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Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
99
world-class

310 Ratings
Ratings: 310
Reviews: 184
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: n/a
Taps: 68
Bottles: 350
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

5148 N Clark St
Chicago, Illinois, 60640-2828
United States
phone: (773) 334-9851

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 310 | Reviews: 184 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ryrust5301
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped in for a couple of nights on my trip to Chicago for DLD. Located on a main street and easily accessible by bus, as it's right on the route.

Atmosphere - As you walk in you enter the bar portion of Hopleaf first. Kind of dark inside, but we went when it was raining one afternoon and again at night. Plenty of tables and booths to sit at in the bar area, though it can get a little cramped on busy nights. You can sit at the bar as well. Through the back is a full service belgian restaurant with an upstairs and downstairs. Restaurant also opens up to a beer garden in the back, but was closed due to the weather.

Service - Outstanding to say the least. From the bar to the restaurant the staff was on top of everything. We sat in the restaurant for a few good hours and ate and drank the night away. The waitress was spot on all night long, and even offered a better beer to replace one they were out of.

Selection - 20 or so taps which are updated and rotated every couple weeks or so. All changes are reflected on their up to date beer menu. Great selection of local midwests (Surly, Founders, Great Lakes, etc.) as well as 10+ belgian offerings on tap. Bottle list is very extensive as well with a library of choices to offer.

Food - Awesome authentic belgian food! Mussels, cheeses, lamb, montreal BBQ brisket, frites, and an array of desserts are offered amongst others. It is without a doubt one of the country's best beer bars, but don't let the take anything away from the food. I could go there just to eat even if I didn't drink. Food was just incredible, especially pared with the beers.

Value - Draft list is very well priced, and the bottle list won't break your bank if you pick and choose right. Food is also priced to keep your wallet full.

Photo of inhoc00
4.75/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I couldn't believe this place ONLY got an A. This place IS world class and Map Room doesn't even compare. This is the BEST beer bar in Chicago period.

Selection. Amazing selection in the correct glass. Nothing more needs to be said.

The food is phenomenal. Mussels and triple karmeliet on tap!?!?!. My brother from Texas wondered how I don't go here more often.

It is pricey but well worth the money. I will say the service is a bit snooty but when have regular joes coming in asking for a Miller Lite with the selection that they offer, I mean its almost insulting.

Photo of AylwinForbes
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I suppose in our minds the natural rival to the Map Room; and it is quite a bit different in many ways. Clientèle appear to be slightly more middle-class/intellectual/well-to-do. Food is much more prominent, but not served before 5 PM. It doesn't open until 3 (or 4?) and seems to be packed from the get-go. Lively, conversational, we met several people. Hard to find a place to sit but that happens after a while.

Beer of course fabulous, the emphasis on the Belgian, can be overwhelming unless you know your stuff; a bit hard to order sometimes but the staff are courteous and efficient.

Not as fun for us as the Map Room but a beer aficionado's paradise.

Photo of pwoods
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Un-fucking-real. This place is amazing. Stopped by here after The Maproom. I was a bit nervous that this wouldn't hold up to The Maproom but it did! Plenty of seats, wood everywhere, loads of beer people everywhere and it was only 3ish. All the taps were clearly displayed.. I love that. Unfortunately, food isn't served until 5 on Sundays.... Damn it! I really really wanted to try the mussels.. or the duck. Quality and selection is through the roof. Belgians out the ass, great regional brews, Surly Bender, etc. etc. Service was a tad shoddy. The guy knew his brews but was a bit shitty, though I'm sure I'd get great service next time I'm there(and there will be a next time). I had a Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux and a Leffe Brune. Both put me exactly where I needed to be. Having a day like this one after DLD made for one of the best weekends of my life, no joke.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

*** ONE OF THE TOP BEER BARS IN THE USA ***

Hit the HopLeaf after a $50 cab ride from Midway where the cab driver had to stop for gas and offerd us a Chinese hooker connection. HopLeaf has killer "gourmet bar food" if that exists.

Our bartenders could not have been more knowledgeable and friendly. I did not know that existed either, ha!

Had an Atomium and a hoppy Belgian IPA. Mad wicked props for their PROPER glassware and they ran around like maniacs keeping them washed and clean. Points for a beer menu, also.

Beers are mostly on the Belgian side. I'd like to see more domestic brews myself, but I ain't complainin'.

Food? Killer! Ihad the CB&J sandwich. Cashew butter & jelly! It was fried and good with home made chips. $10 and I couldn't finish it.

Could you take Mom here? Yes. It is clean and comfy. I also bought a black golf shirt with the logo for $20.

Photo of genog
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Got to enjoy Map Room and hop leaf over the weekend while I was in Chicago for Dark Lord Day 2008.

