Fountainhead

Not Rated.
FountainheadFountainhead
BA SCORE
95
world-class

63 Ratings
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: n/a
Taps: 27
Bottles: 150
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery, Store ]

1970 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60613-1021
United States
phone: (773) 697-8204

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @thefountchicago

Notes:
Place added by: emerge077 on 04-29-2010

Monday - Friday: 4:00pm - 2:00am
Saturday: 12:00pm - 3:00am
Sunday Brunch: 10:30am - 2:30pm
Sunday: 2:30pm - 2:00am
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 | Reviews: 23
Reviews by Northsider:
Photo of Northsider
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I live about 1/2 a block from this place. I went to the grand opening before they had food and before I was really into beer...I thought it was alright but I loved the decor. Dark and roomy.

Now that I'm trying new beers this is my go-to place. It has many beers and styles on tap and an extensive bottle list. The menu gives great descriptions of the beers and it's helpful when deciding. The staff are really great and will gladly give advice and draft samplers (I had about 4 samples before I could decide once!).

Now that they have more food other than appetizers I love to go here for a burger (pretzel buns ftw!) and brew. Highly recommended.

Be advised, this place gets super crowded on Friday and Saturdays after 5 or 6 pm...an hour wait at least.

I agree with hawks10 about this place not being douchey or pretentious (try the Oakton across the street if you love the wasted-in-the-middle-of-the-street kind of Friday evening). Just a nice comfortable place to grab a beer.

Also, rooftop section of this place has not opened yet as of May 21, 2011. I think this summer the roof will be open.

More User Reviews:
Photo of KeithE
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Great neighborhood tavern with a fantastic selection for craft brews both on tap and in bottle. Tap beers are always changing and they carry a lot of small batch beers. I highly recommend this place for it's really great beer selection and it's unpretentious atmosphere.

Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.57/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

This is a beer and spirits bar lined with tons of dark mahogany wood that conjures up feelings of old world pubs, but less cluttered. The beer menu is freaking 14 pages long! 14 pages! Whiskey and Scotch take up another 8 pages or more, so if that is your thing...drink up. They have a small back Barrel Room for extra seating and events. By all reports, the food is excellent as well, but we just stopped in for a drink. I was impressed with the vibe of the place--comfortable and upscale, but not pretentious, everyone there seemed to be very relaxed and having a good time. Service was very knowledgeable and quick when needed. It took us a while to make our way through the huge beer list (which included tons of beers I'd never heard of) and eventually tried out some of the stranger ones. There was a whole group of beers that had been collaborations with local breweries and chefs (including Stephanie Izard from Top Chef/Girl & Goat, as well Fountainhead's own Cletus Friedman.) I would love to come back here again and strongly recommend it to serious beer geeks.
Slightly pricy, but acceptable for what they are serving.

Photo of Fluffheady
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

A really cool place that is finding its way. The beer list and events are INSANE. The patio upstairs is one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever seen. It is an instant establishment. However, sometimes it feels like the place is trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong, if you are visiting Chicago you absolutely need to visit this neighborhood and stop here, Half Acre Taproom, and Bad Apple.

I’ve had some really odd experiences here. I can’t remember ever liking my food (on 15+ times ordering food here). The chefs have changed a few times, and most recently I was very excited about the new chef who used to own a deli I frequented, but a burger I ordered recently was a fail. Another odd experience here was when a friend of mine asked for "another beer that is similar to the one I am drinking, but not the same beer" because he wanted to explore their expansive beer list. He was drinking a $7 draft, and the server showed up with an open $30 750mL bottle as the "similar" beer. The beer was good and the style was spot on. That wasn’t the problem. The problem is how much of an awkward situation the server put us in. It’s simply unacceptable. I hope those anecdotes don’t deter you from at least trying Fountainhead, but I also hope you are able to get past how weird this place can be so you can enjoy the very impressive beer list, whiskey list, and decor. P.S. If you like this place, check out it’s "older brother" bar, "the Bar on Buena". All the good, but much smaller and neighborhoody.

