The Publican

Not Rated.
The PublicanThe Publican
BA SCORE
98
world-class

38 Reviews
Reviews: 38
Visits: 89
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: n/a
Taps: 12
Bottles: 46
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

837 W Fulton Market
Chicago, Illinois, 60607-1318
United States
phone: (312) 733-9555

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @thepublican2008

Notes:
Place added by: rhoadsrage on 11-26-2008

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 38 | Visits: 89
Photo of YogiBeer
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

The motherland. Absolutely ridiculous food, absolutely everything made from scratch. They have a butcher shop across the street that dry ages beef, makes every type of charcuterie by hand, and bakes their own absolutely-top-quality bread. Organic, Fresh, Local everything. Great oysters, Great seafood, I could go on and on and on. If they ever have the duck hearts when you're there, GET THEM.

Beerwise, holy sh*t. They have everything from tiny belgian breweries to cantillon (basically all the time) to the best american craft. Every server has at least level 1 cicerone certification, and you can order a bunch of food then say "please pair these for me." Never ever been disappointed when I went here, ever. Worth at least a 2 hour drive.

Paul Kahan is very very very good at taking my money. (801 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

The Publican seems to be housed in a warehouse district near downtown Chicago, but for all the authentically rustic character of the neighborhood, the place is a polished gem. The decor is expansive and distinct; a group seating arrangement of long banquet tables is given a modicum of indivual privacy by virtue of the very high backs on the chairs; this particular design element is stunning. Cocktail tables are placed in the center of the space and serve as the bar. Individual tables are cozily arranged in a novel box-seating array. Even the bathrooms are gorgeous. Aside from the design and decor, the beer list is phenomenal, if pricy. The house-made Lambic, "Lambic Doux," is ridiculously delicious; as was the bottle of 100% BA Coton me and Alex drank. The servers are quite knowledgeable. And the oysters were among the best I have ever had. I ate nearly two dozen, a la carte. I will daydream about the Publican until I can return. (943 characters)

Photo of RMelyon
4.91/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is my favorite eatery in my favorite city. Not sure there's much more I can say.

If you get the chance, go here and order anything. It will be awesome.

Also, stop by the butcher shop across the street. Take home some bacon and sausage. You won't regret it. (265 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.9/5  rDev +7.9%

The Publican offers rustic food raised to a new level of elegance and it is perfectly matched for their marvelous beer selection. The beer list covers three columns over one side of a tabloid size sheet. The 12 tap draft list mixes interesting local and regional craft brews with some imported selections I have not seen on tap anywhere else. The bottled list includes top Chicago and American craft beers, a handful of selections from Germany, the UK, Sweden and France and then a column of Belgian selections. My only complaint - inside when the place is full it can get so loud you can barely talk to the person sitting next to you. The food and drink are great! (666 characters)

Photo of GoldenVIKE
4.9/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is the best "gastro pub" in Chicago if not the world. They have an incredible selection of meats and organ meats, and all are prepared, cooked, and served masterfully. The sweet breads is my personal favorite. Unreal.

Then there's the beer list. They've got hundreds of craft brews available including many on tap. You can even order hard to find brews like Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Stout and Founder's Breakfast Stout--of course you have to pay a heavy price for beers like that, like $45 for a bottle for example.

My only beef with this place is that I don't really care for the atmosphere. It sort of feels like a cafeteria due to the high ceilings, open rectangular room, and long bench tables. I know that's what they're going for, but it makes the place a bit loud and crowded feeling. This place would be even better if it felt more like a tavern. (869 characters)

Photo of justlovebeer
4.89/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

This place is outstanding. It has a great combination of outstanding beer list, menu and bourbon line-up.

When I went there were probably 30 different beer selections including a one off collaboration with Three Floyds and their own lambic. If you can't find something to like you aren't looking hard enough.

The food is served small plate style so you can try some different options and all of the options were outstanding. Prepared perfectly and each delectable. Definitely try the charcuterie option.

The bourbon selection included all vintages of PvW so you know you can get a treat. They were pricey, but for a special occassion splurge.

The service is impeccable and you will not wait or want for anything.

Definitely make this a stop if you are visiting or live in the Chicago area, you will not be disappointed. (826 characters)

Photo of kwjd
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I was visiting Chicago and I figured I had to try this place after looking at the menu and the beer list. If you are into interesting foods, you have to give this a try. All food is shared among the tables. My table had things such as sweet breads and lamb brains. There are things that are closer to "normal" too on their menu, but other than the spicy greens, I didn't try any of it.

