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Twisted Spoke

Not Rated.
Twisted SpokeTwisted Spoke
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

40 Ratings
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: n/a
Taps: 122
Bottles: 170
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

501 N Ogden Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60642-6422
United States
phone: (312) 666-1500

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: cliff1963 on 05-06-2009

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 18
Reviews by beerwolf77:
Photo of beerwolf77
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Another stop on the Chicago tour.

The look and the feel of the place is totally faux biker bar. The only bikers showing up here are rocking north face jackets and armani sunglasses. Lot's of chrome and diamond plate to give it a bad ass feel.

The beer list was impressive. I had my heart set on some rare sours from their reserve list. Sadly it was devoid of anything that really interested me. I settled for a Blackout stout from 07. It showed some sings of age but was tasty for the most part.

The service was super friendly and fast. Always love that.

The food was pretty solid. We only ordered a bunch of apps but everything was good.

Overall not sure I will stop back but I'm glad I got the chance to check it out.

More User Reviews:
Photo of kdb150
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Simply put - Twisted Spoke is one of the best bars anywhere. Spent most of the day there on a Sunday to watch playoff football - out server was fantastic, the beer selection excellent, the bourbon selection the best I've ever seen (really!), the vibe welcoming to everyone (even kids), and just all around a great experience. Didn't have a meal, but the food looked outstanding. This bar is an absolute must visit on any trip to Chicago.

Photo of Barnoloid
4/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Good spot in the West Town area. Despite the 'biker bar' theme this is a chill place most of the time. Always a varied and eclectic tap list to choose from - plenty of national and local options on tap with some carefully picked selections. Quality bar food - burgers, breakfast and sandwiches all hit the spot.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Alright, if you're reaching the end of a bachelor party near 1am, how can you resist the allure of something called "Smut-n-Eggs"? Well, our group made its way over to Twisted Spoke for just that reason. The place has a biker bar aesthetic, but it's much more laid back inside. Sure, there's motorcycle paraphernalia around, and the bartender looks like he rides, but there's also a semi-modern, welcoming feel to it as well. We came in during the tail end of SnE, which is basically just breakfast food served under the auspices of old porn. (And I mean old: It seemed like we were watching stuff from the 50s and 60s on a couple of the screens.) We got a seat in the back room, unfortunately away from the porn, but we occasionally wandered back over to the bar area for some glimpses. The selection was pretty strong, with some Off Color in there alongside the usual suspects (Lagunitas, Goose Island, Revolution, etc) and old favorites like Genny Cream. The waitress was nice enough, but she tended to disappear for long stretches, making us wonder where our orders were and if we were being ignored (likely unintentionally). Another little gripe was that the menu had a few errors (the one that sticks in my mind was Off Color's Scurry being listed as their troublesome, two very different styles). The tempura-fried bacon I had was surprising pretty damn good, especially when dipped in the accompanying soy sauce. Prices seemed pretty normal for the City. Overall, this place ain't half bad, and I imagine things would have been slightly better at the bar, but from our experience it was good with some improvements needing to be made here or there. Fun times, though...

Photo of Etan
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in here after work to check out the menu, which I heard was impressive. They have a pretty good tap list and a really nice bottle menu. What really stood out for me, though, was the Reserve list - a bunch of cellared beers, some of them pretty rare. Most of the bottles off this list are pretty expensive (usually around a 100-150% markup), but some of them are pretty reasonable for the vintage/rarity. They even offer shots of stuff like TNP (no thanks) and Utopias for a decent price. I bought a bottle of something very expensive off this list, and the bar tender was curious and friendly; she even offered me a shot of some small batch whiskey on the house, which was nice.

However, the bottle lists are pretty outdated - it took me three tries before they had something I wanted off the Reserve list, and I could see stuff in the fridge behind the bar that clearly wasn't on the bottle list. Other than that, the food was decent (Fatboy burger was pretty awesome), and the atmosphere was quirky and friendly.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
2.65/5  rDev -35.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4

Atmosphere- This is an interesting combination of a biker bar and craft beer bar. Honestly the best way to describe it. Nice outdoor seating on top of the building surround by a fence for customer safety.

