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Northdown Cafe and Taproom

Not Rated.
Northdown Cafe and TaproomNorthdown Cafe and Taproom
BA SCORE
96
world-class

36 Ratings
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 14
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Taps: 12
Bottles: 100
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

3244 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60657-1109
United States
phone: (773) 697-7578

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @thenorthdown

Notes:
Monday - Friday: 11am - 2am
Saturday: 9am - 3am
Sunday: 9am - 2am

(Place added by: KickInTheChalice on 06-21-2011)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of smartassboiler
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Zombill
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Checked out this place while visiting Chicago. Very happy with my beer AND food selections. The bartender was sincerely friendly and helpful with any questions I had. Loved the atmosphere and overall presentation of the establishment. If I go back to Chicago I will make sure to stop here again.

Photo of Halfbrother83
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of cadaugherty
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of BrockBoland
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of little_star
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of big789J
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
5/5  rDev +14.7%

One of the best experiences I have ever had... Tom and Kate (proprietors) are friendly, and a wealth of knowledge regarding the offerings/pairings/etc. On my last visit, I also happened to sit at the bar with some brewers that were in town for a "beer conference" or something, and shared some beers with 2 brewers from New Belgium and one from 3 Floyd's. An evening I'll not soon forget!

Try the "Pork Frites" and the "Candied Bacon with Stout..." Signature menu items that won't disappoint! And the Northdown Burger was fantastic... And the beer selection is vast. Something for everyone, with a killer selection of draughts.

Photo of thewimperoo
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Jordy777
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of j_nees
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

This is one of my go-to beer spots in Chicago. Always interesting, unique, and well thought selection. A lot of my current favorite beers are things that I first learned about at Northdown. They don't seem to be married to any styles, but they're obviously big fans of FFF and Mikkeller because there is always something new from one of them around. Plenty of nice surprises here.

Really great burger also. Vegan friendly menu if that's your thing. Always a good 80's movie on the TV above the bar.

Photo of bjlange
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Cutsman
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

I've been to the Northdown a few times in my travels through Chicago, and every time I have walked away pleased.
Their beer selection is quite impressive, with a good number of rotating drafts that are fairly hard to get elsewhere, and I've noticed quite a few that are not available elsewhere in the city. Their bottle list is every changing and also quite impressive.
The food is pretty good, and honestly one of the few places in Chicago that has a killer beer selection and actually vegan menu options, not just pickled veggies or the likes. They put some good thought into their food. Its not on the level of HopLeaf or Publican or even Revolution, but just slightly elevated, good quality pub food.

The atmosphere is nice. It's upbeat, with some good natural lighting if you sit near the front door, loud music, but you are still able to have a conversation with someone across the table from you.

Would definitely recommend to anyone travelling through and in the area. It's a nice stop, probably just outside my top ten in Chicago tho.

Photo of adnauseam007
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Great place with a great "everyday" selection as well as some special brews. Love the selection of arcade games and having Ninja Turtles 2 playing in the background is always a plus. Plenty of room to spread out on a Thursday night including the front bar area and the back room for traditional restaurant seating. Food took a long time and the fries were pretty disappointing but the sandwiches I tried were great.

Photo of TheRealPour
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Fluffheady
3.34/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 1.5

This place looks and feels like a west coast bar. There's pinball machines and tap handles all over the wall. But it’s just not....right. I want to like it so badly.

Their draft list is super cool, short, and quality over quantity.

As for the food, well, I was embarrassed for them. They charged $22 for a charcuterie plate. There were three meats on the plate. Two of the meats were literally 2 circular slices each of poor quality salami. The cheese was sliced insanely small. I get charcuterie at nearly every place I go. I f***ing love cured meats and cheeses. Not only was this about $8 overpriced, but it SUCKED. The rest of the food we had was pretty sub par. I know this is a beer website, but I was so floored at how bad it was, it had to be included.

I don’t know what to think. It is honestly awkward for me not to like a bar with this good of beer. I’ll probably give it another chance, but it won’t be my only planned destination of the night. **edit - I met several people in Amsterdam who had been to and like Northdown. I’m definitely going to give them another chance.

Photo of StunnaCHI
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

One of my all-time favorite gastropubs in Chicago. The laid-back atmosphere wins here, and you're almost guaranteed a spot at the bar every time you walk in (at the very most: a very short wait time to sit down). There's always an excellent array of great regional and import craft beers on tap and in bottles (and just about always have a few 3 Floyds handles gracing the tap lineup). Interesting and tasty takes on food selections really make this place a go-to destination for literally every meal of the day (as they're open brunch thru late-nite dinner). The owners and staff are very friendly and knowledgeable about the wide selection of beers. A must-go stop for any beer lover in Chicago or any one passing thru.