The beer list was also great. They had a good selection of beer from the mid-west as well as plenty from around the US and international.

I would recommend making reservations well in advance. I called on Friday as soon as it opened for reservations for that night and they were booked solid. They said they were booked solid on Saturday too. I was told that since my group was only 3 people, we could probably get fit in somewhere if we were willing to hang out at the bar first. With the beer list there, that wasn't an issue, though we did get our table before we finished our first round. (980 characters)

Photo of Sanford
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

If I lived in Chicago I would be a regular. Everything was a bit pricey, but...really well done! Interesting wine/beer list, fantastic menu, with food that didn't disapoint. Our server knew the menu and beers, and was friendly.
I think a couple of visits would help to know the menu, leading to economical choices. What I mean is, some dishes, while delicious, were tiny, while others were generous. I would reccomend avoiding dishes with expensive ingredients, and trying the more humble offerings. Incredible flavor was coaxed from pork country ribs, and chicken, for instance, and the fries that were served under the chicken were the best I have ever, ever, had...fried in lard. (682 characters)

Photo of cratez
4.78/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Visited with my girlfriend for our 4th anniversary dinner in July 2011.

VIBE: pristine and modern decor with beautiful lighting and a comfortable, medium-sized bar. An L-shaped communal table occupies the middle of the restaurant with two-seater "horse stall" booths off to the left and assorted tables adjacent to the patio. Crowd is upscale yuppy and all of the staff wear uniforms. We enjoyed marveling at the breathtaking ambience of this high-end American eatery while eating our meal.

SERVICE: we received impeccable treatment from a young and knowledgeable waiter. He briefly described every single dish on the menu, including portion sizes, and was quite helpful with his recommendations. At one point he brought a plate to the table that we didn't ask for (he thought we did), but he quickly assured us that we wouldn't be charged for it and he apologized for the mistake. I left a 25% tip because we were so thoroughly impressed with the service.

SELECTION: the draught lineup was chock-full of rarities such as Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier, Porterhouse Wrasslers XXXX Stout, and The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel. Throughout our four course dinner, I had a Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow DIPA, Lagunitas Zephyr, and Mikkeller Draft Bear on tap and a Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster DIPA out of the bottle. These beers were among the best that I sampled on our trip to Chicago, and they nicely complimented the hearty food. Much to my relief, the lady loved the wine that she ordered.

FOOD: unbelievable cuisine for surprisingly good prices. We split the Three Hams plate, Market Salad, a delicious fish entree, and a chocolate meringue pie for dessert. All four dishes tasted phenomenal with immaculate presentation. Truly superb fare.

OVERALL: I'm glad we chose this spot for our special occasion. We had a lovely time here and will definitely return in the future. The Publican is an exemplary model of sophisticated dining matched with fine beer, and I highly recommend it to beer geeks and foodies alike. (2,019 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The Publcian.

To say I had been anxiously awaiting my Friday night reservations (booked 4 weeks in advance) would be one of the understatements of the year - i could barely contain my intrigue.

when they say it's located in the meatpacking district, thats not just some cute city rhetoric about an old reformed district. its literally in a meatpacking district. we walked from the loop, past the chocolate factory, under the interstate and through some crummy streets. Cabs were waiting when we left fortunately.

we rolled in at around 7:30 and left no earlier than 11. This place was absolutely buzzing - no wonder this was the new restaurant of the year in Chicago and is generating tons of national attention.

the interior is warehouse-style with thoughtful lighting, family style tables, boxcar style tables, and lots of bar space that is rotated as possible.

the beer list is one long page with about 8 taps and a bunch of bottles. there is nothing even close to pedestrian on this list - bottles of cantillon, obscure french and belgians, old rasputin xxi, plenty of lambics/geuze. Markups seemed reasonable given the quality and attention given to beer. impossible to not drink well here. it should be noted that this is not a bar. dont plan on coming here on a busy night and not eating - you wont even get in the door.

all that said, this place is about the FOOD...one of the most incredible restaurants i have ever eaten at - i didnt want to leave. This place pays homage to the pig like no other - oh and shellfish too. Started with chef's samplers of oysters and aged hams, moved into some pork skins, some mussels, and 2 FANTASTIC entrees (pork shoulder with clams and chorizo, sweetbreads with a lobster cream sauce).