Quality-great selection on beer, but the problem was that the beer menu was way out of date. Of the 5 people with me we all wanted to try a few beers listed on the menu only to find that they no longer have them. The waitress made it clear that the beers we asked for that were still one the menu have been gone for a long time.

Service- Slow. Quite disspointing.

Selection / Value- decent menu nothing fancy. decent prices on the food items. Beer menu as mentioned earlier they need to update the beer menu. Had some crazy vintage beers that cost you your first born son. I actually bought a bottle of beer for $80 while we had dinner. Crazy price, but I cant complain because it was my decision to buy it. The beer was pretty good though, just not 80 dollars good.

Photo of wernerherzog
4.9/5  rDev +19.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is currently my favorite place to drink in Chicago. They have great specials (Maker's Mark Mondays, select 2.50 pints Tuesdays, Whiskey Wednesdays, etc...) and the staff is warm and personable.

The atmosphere is enjoyable. Somehow the bar's build keeps it from getting too obnoxious when crowded and loud. They always have great music playing super-loud but it's never been a problem.

The selection is terrific. The first time I came in this year, I got a nemesis from, I think 2009. More recently a friend and I split a North Coast Old Stock Ale from 2008. I didn't feel that either one was exorbitantly priced for how old it was. Some other bottle prices can get to be a bit high as most locations.
The tap selection has some notable regulars for good prices but the real treat is the rotating tap selection which changes fairly regularly and features a fairly rare or aged beer each time. They recently tapped a keg of Bourbon County from last year that they'd saved over. It wasn't tapped for an event or special happening, just for the hell of it.

The burger and BBQ sandwich are both stellar. The Bloody Mary is fantastic.

The bartenders are smiling, friendly, and always seem to be having a good time while working.

This place manages to offer a quality experience without being pretentious or attracting that sort of crowd. You're more likely to meet a rig driver than a grad-school beer snob.

Photo of Treebs
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I stopped here for a pint with a fellow BA after taking a trip down to FFF.

The place is right on the corner and is easily spottable with the rotating motorcycle over the top of the establishment. Handlebars for the door knobs/pulls and you're definitely in a biker bar. Skulls hanging and sitting on top of shelving and the two servers have long beards. Nice.

The staff was friendly and answered our questions as best they could, although they weren't as knowledgeable about the their "reserve list" for their beer. The beer list/menu is on a clipboard with several sheets broken down to the following: Tap, bottle, Barrel-aged beers, and the infamous "Reserve List". Most of the beers on the reserve list and the barrel-aged lists were outrageously priced (STB and TNP for $300 and $200 respectively). Others were expensive, but far below their Ebay price so if you really wanted some vintage stuff this might be the place to go. The tap list was decent and had some stuff that you wouldn't really wouldn't find at another establishment.

I did not try any of the food.

Overall it was a nice place, had some good beer, and had a great novelty about their "Reserve List." I would like to come pop some bottles here one night instead of in the club though.

Photo of funkyaudio
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I really dig this place. The menu is a stack of papers on a clipboard, probably three to four pages of beers, one for drafts, one for bottles, one for their aged beers and probably one more that I've forgotten about. The commentary is crass and awesome, probably borderline offensive but if you're easily offended, you probably shouldn't be here in the first place.

If you really don't like this place: You're doing it wrong, and we don't want you visiting anyways. If you want to come with a notepad & gripe about everything wrong, don't. If you want to have a good meal & watch a game with some of the best beers available, you are more than welcome

Photo of dirtylou
3.78/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

stopped in on a busy weekend night, post pitchfork festival

about 20 taps - mostly mainstream micros but a few more interesting offerings from the bruery, firestone walker, etc. the bottle-list was vast but it was really too busy to dive in.

food was on the greasy side - i had a bbq sandwich that really hit the spot, but wasnt anything you would really want to eat unless you were starving.

service was completely overwhelmed. bar tables had a wait and the server was kind of a dipshit. the bartender was overworked but nice. due to the proximity to union park, i can only assume this wasnt a normal night.

there is a biker theme, but you wouldnt have guessed - the crowd was a mixed bag, and very light on the leather.

Not worthy of a destination-visit, but good to have on the map of options in the city.

