Ratings: 263 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +3.6%
With slightly more appeal than your average hole-in-the-wall, it's hard to find a better beer bar. Visited on Saturday night, this place was rocking with great beer, great people, and great conversations. With a few windows that face the sidewalk and an open door, the establishment is a classic neighborhood public house. It doesn't take long to find the reason for the draw--about 30 beers on tap and another 300 in bottles. And we're not talking ordinary beers here. They all are great. Everything from North Coast to Cantillon and everywhere in between. Specializing in Belgian food and drink. While there, I tried a Cane & Abel, Rodenbach, Linemans Pomme and Tripel Karmeliet...all on tap. Thougth I did not eat, the food looked very good with everything from muscles to lamb chops, salads, and soups. Drawbacks? The abundant crowd and the smoking, both were difficult to negotiate, but it won't keep me from going back.
08-08-2006 15:19:45 | More by BEERchitect
4.65/5 rDev +4.7%
I think enough of this place that I chose to have my bachelor party here instead of with strippers, midgets, clowns, etc.
Atmosphere is good for several reasons. First off, they've done an admirable job making the front room feel cozy & intimate while not kitsching it up with the decor. Secondly, because the clientele consists mainly of people who respect beer you don't get the crazy frat-boy bar talk/yelling/antics. The environment is also aided by the (gasp!) lack of TVs! I love sports on television as much as the next guy, but it's greatly refreshing to come to a pub & have it serve the purpose it was meant to: a place where people can come together, enjoy quality libation(s) of their choice & engage in conversation.
The tap selection IS somewhat limited, although the quality is certainly there. There's strong variation amongst both the domestic & Belgians (the standard Delirium Tremens to the wilder Rodenbach). The bottle selection is massive, although I pretty much stick to what's one tap unless I've just got to get my fix of something not offered.
The service can be a mixed bag because they split the servers between the bar & the relatively new eatery in the back. This can lead to some stressed-out, disorganized wait staff when you get a hankerin' for some pomme frites (mmm!) or mussels (mmm! x 10) in the bar. The bartenders are always solid, though, & that's the true mark of good bar service. Their breadth of knowledge paired with their hospitality is outstanding.
I have so many fond memories of this place that it really is like a second home to me & my wife at this point.
08-03-2006 15:17:34 | More by malcontent
4.45/5 rDev +0.2%
If you come to Chicago and you love beer, you have to visit the Hopleaf Bar, IF Belgium beers are your thing then this is your bar of bars. The atmosphere is interesting and comfortable, Nice boothsin front bar area, and resturant in the back. The service the last time I was there was exceptional, quick, answered my questions etc.., but I have been here when it was packed and it was harder to get service, but thats everywhere.Belgiums and American beers are in abundance, the rest of europe is also represented but not a well, but still more that enough to choose from. I have had the food and what I had was very good, the other dishes I have observed looked great as well. Prices are what you might expect in Chicago. This is a great place if you get excited about beer as I do. A must go to.
07-21-2006 16:53:38 | More by brushpig
4.08/5 rDev -8.1%
On my recent trip to Chicago the hosts of the house my friends and I where staying at took us out to this bar, and boy where we glad they did.
A: Seemed to be a very enjoyable place. I felt very comfortable there and it was a pleasure to walk up to people my age (22) at the bar and just start talking about IPAs and Double IPAs
Q: Oh wow a bar that knows their beer I am amazed. The beers where generally poured in the correct style of glass and served and at around the correct temperature. I'm very impressed.
Service: It was good quick service brought to use by people who enjoy their work. If I worked there I would enjoy my work also.
Selection: I am very very very impressed at their selection. I am not even going to attempt to list the beer list it's too huge for me to even list. It can be accessed via the website though. However, the reason I gave it a 4.5 instead of a 5 was due to the fact that at a bar like that I really would of enjoyed to see cask conditioned beer. However, barring that their beer list was simply amazing.
07-08-2006 05:41:49 | More by cproioi
4.5/5 rDev +1.4%
I have found the Hopleaf to be a little unassuming, as I might pass it on the street and not think anything of it. When I have been there, it gave me the feel of a true neighborhood bar. The first time I was there was on a weekday afternoon, and an elderly man in a wheelchair came in. The bartender had a drink waiting for this gemtleman before he was even in his seat at the bar. I thought that was great. Walking in, there is a nice wooden bar on the left, with a seating area on the right, with more seating in the back. The front bar is smoking and the back seating area is non smoking, but I have not been overwhelmed by smoke at the bar when there. I have been served by three different staff members. One was rather uninterested in any formal communication other than asking what drink people wanted. The other two really seemed to be attentive and cared about what they were doing. On my third trip in, the bartender actually welcomed me back, recognizing me from earlier in the week. Since I am new in town, I might stick out as someone that has returned to the bar more than once in a given time, but it was nice to be recognized and have that articulated to me. I have never had to wait for a beer, with staff always asking me if I wanted something else. The tap selection is fantastic, and I could drink from the bottle menu every day and not have the same beer twice in a year. I have not yet had any food here, so I can't comment on that, but the pomme frites looked awesome when I was there last. Since I now live ten minutes walk from this place, I am in trouble for the next few years. Hopleaf is my new top pick in Chicago.