service was slow but people here are forced to know their menu. our $150 2-person bill was reduced to approximately $100 after receiving some of the mentioned items for free. i couldnt have cared less - i wanted a 3 hour dinner and thats what i got. (1,990 characters)

Photo of Gratefullawyer
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

If you live in chicago you need to visit. If you were like me and a traveler go out of your way and stop in. However before you go plan and make reservations the place was packed.
I went on a Saturday night and fortunately made reservations that day for 6 showed up at 5 to sit and the bar. boy was i surprised to see this place. I expected upscale and it met my expectations
we sat by the bar and had mussels to do with our two drafts. and were later showed to our tables. We spent almost 4.5 hours in there eating and drinking,

Food - i would say belguim/french style. Seafood I had both the mussels and the seafood stew . both were outstanding. My friend had the pork belly . everyone around was enjoying the food.
Atmosphere one long u shape table were you sit and meet your neighbors talk beer, and food. it was great fun. I could see spending many a night eating and drinking in here
Beer selection: the selections leans to belguims and belguims made elsewhere. the staff was extrenely knowledgable and made excellant recommendation. Ended the night with a Surly 3 (ok 2 surly 3s)
a great place to expiernce beer and food
(1,133 characters)

Photo of immobilisme
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

The Publican is possibly my favorite restaurant in Chicago.

I know I am supposed to review the beer selection, but whatever. The food is amazing.

Ok. They always have a nice tap list and often have crazy stuff that you can't get anywhere else.

Their beer dinners are the highlight of my life. I have been to beer dinners at Hopleaf and a few other places, but none of them compare to The Publican. The Bruery beer dinner in April was ridiculously good and so was the Ommegang beer dinner last year.

The bottle list is expensive. Ok. It is very expensive. They do have rarities that you won't see anywhere else in Chicago though.

Service is great. They hire people who care about beer and care about their customers. (723 characters)

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

The Publican is one of those world-class establishments that does everything just right. Whether it be the taplist, the food, the atmosphere or the service, they seem to have their shit together.
The beer is supurb, bit I almost want to praise the food to a higher honor. This place is a foodie's delight, especially the carnivorous types. They specialize in small farm and artisanal food, and don't shy from the organs, brains, and other amazing tastes.
Showed up without a reservation on a busy Thusday night, but we found a standing table for the wait. Enjoyed some beers and french fries smothered in fried egg. Got our booth (we called it our pen, as it had a door) and were greeted by a knoweledgable server who, on our bidding, delivered the most delicious vittles, plate after plate. Amazing food and beer, great service, and a very cool vibe with their long common tables and cool booths. Prices were high, but not outrageous, luckily my work paid for the food part ;)
Check this place out if you're anywhere within 2 hours of it, okay? (1,047 characters)

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.73/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Very neat place to drink and eat.
Great beer and food pairings.
Knowledgeable staff makes good recommendations.
Great place to spend a few hours drinking an eating.
I would definitely visit again and recommend it to fellow beer and food lovers.
Prost! (254 characters)

Photo of botham
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

The Publican is a solid restaraunt that happens to have a decent selection of beer. the place looks like an old Norse dining hall that was transplanted to the West Loop, with new finishes and updated glassware and utensils. that being said, the food is exceptional and the beers are very inteligently chosen.

atmosphere is upscale restaraunt meets the aformentioned old Norse hall. bold and strong wooden furniture throughout, all medium toned with just-as-bold heavy wooden tap handles at the bar. booths along the far wall close off into their own spaces, which gives a cozy and private dining experience while still being a part of the overall space.

service and quality are near-perfect. artisan dining with great beers. focus of the menu is on pork and other meat dishes, with a good beer list of around ten taps and around 75 or so bottles. everything is a bit pricey, but the quality makes up for the price difference.

food is quite good. pork is definitely the focus, but all the food seen and tried was great.

overall, the Publican is an excellent restaraunt in the West Loop; the only complaint is the location, without too much around except for the street markets that close their doors mid-afternoon. that being said, once inside the patrons are transported to old Scandinavia. an excellent stop for those in the downtown area of Chicago. cheers! (1,363 characters)

Photo of KATCanada
4.69/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

First of all I am one of those foody's so am picky about food. First of all this is a very fun vibe with the communal tables and Pig photos and wood everywhere. Nice noise level and unpretentious servers with excellent beer knowledge. Very solid list of locals and imports/regionals with BCBS available by the bottle. Food is very good overall with some dishes rating "excellent". My vegetarian wife was happy with the big selection of fish and vegetable dishes. Must try the pork rinds. I had their collab sour for a starter with oysters - excellent way to begin, followed by a 4 Winds Rye IPA and then an Biscotti Break (on tap no less) with dessert. Don't miss this place if in the windy city! (696 characters)

Photo of Redrover
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

8-5-10 Update
I have been back several times. It has been consistently great (food & beer) and everyone I have taken here loves it. You have got to check it out!
+++

Original Review 4-30-10

All I can say is WOW. This is a great place and I really hope they have a long and successful run.