Photo of Rick_K
4.18/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Having been to this place only on Friday nights, it's usually packed, and in the summer/warmer months, the rooftop is open and the place is always buzzing.

Food is average pub food, so nothing special to write about. Beer, however, is another story. They have specialty beers on tap from time to time and is a great place to try out new flavors that they bring in. I'm not sure how often the rotation is, but my favorite is the Founders Breakfast Stout served in a sniffer glass. Yum-yum!

A good place to start or end the night, depending on which direction you're going in the city.

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Visited back in September 2012 on a Monday night. Upon entering at around 8pm, the place was full enough to give it a good vibe...it had a real neighborhood pub feel to it. A place where you could meet friends, have a couple of pints (or a dram of whiskey or three, which I did after one beer. The whiskey selection is way more impressive than the beer selection ever thought of being,) or if you like you could sit there and drown your sorrows all by yourself. I don't think that they had a TV in the place, but if they did, I would like to believe that this would be a place more likely to show English Premier League soccer than anything else. We stayed and had some food, which was perhaps slightly more upscale than your typical pub fare and the service that we received was good. I thought that the prices were reasonable. Like others have stated they have an extensive selection of beers, I had a German marzen that night, followed by some one-off single barrel scotches. The place also has a roof-top bar, which would be great in the summer or even in the early fall in Chicago. Overall, this is a great place and I hope to make it back. If I lived in the neighborhood, this would most defiantly be my local.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Been here a couple o' times now, and I've enjoyed them both. The vibe is pretty low key, but with a sort of mild arrogance: imagine a nice, neighborhood public house where you can feel free to raise your pinky as high as you damn well please. The servers/'tenders are amiable without going overboard and seem to at least generally know their stuff about the suds they're pouring. The selection tends to be pretty top-notch, though the menus (we're talking both paper and online here) are always behind reality as many things tap rather quickly, apparently. This is not the worst problem in the world, but it does get annoying after a while when you can't order the beers you want. The prices are more than fair, especially considering Chicago is involved. Overall, I really do like this place. If I lived in the area, it would be my neighborhood bar for sure.

Photo of KDawg
4/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Fountainhead was part of a long bar crawl.

There is a very laid back feel to fountainhead. It may have been influenced by it being mid-day on a sunday, but that's just how it was. There was a modernish feel to it, but it was far from sparse while also having the more comforting feel to it.

The service was pretty good. There was only 1 bartender and all of the bar stools filled, but it wasn't hard to get a beer at all. The bartender was also on point with the food (which was very good. The beignets were great and the grits were very good as well)

The location is very easy to get to and the neighborhood is excellent.

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

It must be noted that this was my first time visiting Fountainhead. I know nothing of it's history, ownership, sister bars, etc...

I like the location. It's off some of the main roads, which makes it much more of a destination. The place was not busy when I arrived mid-day Saturday, with a few tables of young folk/business professionals sitting around eating and drinking. The noise level at this point of the day was not overwhelming. The back bar is gorgeous, and they have it stocked with some fantastic whisk(e)y. Some really rare bottles like Cask of Yamazaki 1984, Knappague Castle 1951 ($130 a shot), and Glenfarclas 1951.

It was a very solid beer selection. They had a really great selection of Harvest style pale ales on tap, which at this visit, I was not seeking, so a bit of a let down as far as tap selection goes. They had a Cantillon on tap that kicked 2 ounces into my pour, so the bartender served me the two ounces and I reviewed the bottle list...only to be a bit disappointed. They offered some nice sours on there, including some Cantillon, etc...but nothing that really blew me away. At this point they were also featuring some different brews from craft breweries out of Michigan, many of which I was very familiar with seeing how I'm from Michigan. One Oatmeal Stout from Dark Horse, Founders Breakfast Stout, Founders Imperial Stout...some real nice beers. I ended up ordering a Founder's Imperial Stout, which they were out of, so 0 for 2 at this point.