Photo of htomsirveaux
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in here for dinner and a beer, 18 Jul 2011, ~1930 hrs. 

Large curved stainless bar dominates room.  Back bar has maybe 400 bottles of various Liquors.  Also a bottle each of Sink the Bismark, Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Utopias.  About 20 beers on tap, 100 regular bottles, 40 or so barrel aged and as many 'reserve' beers.  

Bar seats maybe 30, plus about 8 four tops and another seating space to the left w tables.  Maybe a dozen people in bar. I sat at the bar and had the Italian beef sandwich. It was pretty good and was big enough to split with someone.

Overall some people talking about bikes but no one looked like a stereotypical biker.  

Photo of RayYanks23
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Great place! We went in early afternoon so it was a little empty, but the beers were great and the food was amazing...diner food x 10.

Definitely a biker theme going on...you would not think that they had the beers there that they did from the outside...An excellent bottle menu, unfortunately; as my talent would have it, most of what I asked for they were out of, but I found some and they definitely have enough for everybody's liking.

Would recommend anyone who asked me about it to stop in and if you go try the meatloaf!

Photo of Duffman929
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Don't be scared by the biker bar appearance, as this place is great for food and drinks. There are well over 15 beers on tap, along with tons of bottled and aged beers. I highly recommend getting 3 buddies and going in on a bottle to try some rare/hard to get beers.

As for the food, I had the meatloaf sandwich. There was plenty of food to eat and the taste was was great. My buddy got the burrito and he told me that he enjoyed it. The service was very good and the staff seemed to know what they were talking about. I will be sure to go back again soon.

Photo of immobilisme
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Twisted Spoke is the bar that I frequent the most. It could be because my girlfriend loves it, or it could be because the have one of the best tap lists in the city... it is a little bit of both to be honest.

They have seating on their roof, which is awesome for the summer. I just sat up there yesterday.

For the past six months, Twisted Spoke has featured five barrel-aged beers on tap continuously. So cool. Also, they have 2.50 Tuesdays. They had Fullers ESB, Port Hot Rocks, and Great Lakes Commodore Perry pints for 2.50.

Another reason to love Twisted Spoke is that they rarely get overly busy. It never gets slammed like Hopleaf or Map Room. They get unbelievable kegs. 3 Floyds Chocolate City, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, Lost Abbey Deliverance, and the list goes on.

Their food is great. The four banger grilled cheese is exceptional and so is the buffalo catfish sandwich.

The service is good. Since I am there so often, many of the bartenders know me.

Twisted Spoke is awesome.

Photo of jrallen34
4.15/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I've been wanting to go here and I finally made it over to try Racer X during craft beer week.

It's set up like a biker bar, pretty nice inside, incredibly crowded for a Wednesday night.

The selection and quality of the beers was great. They had a special cbc menu, plus the regular menu of bottles and taps, and an awesome reserve list. The reserve list is a great idea with such awesome beers as founders nemesis and several years of dark lord. Its pricey but worth it.

The downside of this place is how busy it is and the service. The bartenders seem knowledge but so nice. I waited 10 minutes for a hostess to put my name on the list for a table and eventually just wrote it on there my self, and our waiter wasn't very knowledgable.

The food was pretty good, they had fired bacon which was great.

Good place for beer, but expect to wait a little and not get a ton of help

Photo of samie85
3.78/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

A nice, up to date interior greeted us as we entered the Twisted Spoke.

My girlfriend went to get a table and I stood at the bar trying to get us some drinks. Well, after about twenty minutes of being ignored by the bartenders, I went to join my girlfriend.

Our server had better luck getting us some thing to drink and I got a Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans. My girlfriend got a bomber of Crispin Honeycrisp Cider. I also got a Stone DDH IPA and a BA IRS later in the night.

On to the food. We both ordered the same Fatboy burger with Chihuahua cheese, bacon, and barbecue sauce cooked medium. It came out well-done although it wasn't totally dry. The toppings made up for the burger being overcooked, although they went a little overboard with the cheese.