Located the in the Fulton Meat packing district, there is plenty of on-street parking or you would take the Halsted Street bus and make the short walk over. Note that when we left there were plenty of taxis.

As you enter the vestibule, the hostess station & restaurant are to your left. The interesting bathrooms are to your right. Note that they bathrooms do not have sinks, but there is a very unique community sink located right outside the bathroom doors.

One of the neat aspects of the Publican is the large communal tables. While there are a few small tables, and few tables where your stand, the odds are that you will be sitting next to someone you don't know. This is great though as the atmosphere is so friendly it really lends itself to conversation. Speaking of conversation, the only downside of this place is the steady roar of noise. I think they have bit to much wood and should get some damping material on the floor or walls. I loved the oil paintings of the pigs!

The beer list is expansive and well thought out. Big emphasis on beers from Belgium and Belgian inspired US & Canadian beers. Note that they have some exclusive options from Goose Island. Prices range from a reasonable $5 for a Jolly Pumpkin & Goose Island to all the way up to $70 for some rare large bottles. The wine list is impressive, but I would say 80% of the patrons are drinking beer.

The food is fantastic. They emphasis is on pork but they also offer good fish & seafood choices. I've been told that they get a whole organic pig every Friday and that this is what they use the entire week.

We started with the spicy homemade pork rinds and then had the three-ham sampler platter. I liked they way they brought out the entrees one at time so we could share. We had the smelt, a nice salmon, fantastic chicken and some of the best pork ribs I've ever had. Desert was waffles.

The tab for four with tip was $260. $65 per person is cheap considering the quality of the food, the excellent service and really great beers.

Do yourself a favor and make tracks to this wonderful restaurant/bar. (2,386 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Stopped out here for dinner after attending FOBAB on saturday the 12th. It was within walking distance from the Plumbers Union Hall building tha hosts FOBAB. A group of 4.

Atmosphere: Clean and inviting establishment. Its has a rustic dinning area with a modern looking kitchen. Pretty fancy bathrooms too. Booths with "barn doors" that close guests in for a private meal. Also several large wooden community dinning tables. Unbelevable glassware for all types of alcohol.

Quality: Looks to be a high end dinning experience.

Service: Top Notch! The hostess was polite and seated us immediatly. Dealt with several servers during the meal, they all did well. Our main server was polite, very knowledgeable of the menu(both food and alcohol) and down to earth; this made the group feel as welcome as an honorary guest.

Selection: Really good menu. Really sampled alot of food for dinner. The menu offers multiple items from different regions of the USA and outside of the USA where the food is consider the premium. 4 types of premium hams, 6 different oysters, a $120 seafood platter that requires a 48 hour RSVP! Great beer menu and other alcoholic beverages. All waitstaff have been trained to answer and questions you may have about the booze. The beer pours are correctly done and impressive.

Food: We ate the pork rinds as appetizer, potted rillettes, charcuterie plate, bouchot mussels, farm chicken, and bread pudding for dessert. All the food was fresh, and amazingly delicous. The Charcuterie plate was not something I would normally eat and quite frankly out of my comfort level; it was awesome! We honestly ate way more food than we needed and all plates went back to the kitchen empty. We left the restaurant uncomfortably full, but very happy we were.

Value: It ended up caost each person approximately 35 buck a person wth tip included. Decent cost for a meal in downtown Chicago, especially when you factor in how good the food was and the excellant service! You must try this place out! (2,012 characters)

Photo of Sallerj
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place focuses on beer, oysters, and pork. I've been there twice now. Everything I've had to eat and drink has been great. One time my waiter was blatantly drunk. The service might be excessively casual while trying to be hip, but the servers have been knowledgeable and attentive. The beer selection, wine list, and menu are all fantastic. This is my favorite new place in Chicago. It isn't cheap, but I've gone expecting to spend a lot, had as much as I want to eat and drink, and had the check end up being less than I expected. (535 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.63/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Made a point to visit over the weekend, at 3:30 when they opened. The beer director is BA RadioFlyer, and he was there to talk beer with us the whole time. He was an encyclopedia of beer knowledge (also an avid homebrewer), and shared samples with us, which was fun. The main draw for me were the exclusive Goose Island "experimental" specialties, such as Madame Rose, Matilda Framboise, and various Saisons using single Brett strains. Service was very prompt, helpful, and sincere. They even offered complimentary still or sparking bottled water. Be advised though, it's is a high-end establishment...reservations recommended for dinner.