Went to hop leaf after spending a few hours at map room so I was feeling pretty good at that point. We walked into the old style bar room and it was pretty crowded. It was a Friday night so I do completely understand. Even though it was standing room only for a bit, we got a table for all five of us while we waited for a table in the dining room. We saw that Bender was on tap so we decided to start out with that delicious nectar. We were not even able to get halfway through our glass when our name was called well above schedule. We got to sit upstairs in the balcony of sorts in a dimly light quaint environment. The mussels were recommended as their specialty so we all wound up getting mussels. After another round of bender was ordered we ate some of the best mussels (maybe its because we were hungry) while sipping on some surly beer. Service was great and the price was reasonable as well. I enjoyed hop leaf more than Map room.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Went there on the Friday night before Dark Lord Day

Great place, we got a booth. The nice thing was that we could actually have a conversation! That counts for a lot in my book. The bartenders were knowledgeable, the selection excellent. While not what I'd call an expansive tap list, there was enough for us to knock ourselves out with. Definitely a well thought-out selection. We had Bender and Two from Surly, Avec Les Bons Voeux - top notch beers. Beers were served in nice, clean glassware.

Unfortunately, we did not get to try any food as we got there a little too late.
Pretty inexpensive, IMHO - but this coming from someone used to Washington DC prices

Photo of kensuthe
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere - The Hopleaf Bar is a bar and restaurant located to the north of downtown Chicago on Clark Street. The front of the establishment has a bar with stools stretching the left side of the room, booths and tables to the right side of the room, and a walkway to a ramp to the restaurant area of the establishment down the middle. The restaurant area consists of the main dining space, a smaller loft space upstairs, and an outdoor deck that can be used during nice weather. The restrooms are at the bottom of the stairwell that also goes up to a private room and the loft dining area. Neither the bar nor the restaurant is excessively cramped, although they're not really spacious either. Brick, iron, wood, and glass can be found in various areas. You could say that there is an intimate feel to the building.

Quality - The beers, meads, ales, and other assorted beverages were served at the correct temperatures and in the correct glassware. Almost everything we sampled on tap was fresh, and almost all of the bottles were in great condition. One beer that we ordered was the tail end of the keg and had completely unbalanced carbonation, but the staff took care of it and replaced that beer with another one.

Service - The service here was pretty good. The bartender was spot on with his pours, the servers were quick to make sure we were never left waiting long, and the bussers were quick as well. The staff was knowledgeable about the food selection and the beer, and they didn't get any of the numerous items we ordered wrong. They replaced the one beer that was bad with no problem, and the waitress not only knew that they were out of a certain beer that we ordered for dessert but also knew something that would be a good replacement.

Selection - The draft selection was good, with a variety of Belgian, English, German, and American craft options to choose from. I'd guess that there were between 40 to 50 options on the list, but I didn't actually count. The bottle list was extensive with well over 100 beers available, and there was a good mix of styles and prices available to choose from. We made two trips here during the same week, and we always found something new to experience in their beer menu booklet.

Food - The food is a little different than what you might expect from regular bar fare, with appetizers like a Belgian style mussel pot, frites with aioli, sausage and cheese plates, and onion rings, sandwiches including a duck reuben and a Montreal-style brisket, and entrees such as lamb stew and venison meat loaf. Everything we tried was good, and the food we ordered made for some interesting combinations with the beers we were drinking.

Value - Three people drank plentifully and ate extensively through roughly five or six hours and three courses, and the total price per person after everything was said and done was more than reasonable. Some of the items on the beer list are a bit pricey, and some of the items on the food menu are slightly high, but all in all it was a great value and I plan on stopping here again in the future.

Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here on a Thursday night pub crawl of Chicago.

Got carded before walking in the place, which was funny only because three of us whipped out Pennsylvania ID's. There goes pretending to be locals.

The place was very crowded, but we managed to snag a table, which was a plus. Upon sitting down, we waited for some sort of waitress/waiter, but none came. After about 10 minutes, the very nice door man, who knew by our ID's that we were from out of town, informed us that we needed to order out of the bar.

The tap line up was awesome, and I mean awesome. Of note, were Kwak (served into its wooden cradle), Matilda, Pere Jacques, Surly Bender, Cane and Ebel, and DFH's Black and Blue. All of the beer we ordered was nice and fresh, well taken care of.

The food was solid. We ordered up some frites, served with a delicious mayonnaise. We also shared a Corned Beef sandwich, that was awesome. A little fatty in terms of the cut, but delicious none the less.

Overall, we loved the Hopleaf. Awesome bar, awesome beer, and awesome food. What more could you ask for? This was without a doubt the highlight of our pub crawl for me. I can't wait to come back here.