Service was touch and go after we got our food. To be fair, I don't think the staff has experienced an event this big before, and if they have it didn't show. The bartenders especially were overwhelmed and it seemed like more than a few of them had no idea what they were doing in regards to pouring. I saw a LOT of beer being thrown away. It also took about 40 minutes to get my last beer of the night.

This place did have 20 Stone beers on-tap and they have a pretty great, if a little over-priced, bottle list. Some nice, rare, aged bottles on the list.

Overall though, it was an enjoyable experience, and I think it would be even more enjoyable one on a less busy night.

Photo of emerge077
3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

2012: Have been in several times and the service has improved, no more short pours, etc. The last time in, half the taps were crossed out, and the server rattled off a few ho-hum new beers. Asked about recently released beers like Big Hugs and BCBS, and they only had 2 year old bottles for over $20. Seemed fairly obvious they don't care about getting in new releases, just sitting on old bottles to charge more. Only Half Acre was Gossamer, and no Jolly Pumpkin. It was a chore to go through the list and find something they actually had, and worth drinking. We moved on to the whiskey list after one beer. The reserve list is still pretty laughable, $80-90 bucks for stuff available 1-3 years ago and $300 for Utopias. Don't be a sucker...

11-21-2009
Twisted Spoke is unmistakable on this dreary corner of no-man's land...4 lane intersection of Grand & Ogden, just look for the rotating skeleton on a motorcycle perched on the roof.

Inside, there's a skinny room with an arced bar cutting through it, maybe 6-8 ft. to the wall at it's narrowest. A graduated stadium rack of liquor bottles sits behind it, three flatscreens set into them, with the utmost topshelf liquors high above. They had many impressive bourbons, but after seeing the prices on the "reserve" beer list, I didn't bother with them.

We grabbed a table near the windows, they were tall and framed with metal, it felt like being in an expanded railcar. This wasn't really a biker bar at all, as it might project from the outside, with all the families and children in tow on an early Friday night. (?) What used to be a small second bar room is now expanded overflow seating, with long tables. I've heard great things about the rooftop deck, and hope to return in the spring to check it out.

The reason we were here... Expedition on draft! It was $6 served in a fluted tulip glass. 2nd round of Victory Moonglow was the same price, but the newish bartender kinda short poured it with over an inch of foam (same glass, maybe 10 oz. at most). Our waiter was alright, and pointed out what was on special for us.

Selection was craft-focused and varied, Surly Hell, Dark Horse One, Lenny's RIPA also on tap, 20 taps in all. Bottle list was pretty large and varied too, overall pricing varied wildly...PBR for $3.25 on up to Dark Lord '06 for the low low introductory price of $99. Some of the imports were on the high side, Hopf Weisse for $11 and Plank Weissbock for $14 as an example (16.9 oz). (To compare, Rodenbach GC was $14 for a 750) Brewdog Atlantic IPA was $60... had a good laugh at that one. Still there's plenty of quality beer to be had at an affordable price, even if you didn't bring a wheelbarrow full of cash.

Cross section of the reserve list: Expy '07 & Third Coast Old Ale 08, Rose De Gambrinus ($19), 8 DFH, Collab. Evil ($35), Deca ($40), Imp. Brown Goose ($45), Angels Share ($65), Old Rasputin XII ($50), Utopias ($35 shot, $300 bottle, lol), Hardys ($15-20), 4 FFF's, etc. Some very impressive stuff, but it comes at a price, over 200% markup from retail for some.

In a nutshell, they have some nice rotating taps and a rooftop deck. If you happen to be Don Magic Juan or a surgeon, get ready to drop a few G's...

Photo of brewdre
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

the spoke's roof deck is a great place to enjoy the well-curated revolving beer selections. located just off the beaten path, near downtown, near north, near west, near ukranian village, wicker park; sort of in the middle ground between the map room and clark st. ale house. surly furious, dark horse, two brothers, 3 floyds, flossmor recently on tap.

the food is very good, service is all over the place, the atmosphere is cool and interesting. skeleton bikers etc.

but the real draws are the beer and the roof deck.

the spoke also has a menu of super-premium and aged bottles. biggest such list i have seen in chicago.

the spoke is an under-heralded gem.

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Twisted Spoke in Chicago, IL
92 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.