The beer list is very well designed (available online), and organized into the following sections: Draught, Trappist, Belgian-micro, Abbey Style, Methode Champenoise, Lambics (all traditional), Flemish Red/Bruin, Saison, Biere de Garde, German, Danmark, Norwegian, Finnish, British Isles, Swedish, and American. Drafts rotate fairly often, currently the highlights were Matilda Framboise, Hopsinjoor, Flossmoor Pullman Brown, and Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek. Drafts ranged from $5-9, and bottles were $5 for Avery IPA, up to $50 for Deus and Lou Pepe Framboise. The list was eclectic and varied, but seemed to focus most on Belgian Saison/Lambic/Biere de garde. I was happy to see Jolly Pumpkin offered here, and look forward to the beer dinner planned for May (edit: never happened).

We ordered off the "snacks" menu (available from 3:30-5:30), and not from the full dinner menu. Spicy pork rinds, frites with aioli, a trio of aged hams, and L'Etivaz, a Swiss Gruyere style cheese. The frites were a standout paired with the beer, cooked in beef tallow, and my favorite in the city. The menu was a perfect compliment to the beer, sort of high-end "deli/junk food" if you will. My favorite ham was la quercia rossa, the sample trio was $18...if you get a reservation for dinner here, expect it to be in the "$$$-$" range. Everything on the small menu was under $20, with the exception of the chef's selection of a dozen oysters ($30). I'm planning a return visit to try the mussels steamed in Cuvée René.

Atmosphere was clean and modern, lots of brass and wood, with shades of brown everywhere, even the staff's coats. The bar was low (with seats), with uniform wooden tap handles towering above. Taps were identified by small dangling engraved brass medallions. An army of globe lanterns above cast a soft light as the last bit of daylight ebbed from the front windows. There were giant illustrated canvas prints of equally giant hogs on the walls. It was an ultramodern shrine to the other white meat...

Edit: After returning for dinner last night, i'd put the food score at 5. We shared the suckling pig and sweetbreads dishes, which were worthwhile and then some. The Kumamoto oyster was a bit gritty with sand or shell pieces, otherwise everything was flawless. Right up to the pigpen corral tables which were surprisingly un-claustrophobic. Oh yeah... and Older Viscosity on tap :)

2011: After a half dozen visits, Publican always impresses. Whether it's just drinks at the bar, brunch, or dinner. They have earned their spot as an innovator in the local dining/beer scene.

A side note, the private "stockyard stall" tables are inspired by the restaurant's Fulton Market location, which has been one of Chicago's meatpacking districts for the better part of a century. Also inspired by the "snugs" of european taverns. More info: http://designbureaux.site.aplus.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/ThePublicanDesignReferences.jpg

2012: Drafts still start out at $5 (Zombie Dust), pretty affordable, yes some bottles are expensive, that's the standard at any nice restaurant in town unfortunately... They also do a house lambic doux blend that is occasionally available. (3,828 characters)

Photo of Higy
4.63/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have been here twice once for brunch and then for New Year's Eve. Both times were excellent. For New Year's we took some friends and they were very impressed. They have communal seating and booths with doors (like feed stalls for hogs, very unique.) All together a very nice setting.

The servers are very personable and knowledgable on their beer selections. They are also very good a recommending pairing for their delicious foods and beer.

A little pricey but you get what you pay for and more! (500 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore... On the flip side, this place seems like your nowhere CLOSE to anywhere that is in the United States. Resembles a Prague beer hall with its tall chairs, long tables, closed off booths, and an awesome community sink (like many of the festivals have in Germany/CZ) that is outside of the restrooms. Cool! Now here goes a review of the place.

Outlined with huge portraits of pigs, these guys are lovers of this animal. There was medium traffic in the restaurant when I was here but there were still more employees working then customers. Since I wasn't eating, they sat us at a stand up wooden table and decided this at the door when they ask for your seating choice (can only sit at the beer hall tables if you are dining).