Photo of danoble1
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Second stop on our mini pubcrawl. Found a table by the front and enjoed the atmosphere. Was hoping for small pour option, as I had intentions to try several brews from here yet still make it home. Settled for a bottle of Backwoods Bastard with my beer cheese. Disappointed in the food, but the others said their burgers were great. Saw a fries plate that looked good. Staff was helpful, when i asked to see if they could reheat the cheese to salvage it (didn't work) Overall, it was a great place with a great selection on tap and in bottles. Will keep them on the list of places when I am in the area.

Photo of Treebs
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Went here for a Sunday brunch a little while ago with fellow BA danielnovak3 and his girlfriend.

The place is long and has boothed seating along the left wall when you first walk in and the bar is on the right. Immediately upon walking in there is a chalk board that has everything on tap as well as new bottles just added to the menu. The place is very clean and tidy and it was pretty quiet on this Sunday morning.

It took us a while to get acknowledged at the front (it wasn't crowded), but once we did get seated our server was very nice and was quick to get us anything we needed.

The food selection for Sunday Brunch was outstanding and I had the Short Stout for $12 which was beer braised beef short ribs on Ciabatta with fontina cheese, Arugula, and red onion jam. Honestly, one of the best sandwiches I've every eaten. My buddy and I split a bottle of CW Exodus (don't remember the price, but it was solid for a bar) and we had another beer as well.

Overall the place had a nice tap and bottle list, delicious food and reasonable prices. A must attend.

Photo of ferrari29
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I picked a great time to stop in for my first official visit to Northdown Cafe. Last night was Zombie Dust tap night, served in an authentic 3 Floyds branded pint glass; couldn't ask for more. Northdown has an extensive selection of micro brewed beers from around the globe, coupled with taps hanging off the wall and a chalkboard filled from top to bottom with an eclectic blend of tapped beers. The atmosphere is cozy and perfect for any beer crowd, wide open spaces in the front of the bar for room to move; plenty of seating for a parties of 2 or 9 (like last night). The decor reminding me a bit of a lot of the micro beer/burger bars in Chicago, with cement floors, modern style tables and chairs and typical wooden bar counter. Maybe during the next renovation, they'll think outside the box a bit.

Food was delicious and they have a vegan option for anyone not interested in the carnivore focused menu. Service is very knowledgeable, appropriately paring beers with foods. Spoke with an air of confidence only a beer snob would appreciate. One of my new favorite Chicago-based destinations.

Photo of dirtylou
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

a couple blocks north of lincoln & belmont, accessible by the Paulina brown line stop.

interesting comments from emerge077 - hard to go wrong with creative influence coming from the map room and comet cafe/honeypie (milwaukee must-visits)

huge "if attack comes" billboard above the bar, lots of bizarre swag, some pinball machines, cozy and hip, with a bonus view into a popular gym across the street.

dinner was the focus here - lots of homestyle stuff - went for a short rib sandwich and fries - solid for $12. Pies appear to be a big deal here, but we were pretty stuffed.

nice blackboard taplist - went for a great lakes blackout stout and a goose island christmas ale. 10-15 taps and a decent bottle list that i didnt peruse.

nice stop

Photo of BertSugar
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Have been here often enough to render an informed opinion: Excellent. This is a nice little storefront on busy Lincoln Ave near Belmont. Atmosphere is nice and wide open with kitschy touches here and there growing organically. The TV is only on for certain sports events. Not necessary because the house iPod is solid in the music department.

Selection: Great, but not huge. Well selected and rotated rapidly. There is a nice broad bottle and can selection with some unusual items from the west coast and Europe. A recent stop had me with a BBM Stickl unfiltered, unpasturized lager.

Food: Quite good, home cooking with a twist. Not a bad item on the menu and brunch is excellent, served until 3pm.

Service: I always feel at home there with fellow snarkaholics. Great, friendly, efficient service.

If I lived closer, it would definitely be my "3rd place". Kudos.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Northdown Cafe is a relatively new addition to the West Lakeview area, which I happen to call home, and so far, I am impressed.

Last Tuesday I decided to stop in, check the place out, and have a beer. They have 12 taps, around 60 bottles, with the focus of the beer menu mainly being on seasonals and more unique beers from American craft breweries, along with a solid collection of Belgian and other imports. Newbies and seasoned beer veterans alike will be able to find something new and interesting each time. The prices are reasonable, with $1 off specials on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I settled on a Three Floyd's Zombie Dust and a Founder's Cerise.

The atmosphere is laid back (at least on Tuesday night), with two big seating areas. The front has an open feel, with big windows and a high ceiling, and the back is more cozy, with a more intimate table setting in the back.

The food looks to be upscale bar food, maybe venturing into gastropub territory, but I have not tried it out yet.

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Northdown Cafe and Taproom in Chicago, IL
96 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.