Due to the huge whisk(e)y selection, I ended up choosing the new Ardbeg Alligator to sip on, and be on my way.

The prices seemed to right in line with the rest of the city...tap selection was vast (although a bit one sided with the Harvest ales during my visit), and great bottle selection (although, I have to disagree with the last reviewer, it is no where near the level of The Hop Leaf).

I did not try any of the food, although the menu look very broad and tasty, I just wasn't hungry. Bright place, nice atmosphere. I will return, and I'm sure won't be disappointed.

Photo of wernerherzog
3.35/5  rDev -22.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 1

The atmosphere of the place is overwhelmingly dominated by the loudness of the crowd on the last few times I've visited. Clientele is a mix of beer yuppies and trickle-ups from Addison and Clark. Less than year ago you could come in and have a quiet beer to yourself but The Fountainhead's name is spreading through Chicago.

It's impressive that their business is successful considering the proximity to the Hop Leaf. Though Fountainhead is growing louder, they're still a lot more comfortable than The Hop Leaf. Hopefully the new upstairs outside seating will help them deal with the new crowds and its effect on atmosphere.

It took a few visits before I decided to lay down money on food. Got Oysters (I know, not a wise choice in the mid-west, but it's not impossible to pull of in any case as some other establishments have demonstrated). They tasted like tap water. The sauce that was loudly proclaimed and intricately described in the menu just didn't taste right with oysters. Pretty bad. They've reportedly dumbed down their menu from opening and quality hasn't really changed.

That being said, their tap selection and bottle selection are both phenomenal. In my opinion, the bottle selection is better than the Hop Leaf. Their menu is an elaborate work of art. The descriptions provided for every individual beer available (bottle and draft) are helpful and exceedingly informative. They keep it up to date, too. The tap prices are excessively reasonable while the bottle prices are overwhelmingly unreasonable in many cases. This is true of most bars, especially in Chicago. For better or worse, often after perusing the fancy menu, you won't be able to resist ordering an expensive bottle.

The service on behalf of the bartenders and servers is very good. The reason I've scored so low on the service here is because the manager has been extremely rude on several occasions. I like to think that I've had so many good service experiences from people on the floor because they want to make up for this. I could be wrong. But, it is unfortunate to order a 40 dollar bottle with the expectation that you'll have plenty of time to drink it and then get run out of the bar way before the advertised closing time. This has happened to me on more than one occasion.

A further plus is the vast number of special events they host: tap-takeovers, brew-celeb guests, etc...

To summarize,

pros: amazing selection, less annoying than the Hop Leaf, great service from floor-staff, great tap prices, great events.

cons: poor food, high bottle prices, bad managerial experiences.

Photo of cratez
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by with my girlfriend during a recent trip to Chicago.

VIBE: as soon as we pulled up we were intrigued by the beautiful outdoor facade. Interior resembles a comfortable, rustic, and old-fashioned restaurant with a clean and refined edge. A large display of bourbons, Scottish whiskies, and spirits towers over the bar. Patrons are a chatty and diverse bunch and everybody was enjoying themselves on our visit. A really nice, approachable atmosphere.

SERVICE: our server was incredibly friendly. He helped us along with beer and wine recommendations, talked at length about some of the rarer bottles, and poured me a generous shot of Lagavulin when I ordered a 2008 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale that was aged in barrels of that whisky. Very welcoming and attentive service, which we appreciated.

SELECTION: I had a Half Acre Gossamer and Three Floyds Zombie Dust (!!!) on draught and the aforementioned barley wine out of the bottle. My girl enjoyed her pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc. Also noticed Summit EPA on cask, Southampton Cuvee Des Fleurs and Lost Abbey Inferno in bottles, and Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, La Trappe Witte, Petrus Aged Pale, and Pauwel Kwak on tap. The beer list seems smaller than the menus at Map Room and Jerry's, but it's still exceptionally well-rounded.

