Active Beers: 14
Beer Ratings: 940
Beer Avg: 3.81
Taps: 31 / Bottles: 50
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
4.35/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$$
This bar is tucked away on a relatively quiet street in Lincoln Park. It has a mostly glass facade, with it's name on the windows in vertical neon lettering. Once inside, there is alot of dark wood and candlelight. There were tables in the front room around the bar area, and more private booth seating in the back. A chalkboard in the hall listed some food specials. Around 2-3 tv's in the bar, and a couple craft neons. Strange abstract Rolling Rock themed mural that had been severely tagged up... supposedly the previous owner was the first in Chicago to serve that beer.
The emphasis here is on sizeable portions of cajun food, and more recently, craft beer. There is a handsomely mounted metal-plated draft tower that holds 20 taps. Selection was well rounded with a few goodies tucked in there. Taps included: 2 Bros. Heavy Handed, 3F Pride & Joy, 2 Rogue, Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Surly, Left Hand Milk Stout, 3 Unibroue, Victory Hop Devil, Dupont, De Proef, Chimay White, and Monschof Schwarzbier. Prices were sort of up and down, a Brooklyn BCS was $8... even more than Surly. Others were more in line with typical prices.
Bottled beers were lined up on a long shelf on the back wall adjacent to the bar area. mixed up import and craft options galore. Among them were: 5 2 Brothers, 5 Lagunitas, 3 Victory, 5 Unibroue, 3 Ska, Duvel, St. Bernardus 8 & 12, Hopf Dunkel Weisse, Schlenkerla Urbock & Helles, 3 Hitachino, 4 Brooklyn including IPA and Black Chocolate Stout. I was told their beer list was "in progress".
Jambalaya was the meal choice of my 1st visit, it had large chunks of chicken, sausage, and shrimp, simmered with rice in a zesty cajun sauce. Cheesy jalapeno corn cakes were on the side. On later visits I had the steak tacos and quesadillas, which were just ok. Stick with the cajun is my advice.
Overall it was a nice experience on a weekday evening. Local crowd with some DePaul grad students thrown in. Staff was accomodating and friendly. The owner Tony mentioned which kegs were on-deck to be tapped, and said they get new beers in often.
2009 edit: Though I love this place, some of the import draft prices are outrageous. $9/10 oz. of Hitachino White & $12/10 oz. of Cantillon Vigneronne will make me think twice before splurging on these import drafts next time. What's up with all the "draft list" reviews?
If you're looking for a beer store nearby, check out Vrai Amour down the street on Webster: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/18656
If you're from out of town, 2 solid deep dish pizza options are also nearby: Pequods & Bacinos. Bacinos has a beer bar: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/19629/
2010 EDIT: Finally they have a beer list!!! Drafts are generally $6-9 now which is easier to swallow. Food can be hit or miss, we've gotten burnt grouper and grey guacamole before. Stick to the cajun items, and you should be alright.
01-16-2008 15:15:40 | More by emerge077
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.
05-09-2012 20:16:36 | More by Sammy
4.6/5 rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Good atmosphere: lots of seats (probably >100) broken up by booths, tall tables, and bar seats. Dark wood decor and a couple video games (Golden Tee, poker).
Tons of good beer choices, 25 taps during my visit:
Brooklyn Chocolate Stout
St Bernardus 12
Bells Christmas Ale
Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Founders Breakfast Stout
Sam Adams Chocolate Bock
Brooklyn Flemish Gold
Lagunitas Brown Shugga
+ some others
Darkness. On tap. With BCS chasers (take your pick, Brooklyn or Goose Island).
12-03-2008 17:31:57 | More by TurdFurgison
4.5/5 rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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
4.25/5 rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | $$
Loved this place, visited twice while we were in town for a convention, both times late night. We walked from Paddy Long's one night, after a nice stroll through the DePaul campus and the upscale neighborhood. Chicago bordering it.
Got a comfortable seat at the bar and were quickly greeted by the staff. A chalkboard has the copious draft list, with plenty of bottles in the coolers if nothing fit your fancy. We did not need to resort to the bottles as the draft list was plenty awesome. We made sure to grab the Local Option house beers (not made there but still) and other locals.
We would love to have closed the place if not for the early work bell the next day. One of our favorites.
08-02-2013 17:02:47 | More by sholland119
4.94/5 rDev +12%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Updating my review after a visit on 4/13/11 where the selection was so amazing, I had a very difficult time selecting a beer. I went with...
Einbecker Mai-Bock - $7 (because I just brewed a Mai Bock)
De Dochter Nobelesse $9.95
Jaipur IPA $8
Peche Mortel $9
I rolled the dice and let the bartender pick a transition beer form the Nobelesse to the Peche and he went with the English IPA which I would not have picked. Their keg had been kept cold since leaving England and was one of the most beautiful beers I've ever had.
Got to chat with the owner as well on a low-key Thursday and can say these guys totally get it about good beer and proper treatment. I made the decision to try Local Option again after a couple of ho hum experiences at the other top Chicago beer bars and this is my new go-to option for the best beer in Chicago.
As part of our twice a year beer/food/shopping visit to Chicago, I plugged The Local Option in as a stop before the Hopleaf. This works out well from a logistics standpoint because they are both a couple blocks from the red line El (different stops).
The wife and I dropped in on a Sunday night around 5:40. I was really excited upon entering - it's a nice, clean place with TV's to watch football and some neat, old Miller brewerania. The bad part was they were preparing for a 6pm beer dinner and it would be standing room only for non participants. More bad news was that they would not serve my wife one of the only three beers she was interested in because they were part of the beer dinner. I'm cool with the beer dinner, but the not serving a beer aspect gives them a lower service score.
The beer selection was comprised of all the very good, readily available craft beers available in Chicago. I didn't notice any of the exception beers as others have mentioned. I was zero'd in on Surly and a bit distracted by the beer dinner and my wife not being able to get a beer she wanted.
I had to quickly down my Surly Furious so we could head out because the dinner folks were filling all the tables.
I'm not going to let this experience jade me and I plan on a return visit in the future. It's a good place to get a number of excellent craft beers. I suspect it's easier to get a table or a seat at the bar here as opposed to some of the more popular beer bars in the city. I'm also very interested in sampling their Cajun/Creole food.
12-16-2008 17:27:02 | More by Yetiman420
4.14/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
This was the first stop on the recent CTA pub-crawl. The Local Option has a good layout. There is a bar on your left that seats about 15. There are tables along the opposite wall and some more tables upfront near the large window. These open to the street and are a nice touch. There is additional seating in the rear room where the bathrooms are also located.
The bar has nice flat screen TVs for sports watching and is decorated with a bunch of beer memorabilia. Note that they seem to love old decorations from Miller High Life. A little out of place is the green neon sign from the band Journey....
16 very solid tap choices including among others, options from Goose, a couple from Surly, Gaffel Kolsch & a choice from Floosmor Brewing. Tap lines were immaculate and beer was served at the proper temp.
They have a large display of their bottle offerings (over 75 maybe closer to 100). Believe me, you will find something good to drink.
The service was fast, friendly and professional. They were very free with samples.
While the menu looked good, I did not partake this time, so I will update my review when I eat there again.
Great option in the De Paul - Lincoln Park neighborhood!
04-23-2009 19:00:50 | More by Redrover
4.78/5 rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$$
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.
10-20-2011 18:53:00 | More by crossovert
Local Option in Chicago, IL
97 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.