, best bar staff, best selection, best atmosphere, of any bar I've ever been to. This place almost seems like it was invented specifically for me. Metal, unique tap list, awesome, knowledgable staff, good pub food, and they throw awesome parties. What the hell else do you want? Stop in and try a Dampf Loc.

Every stupid bar in this city has craft beer and decent imports on tap these days. A new beer bar or brewpub opens up once a month. The shelves at Binny's are exploding with hundreds if not thousands of different beers. The reason I keep going back to this bar is because with the insane selection of taps, I am pretty much guaranteed to try something that I've never heard of before, or couldn't have gotten my hands on in the first place. Like DH Plead the Fifth aged in WR bourbon barrels. Where else, literally?

My main regret is not finding out about Local before last year.

This place is my Cheers.

Skeksi, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of KDawg
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%

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.

KDawg, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of sweethome
4.2/5  rDev -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.

sweethome, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

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...

TMoney2591, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of cratez
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

cratez, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of readbaron
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%

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.

readbaron, Aug 18, 2011
Local Option in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 155 ratings.