OVERALL: we had a memorable experience here and it'll be a priority destination for us when we come back to the city. Fountainhead is a quintessential American beer bar, which makes the meaning behind its name (principal source) all the more appropriate. A must-visit in my books.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Right now Fountainhead is probably my number one spot for craft beer in Chicago. Admittedly this is partially due to its proximity to my home, but Fountainhead has so much going for it.

Their beer list is creative. In addition to their numerous and interesting tap list, they have a huge bottle list, and they usually have something good on cask. In addition, they have frequent special beer events, bringing out some sort of theme that pairs beer and food together very well. These events are updated on their website, Twitter, and Facebook, and they keep their updated beer list on beermenus as well. There is no worry of showing up to find out that all of the beer I want to try has been gone for days.

The atmosphere here is loud, especially on the weekends, but contained. Provided there are tables available, I am always able to relax and enjoy spending time with my friends over a few beers here, regardless of noise level. The patrons are generally well-informed when it comes to the beer scene. At the Darkness release, I remember every single person finishing their beer at 8:55 and ordering a Darkness when they tapped it at 9. The keg could not have been kicked faster.

The staff is friendly and will help you out with a beer selection if you feel lost. Oh, and the food is pretty top notch too. Great gastropub innovation at reasonable prices. I will be here frequently.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Fountainhead is like a dark cave, occupied by new yuppies in suits and Stepford wives out for a night on the town. The place may have had food, it may not have. Once I saw Cantillon on-tap, the waitress/waiter/whomever could've been glowing purple with three heads and sixteen eyes, I probably would not have noticed. The Cantillon was ridiculously good. After nursing a couple down, I switched up to Hanssen's Oude Gueuze cask; the server brought me a full pint! I almost fainted from the potency of that particular Oude Gueuze; it is one of the most puckeringly sour things I have ever had. The tap list is amazing, the beer selection is phenomenal. I will definitely be back.

Photo of StoneTSR
3.8/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went to Fountainhead about a month ago on a double date with the girlfriend and some co-workers and we plan to return.

The food was excellent, not the best in the City, but very solid and reasonably priced considering the portion size. My bowl of mac-and-cheese could have fed some small families for a week.

As for the beer, the selection was wide and very eclectic and it provided me my first ever experience with Russian River. RR does not distribute in Chicago, but Avery does and Fountainhead had a RR/Avery collaboration beer on tap the night we were there. I wish I would have had the chance to review it, but it makes me even more excited about eventually trying Pliny the Elder and Younger.

The thing I found most interesting about the beer menu was the number of wild/sour ales they had. About half the beers we tried at the table that night were sour.

Anyhow, the food is a great value, the beer is a tad on the high end as far as price goes, but you are paying for the unique selection the seem to have. Service was OK, nothing to complain about, but nothing to rave about either.

Food, beer and the lively and open atmosphere combine to make Fountainhead a good place to be.

Photo of Getinthevan
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

After Christmas set in, I ended up meeting a musician friend of mine and needless to say, this place is a blast.

The atmosphere feels like an old New England style log cabin set in the dead of winter. The people that gather here are very warm, sociable and all thoroughly enjoyed great beer Fountainhead definitely is an accepting place.

The quality here is great. The menu contains a ton of beers and they thoroughly researched and gave a description to each brew inside the house. Needless to say, these people know damn well what they're doing.

Service was top notch. The girl who served my friend and I recommended great beer to try (even after we thoroughly read the menu!) and kept good tabs on our patronage. Excellent service indeed.

Selection was beyond great. They've got so much brew on tap and in the bottle it's tough to make a decision since all of it's so great.

I only came for the beer. I haven't tried the dinner, but I'm sure it's great.