Very clean, woody, and proper glassware and beer practicing here with presentation. Can't get ANY better!

After talking (or trying to have communication) with 2 of the servers, it was very tough! Not sure if they were having talking issues because of what crazy beers that we were about to order or they were just nervous... Strange! One of the Bar Managers did come around and ask about our experience and this was great! Its always awesome to be able to get a few words in with one of the dudes running the place.

I would definitely look at the prices on any brew here before ordering! Have said this, most of them were anywhere from $22-24 on average all the way up to $65. This was were the place was a bit pricey... Also the food list didn't look very appealing for the prices but who knows. Maybe next time I will have a different outlook on the place as far as price vs. experience.

Check out their hours before taking a taxi here. We decided to come on a Sunday @ 3pm and they didn't open until 5. Not a problem since there were plenty of other places around here until they opened but a bit of a hassle w/ Chicago's unfriendly rain and wind this particular day. (1,936 characters)

Photo of cnbrown313
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 5

Ahhh... The Publican. Just writing that brings a smile to my face. Located right in the middle of what used to be the historic meat packing plants in Chicago.

Paul Kahan might be one of the most famous chefs in Chicago today and in my opinion, The Publican is his finest creation. If you like beer, pork, and seafood... look no further.

First of all, every server at The Publican is a certified Cicerone. So, not only do they know their beer, they can pair it perfectly with their food and even the nerdiest beer nerd will likely feel at home with the selection. On my last visit there, I drank Cantillon Kriek on tap until I simply could drink no more... it was fantastic. Even the bourbon selection was amazing. Would you like a 23 year Pappy neat? No problem here. The Publican also has unique offerings, such as their own house blended lambics.

As amazing as the beer is at The Publican, the food is the real star, but since this is a beer review site I will keep it short. Just do a Google image search for "Publican bacon."

PS - Around the corner at Publican Quality Meats, you can grab some amazing cuts of meat take take home too. If you like head cheese, you need to try some while you are here. In my opinion, it's the best there is. (1,247 characters)

Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped by here while in Chicago on a business trip. Had no reservations but was by myself and was able to get a spot at the communal table - it was a pretty busy Thursday evening.

Cool place with a modern beer garden decor twist - lots of wood. The beer menu is good with a nice selection of current and quality beers from across the US - mostly focused on the midwest. There was a Brooklyn event earlier in the week so there were a few of their one-off beers on tap. The food is also quite good and I image that most are drawn to this place for that. I was not but found the dishes to be good but not as good as I expected given the pedigree of the chef/owners.

Overall a cool spot for dinner and good beverages. Would definitely come back next time I'm in Chicago. (771 characters)

Photo of robbyc1
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Been there a couple of times now, it does rival Hopleaf as a beer and food place to go.

It is a big open location, described nicely by others below, I just want add that there is a bar where you can eat and drink, also standing tables, then long Europe type tables, think of Octoberfest in Germany, then there are finally closed door tables where you can have a bit of privacy. It is not so loud so you can have decent conversation, I don't even remember music playing which is fine. Overall a rowdy and fun place to eat and drink, and people watch.

Upscale food, including fish (excellent oysters), meats, interesting vegetable choices. Everything was top quality, including the beer. My mate had a Hanssens strawberry from 2001? 3 different servers came over to comment on how great this beer was, and all food and drink was greatly enjoyed.

Sevice is attentive, a bit sloppy at times but they really focus alot of people on your needs. The best one there is Michael, the beer sommelier, who has deep knowledge of the beer list, and I believe put it together. He also orders the drafts. Unfortunately he is only one man, and the waiters try to know the list as well but sometimes come up short. Do ask for Michael if you go, or ask something very esoteric (what kind of hops are in this IPA, I really like Challenger?) and they will call him over.

Selection of food is great, of beer very good, many unusualities from the 80+ bottles. They now have 12 taps plus one cask of great selections as well. Assume 1/2 craft, 1/2 Belgian, with a few Germans, British, with a Jolly Pumpkin, full slate of The Bruery, and Matilda to boot. I put Hopleaf's 30+ taps plus 100 plus bottles above this but no other restaurants (certainly many bars, e.g. Maproom, Local Option).

Dishes come in variable sizes, many to share. The value is decent given the quality, but expect food to run $40 - $50 per head plus beer here which is rather pricey. For true Chicago gastropubs you must consider this and Hopleaf a tie at the top. (2,016 characters)

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The Publican in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.