06-24-2006 05:09:44 | More by kmpitz2
4.6/5 rDev +3.6%
While in town during a recent Wednesday night of a conference, I slipped out on my own around midnight to find The Hopleaf. After hailing a cab from the Hilton Towers, and having a bit of miscommunication, I ended up at The Hopleaf.
It was a good 12:30 AM on a Wednesday when I arrived. There were approximately 3 other patrons besides myself there. But, that didn't stop me from ordering a cigar (it was surprising that I could still smoke one here) and ordering a Delirum Tremens on tap. I was in GREAT shape.
Great shape, that is, until I saw the mead list on the menu. Commercially-made mead isn't available in Mississippi, to my knowledge, so I HAD to try it. And, this was the beginning of the downfall to my early morning. I think the combination of a few beers at the Hilton with my boss, the cigar, the belgian and then the mead lead me to fall asleep on the Red Line and ended up at 95th/Dan Ryan... Yes, the VERY end of the Red line which I meant to depart at the Loop, at LEAST. Ooops. One thing to be said about Chicago's less fortunate... they are personable and don't seem to be violent, as far as I could tell. I woke up with 4 of them on my same train and was never even approached.
Next time I'm in Chicago, which I will hopefully hit sometime soon again, I will go here for dinner as I hear their food is outstanding.
06-19-2006 04:59:22 | More by millhouse
4.6/5 rDev +3.6%
Saw this bar reviewed on a local Chiacgo foodshow Check Please! Since the wife loves to check these restaurants out I was in luck. Great seelction of beers on tap and bottled. I have to admit I'm spoiled by the New York no smoking laws so hanging in the bar area is not my pint of beer.
The food is excellent. The steamed mussels are awesome. You have a few choices of the beer that they are steamed in. They could be a meal in them selves. The Frittes are excellent also. I wish that they actually recommended which beers go with each meal. Some of the wait staff are not as knowledgeable as you would hope. then again very few places have a Somalia like knowledge of beer and food pairings. Overall great food great beer selection great neighborhood.
06-03-2006 02:06:48 | More by pmatz2
3.93/5 rDev -11.5%
After a whirlwind tour of Chicago, all I can say is...I could get used to it there.
To my surprise, the friends I stayed with lived less than a mile away from this place. This is clearly the type of establishment that driving home from would be not-so-smart.
As mentioned by other reviewers, the inside of this place is just amazing. The bar itself has a well-worn, Chicago-esque feel, yet the back restaurant area is just gorgeous. Since we were hitting the place near last call, food wasn't topping our priority list.
While the tap-selection was quite nice, and in particular the Belgian selection, I could definetely understand a local's complaint that the beer selection just doesn't change enough. I would get rather tired of these beers if I haunted the place, but as a visitor I had no complaints. Taps I recall: Anchor Steam, Prima Pils, Two Hearted, Two Brother's Cane & Abel, Moinette Blond, Monk's Sour Red, Leffe Brune and Blonde, Poperings Hommelbier. Quite the beer-lover's tap-list. I didn't scan the bottle list too much, but noticed some patrons drinking St. Bernardus, Orval, and Rochefort so i'll surmise its pretty damned good. And yes, they *are* all about the proper glassware here.
Others complained about the nuvo-Greaser servers, but I thought the servers were fine and kept a vigilant eye whenever you were about ready for another beer. Perhaps our percieved hipster-quotient helped us. A great place to drink in Chicago.
06-01-2006 18:57:08 | More by GreenWBush
4.33/5 rDev -2.5%
I have a new favorite bar in Chicago.
Hopleaf was crowded but not overly so when we arrived Saturday night. We requested a table and were seated much quicker than the 45 minute wait the hostess estimated - a good sign. In fact, I didn't even have time to finish my first beer of the evening, a Monk's Cafe Flemish Red on draught.
After we were seated, we took in the extensive beer menu, the far-more-interesting than your average bar food menu, and the very cool feel of the back room, with its old Belgian beer posters and exposed brick walls. We decided to start with an order of moules & frites (a very good choice) and a cheese plate (another good choice), as well as our second round of beers: a Chambly Noire for me and Orvals for my friends.
The evening progressed, we continued to enjoy the atmosphere, adequate service, and a swim through the seemingly endless beer list and our entrees (good steak frites), enjoying a Hommelbier along the way. I decided to finish the evening with my first taste of 120 Minute IPA - and I have to say, it was a great choice.
I've now been to both the Map Room (also a great place) and Hopleaf, and I prefer the latter. Even when I move further from the Andersonville locale, I'll still make regular trips up to enjoy the food, the terrific beer selection, and the great atmosphere.
05-31-2006 01:14:15 | More by RockyTopHeel
4.34/5 rDev -2.3%
My first trip to Chicago and I wanted to see the Hopleaf, it is an old building with most of the walls still intact.
The first thing I noticed after showing the doorman my ID was all of the Belgian glasses and beer of different than clear colors. The back room looked like a great place to eat a dinner sometime, but for that moment I just took a little looky-loo.
The service was nice, he asked me right away, but sadly I didn't have time for a drink since there's a lot of stuff I needed to see and so much that I didn't.
I will enjoy another visit with money and beer and food and everything, probably at night to enjoy the suddle atmosphere.
05-19-2006 03:16:24 | More by Erdinger2003
Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 263 ratings.