The beer here is a bit pricey, but honestly it's worth it. With this nasty Chicago winter setting in, you're paying for the warmth of a safe and great place, excellent service and fantastic beer. Definitely recommended for those who want a new chapter of beer dreams fulfilled.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Drove by this place countless times before realizing it was a good beer bar. Always wondered why it was always busy and now I know. Decent sized place with large glass windows. Very dark inside, too dark for my tastes...hard to get a good look at a beer even. Otherwise a classy, clean feel to the place. Very busy again even on the late weeknight I went, had to stand at the end of the bar. Service was fine and it didn't take too long for the bartender to address me. Great beer list-a lot to choose from and all are quality selections. No crap beer at all. Good glassware used. Beer menu has good descriptions and is sorted out well. Also an extensive whisky selection. Will definitely be back.
update: have been here many times since. taplines are always clean and i appreciate the extra rinse with the water thingy. the new(er) rooftop bar is very nice as well. good service overall and the beer guy is super nice and generous. a go-to place. my only critique is the bottle list is pretty dated. food is upscale pub food and pretty good.

Photo of Florida9
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Fountainhead reminds me of modernized old-school English pub. As mentioned in the previous comments, the restaurant is dominated by dark wood paneling. There are some booths along the widows, a bar towards the interior, and some tables in between. Everything is done up in dark wood and the trim is in black. There is a well thought out chalkboard by the bar that lists the specials.

Atmosphere is very laid back. Reminds me a lot of Hopleaf, but without the crowds, though my visit was in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday. I imagine this place could get packed at night.

Service was attentive and knowledgeable, in regards to both the beer and the food. Food was very good, better than I expected. A nice touch is the cheese plate, which can be ordered with an optional beer pairing. A very nice touch. Also had the pate, mussels and frites, croquettes and the mac and cheese. The only item I was not impressed with were the goat cheese croquettes, which were more like some sort of mutant hush puppy than a true croquette. Overall, the food here is better than Revolution, but not as good as Hopleaf.

Great beer selection, with a nice blend of pale lagers to Imperial stouts. On tap from the States were FFF, 2Bros, HA, New Holland and Left Hand. Imports were a good mix of German, English, and Belgians. Draft beer prices were reasonable, but the bottled beers were high.

I'd also note, minors are allowed in Fountainhead until 8pm. I brought my daughter with me and she had absolutely no issues with the food on the menu. And she's two and a half. Maybe I'm supposed to be pumping her full of mass produced corporate shit (like McDonald's). Then again, maybe I'm just an asshole. Personally, I say if you want to enjoy Fountainhead without any kids around, go after 8pm.

Photo of MNJR
4.01/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Relatively new place in my neighborhood. I've been three times and have not been disappointed. Excellent beer selection with many tap beers unavailable anywhere else I know of in Chicago: an oyster stout, and quite a few specialty beers from England. A big but not huge selection of bottles, too, and all top notch stuff. The atmosphere is a little generic. I can name four or five places nearby that are barely distinguishable from this place: dark wood paneling, a bit of an upscale/gentrified feel without any distinct or creative personality. But, pleasant enough and nothing wrong with it. In the late afternoon/evening the sun comes in from the west on Damen which is really nice until everyone eating in the booths pulls down the opaque shades and it's dark as a dungeon. Best feature: in the toilet stall (shitter) there is an extra sink IN THE STALL. Pure genius. If you have to drop a savage deuce, you can get all refreshed in complete privacy. While there, I did not experience a call of nature in category two, but I almost wish I had. Also, they should ban children, as Hopleaf does. It is a bar with very adult food (gastropub style). Keep the kids out. The parents are a-holes and let them run around the bar (because in their eyes they are so cute and precious) but I almost booted one in the kneecap on my way to the john, which would not have been my fault the way I see it. I need to try the food. Looks and smells excellent, though. I'll go back. A rooftop deck is slated for next summer which should be great, but the neighbors will hate it, mark my words.

Photo of TheStove
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Pretty top notch gastropub near Lincoln Square.

The dark wood and lights have the inside looking slightly like an updated monastery.

The staff is nice, bartenders are happy to offer a taste or make recommendations. These guys have a great selection with decent bottles. I thought they really shined on the taps, offering Saison Du Buff, a number of 3 Floyd's (Apocalypse Cow, Dreadnaught, Moloko on beer engine!), some Victory brews I haven't seen before (Scarlet Moon, Scarlet Fire) and a number of other random taps in cluding Avery's Karma and Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild.