Photo of ShrLSU
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I visited The Hop Leaf on my trip up to Chicago for Dark Lord Day. The first day we got there pretty early. There was plenty of room in the front bar area. We had a beer there then decided we wanted to try some of the food so we escaped to the back restaurant area. The area in the front can get cramped but if you get there early and plan on just drinking, grab a table or a spot at the bar.

We had all they had to offer on tap which was a pretty good selection. There was about 20 or so beers to choose from. All were fresh and had proper glassware. The bottle list is extensive and delicious. The website lists all they have to offer if you want to plan ahead.

The service was very good. I never waited long for a beer. Our waitress even offered great alternatives if they were ever out of stock of something. She recommended the Southern Tier Chokolat, which has excellent.

The food was excellent! We had just about everything on the menu in the two nights we went there. The mussels are exquisite as is the Montreal Brisket. The frites and onion rings are awesome as well. Every dessert we had was excellent.

If your looking to make a night of dining and drinking in Chicago the Hop Leaf is perfect. Great food, great service, and great beer!

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

After a successful trip to DLD, blitheringidiot & I took a real interesting cab ride (apparently we look like two dudes looking for Chinese hookers) from Midway to the Hopleaf. We got there at 4:45 & got seats at the bar. The place was busy but not packed. Smoke-free (as is Chicago) which is always a plus. Crowd was youngish and into the beer. The waitstaff really added to the atmosphere since they were outstanding: pleasant, friendly, & never too busy to answer a question or give a sample. Great bottle and tap list with a great variety of styles. Our food was also extremely good: I had a kick ass Montreal sandwhich & the portion was huge. My only "complaint" was the menu was rather limited and I was hoping for a bit more of a local flavor to the tap list.

Highly recommended. Cheers.

Photo of brdc
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is an incredible place.
Although the place itself is not exactly special, being a simple bar and restaurant (not a tavern looking place as they imply on their website), everything else is top notch.
The beer selection is great, with an amazing variety of all styles and origins, from locals to belgians, germans and british, but the best selection is belgian.
The food is impressive, including great belgian style mussels, which matched my gueuze very well.
Service is very good although I did not ask anything specifically about beer.
A great place indeed.

Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I would have given it all 5s, but I haven't been to enough high-end beer bars to make sure its warranted.

Everything was fantastic. Went on a Friday night (April 18, 2008). Waited about 45 minutes for a table while enjoying a Dortmunder on the back patio. Then we were seated, got a Tripel Karmeliet with an order of mussels (excellent). Then we had entrees of lamb stew and scallops (also excellent, scallops were equal to anything I have had in top seafood places.)

It started raining outside, and I noticed they had an enormous umbrella that they opened up for those still on the back patio.

Overall, my favorite beer bar to date. In Chicago area, it goes: Hopleaf>Firkin>Map Room.

Photo of kidrogers
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Overall this is THE place to go in Chicago to get a variety of quality beers and have them served to you by staff that has some idea of what they are talking about. Place was packed to the roof with the I have more piercing in my face than you do, therfore I am cooler crowd. More than once I recieved the what are YOU doing in here looks and comments. All trustfund brats aside they are more than worth the hassle to get to the beer menu and enjoy a few. Is highly recommended to anyone just passing through or as a destination. It has become a monthly meeting spot for my group of beer lovers

Photo of hurleymanvw
4.36/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I loved the atomosphere in this bar. Just a very laid back and chill place. Great beer selection. Quite a few more bottles than taps but that is to be expected. The beer menu was very user friendly and the staff was helpful. Had a Surley Bender to start off with. I hope to travel back sometime and try the food i heard from other patrons it was great. Service was spot on and again a plus was not smokey. The only negative i can say is it did tend to get crowded at times. I like a laid back place that you can move around and talk and once it got packed it was not happening. Overall great bar.

Photo of mgobrew
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We visited this place on Tuesday early in the evening to beat the crowds and overall I was really impressed. Walking in you will find the bar area with a small seating area. Moving to the back there was another small seating area as well as a small upstairs balcony. It was rather busy but there seemed to not be a wait to sit during the duration of or stay. The service was excellent, as the delivery duties and pre-bussing were shared by all from the hostess to the manager. I don't recall our server's name but she was very talented and educated on the beer and the styles. She offered suggestions and had a good knowledge on the beers that they were currently out of, offering alternatives that were similar in style or from the same brewery. The beers were reasonably priced, not anything that would be uncommonly high. I was enthused to see some seasonal offerings from breweries that are yet to distribute to Michigan. The Rabbid Rabbit from Three Floyds was my choice and I was not disappointed. The food selection was limited but this is a symptom of the high quality that is provided, clearly there are some culinary experts working in the kitchen. Sticking to an Easter theme, I enjoyed the rabbit legs and they were outstanding. My cohorts enjoyed the steak. The prices were again reasonable in my opinion with the steak being the upper end at $22 for a good size portion with a side dish. This place will definitely be on my list when I return to Chicago especially when I take my wife.