Additionally the food is pretty good and reasonably priced. At first glance one might expect the food to be about $3-4 more expensive but $19 for some heft pulled pork slides and a couple of beers is not bad at all.

Keeping in mind it seems to be as much restaurant as bar could make for some aggravating weekends.

Photo of homebrew311
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A: the atmosphere of this place is great. It has a rustic interior, nothing pretentious or too upscale about it, but it remains classy. The servers are dressed pretty casual and the decor is in theme with the fine alcoholic beverage theme (whiskey barrels on the wall). The logo for the restaurant is also very cool.

Q: the quality of everything in the restaurant is above average. The beer selection includes some unique and limited offerings including Lagunitas Fusion 3 and Cantillon Gueze. The food menu is unique and feautres gourmet ingredients with a great selection. Bonus points for having beer flights that are paired with cheese plates.

S: the service was the only weakness, but given how new the place is and the time of my visit (Sunday evening), nothing really detracted. My girlfriend ordered a DFH Indian Brown and was brought a Lagunitas Dogtown Pale instead. We made the server aware of the mistake, and then she was gone for about 15 minutes. She then came back and said she was looking downstairs for the beer and they didn't have it, so to make things right, she offered to buy her next beer. I was impressed with her owning up to the mistake and making it right. I know this is standard protocol, but not all servers will take the initiative.

Selection: The food menu is relatively small, but it is jam packed with interesting fare. The draft menu has a great variety of interesting beers of all different styles. I like how some items are seasonal thus get rotated often. I was pleased with the selection.

D: the food was for the most part spot on. The monkey bread appetizer is something I would pass up next time (just tasted like a cheddar biscuit with bacon), but my Jerk Coffee rubbed chicken sandwich was unique and delicious. Avocado butter, grilled pineapple, and jerk/coffee seasoning on a sandwich!? I was pleased. I also tried the mac n cheese which was made with rauchbier cheddar. The mac was slightly bland for what I expected, but still tasted good. The highlight of the meal was the creme brulee. It was made with precision and tasted absolutely delicious. I would go back for it alone.

V: for the intriguing food menu and beer selection with high end ingredients, I was impressed by the value. My sandwich was only $9, I was drinking a bourbon aged imperial stout for $6 per snifter, and most of the beers didn't go north of $7 per pour. They certainly don't price gouge...everything is very fair.

Overall Impression- I really enjoyed my experience here. I would certainly go back for dinner and drinks. A great place to check out if your in the neighborhood.

Photo of hawks10
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Had a great time at Fountainhead tonight...

Was busy when we walked in, waited near the bar for about 20 minutes until a table opened up...

Place is on the smaller side with a mixture of tables and booths. Dark wood floors, tables and bar, some exposed brick and open ceiling...the bar itself looks like it has an awesome dark wood bookshelf behind it, but instead of books, it is lined with top shelf booze. Place looks classy through and through with a nice chill crowd (completely minus douches while we were there) and the bar itself is beautiful...

30 or so taps with over 100 bottles...tap selection is largely European with high quality offerings, not necessarily things you won't find elsewhere in the city, but great beers nonetheless. Bottled beer list is extensive and is nicely broken down by style in their 10+ page drink menu (All bars need to have these, good job Fountainhead!)

Food menu is brief but packed with tasty stuff...a few typical pub foods; burgers, fries, etc...but most items have a more "gourmet" touch and all sounded fantastic. My girlfriend and I both had the "Swine Swoon" pork sandwich, both of us were very satisfied. Prices for food and beer were very fair and I was actually pleasantly surprised, as this place just looks like it would charge more...

Monika had drafts of Konig Pils and Lindemans Framboise as where I stayed sour and had drafts of Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge and Petrus Aged Pale...all were poured in proper glassware.excellent...

At first the service seemed a bit slow, but once our waitress showed, she was prompt and always made sure we were taken care of...

All in all I was very pleased with Fountainhead. Perfect atmosphere, quiet and devoid of douches...crowd was the 25-40 group, but none of those, "I graduated college 4 years ago but I still haven't gotten over it and I still get wasted and yell and do stupid shit at bars cause I like when people pay attention to me cause I am ever so lonely inside but I can't let that out or else everyone will think I am a pussy so lets fucking get after it and get rowdy bitches..." Yea, none of those. Food was good, beers were great, service was more than adequate...Fountainhead did it right, hope more places in the city follow the Fountainhead mold...

Photo of Katyw02
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Don't be fooled by the name - no Ayn Randiness here.

Initial impressions:

My first visit was the evening of the Half Acre Imperial Daisy Cutter & (brewery forgotten) Ginger Alt tapping during craft brew week. The crowd was pretty massive, but service remained decent.

The selection on tap was impressive. many non-American offerings, which seems to be relatively novel for your average craft brew bar. I'll take an American IPA or oatmeal stout over any German style, so while novel, the non-American selections don't do too much for me. However, the Belgian taps are a welcome exception to that rule. Cantillon Vigneronne on draft? Yes please.

Follow-up visit on the Friday before Memorial Day kept up the good impressions. About a quarter full at 3:30pm, but by the time we left around 8, there wasn't an empty seat in the joint. Beer menu showed some rotation, food menu mentioned that selection would be increasing as they iron out opening kinks.

Food offerings are to the gourmet side of the spectrum. Quite good, though more veg offerings would be welcome. Lots of talk about the Duck Duck Mac - rauchbier+cheese mac and cheese with duck confit. I've had the grilled brie sandwich and the pork belly with portabello subbed for the pork. Both were good, but not worth seeking out.

Fountainhead focuses on fine beer, wine, and scotch, so this is a great place to go with folks that may not share a love of beer, but have a taste for wine or scotch. Prices seem extremely reasonable, given what others in the market charge for a high quality beer. I really appreciate this neighborhood joint, with neighborhood-joint-type prices. I will, no doubt, be visiting this place on the regular.

Photo of emerge077
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Opening night! Finally open after a few months of anticipation.

First impressions were very promising all around. Arrived at 5:30 and hung out at the bar as many more patrons streamed in. Inside there were dark wood floors and a nice dark wood bar in the front room. Table seating between the bar, and booths lined the walls. Exposed brick in places, with red walls in the front, and shades drawn on the many windows that face the Montrose/Damen corner. The room was very comfortable, and it was obvious they paid attention to all the details.

At the bar, two chrome tap towers held 13 taps each, with a free standing Lindemans tap and two beer engines. Tap selection was varied with many import and craft gems. Notably Cantillon Kriek, FFF Topless Wytch, Ommegang BPA, Lagunitas Chicago Fusion, New Holland Envious, and a host of others. Bottle selection was also deep with coverage of many styles. I noticed Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze, a Boon Lambic, also a couple from Jolly Pumpkin. As it was opening night, it was draft only for more expedient service. If you've ever been to the Beer School bar at Sheffields, you know you're in capable hands here (same beer guy, Phil).

Service was great at the bar, even as the place filled up with the opening night crowd. Waters were kept full, and there was a crazy selection of glassware. Prices on everything were quite fair, and refreshing to see when so many other "upscale beer bars" tend to gouge.

Food was good, I had the "swine swoon" a pork shoulder sandwich that was very tasty. Frites were crispy and double fried. Hangar steak and pork belly sandwich at the bar looked great too. Hearty food, though they had salads and a couple veg options.

Overall a great new addition to Ravenswood, i'll be going back many times. The rooftop garden will be the place to be this summer...

6/2010: After returning several times, i've noticed they tend to run out of things on the weekends (draft, cask, popular dishes). Bottle list is in place, organized by style. Service has been great.

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Fountainhead in Chicago, IL
95 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.