Photo of marcpal
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I went to Hopleaf while in Chicago on business and I think the Chicago area BAs for the recommendation. Let me start by saying that the experience was good but not mind blowing (publick house mass, linkery san diego).

A: Sat myself at the bar and the patrons and staff were friendly although the staff seemed a bit underprepared and not completely as knowledgeable as you would hope. Had a good local feel to it without being too stuck up or too trendy.

Q: The beers they had were top notch, especially the fact that coming from NJ I dont have access to many of these on tap or at all including Three Floyds (who blew me away), Surly, and Goose Island. The quality of the Belgians they had was also top notch and priced rather reasonably.
Nothing but good beer for the most part on tap split between craft and Belgians- really quite unique and again, top notch.

S: Biggest lacking area. A little short at times and often didnt know the menu well or to much about the beers. Actually got some misinformation on some things and they didnt quite know fully what they actually had in stock.

S: The selection was terrific. The taps alone are worth the visit and the bottles were more than plentiful. They call themselves a Belgian style bar and they can back it up. The list of craft beers could have been a little better with the bottles in that I would love to have had more of the GI offerings as well as more than one FFF bottled. Seemed to push DFH which I couldve gotten locally.

F: The food selection was quite small but what I ate was terrific. The cashew butter and fig sandwich was off the hook and the bowl of mussels can hold its own to any belgian bar Ive ever been to which I consider myself a good critic of. If anything, just needed more bread to soak up the delicious sauce. So good. The frites were a bit subpar but that was the only thing that didnt shine.

I would highly recommend this place for dinner and beers to anyone visiting and Im sure Ill be back. I have yet to hit Sheff's or Map Room because I like being able to grub while boozing but I look forward to those. Thanks again Chicago.

I need to reiterate, the mussels were prepared absolutely perfectly. It was a monday night and a perfect sized crowd.

Photo of emerge077
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

2012: New remodel, much more space. A true beer mecca in Chicago... try it again, you won't be disappointed. Many unusual beers, some only found here. Menu is as good as ever also. My main gripe about the crowds in the past wasn't a problem recently. Hopleaf is truly a Chicago institution.

http://chicago.eater.com/archives/2012/04/09/getting-to-know-the-hopleaf-through-its-regulars.php

03-30-2008

#1.) If you go on friday or saturday night, expect to wait. Don't complain on BA you had to wait for a table, or wait for service when you go at peak hours when everyone else does.

#2.) No table service in the front bar area either, order from the bar. During the week it happens to be a fine place to relax with a great taplist, definitely unmatched in the area. Best Belgian selection in the city.

I've been here over a dozen times, and will keep going back. It's not my 1st choice beer bar in the city, but it can be very cozy at the right time of day (early and late, weeknights), and they do have an amazing collection of breweriana throughout the place.

Hopleaf definitely is #1 for Belgian food and beer pairing, which is it's most unique aspect. The bottle selection is broad and especially deep if you are into Trappists, Saison, Gueuze, and other Belgian specialties. They are pretty well rounded for craft brew options, and other top quality imports as well. The US craft leans toward Belgian-style offerings such as Allagash, Ommegang, even a couple from Jolly Pumpkin. Their bottle menu is very well laid out into clear sections, with descriptions for each entry. Be sure to ask for the list if you are at the bar. My value rating reflects the high markup on 750s (3F for $45) and some high entree prices. Tap selections are about 80% standards, with roating seasonals, and specialties now and then.

Service at the bar has always been friendly, the same 3 bartenders for over a year now have always been quick and attentive even when under pressure. Table service may vary, but is usually adequate. Glassware is emphasized here, it never fails that there is a Kwak being poured here daily/hourly into it's ridiculous glass :)

The food is pretty good, the sandwiches and salads are the best value. The menu occasionally has seasonal specials. Quality is good, but be prepared to pay plenty for the entrees. Mussels and salty frites are fun now and then. The sausage & cheese plates are a favorite.

Really the only reason I tend not to go here more often are the crowds. It's popular among the trendy/foodie/yupster crowd, and practically every night it's packed to the gills. Almost every time someone is ordering Stella and asking why they don't carry it. Sometimes the crowd seems like they just got off a tour bus and treat the place like some precious novelty. In other words, not a beer geek crowd by any means. End rant. Go during the week, or late afternoon/late evening on weekends (hit or miss).

They host great beer events on occasion, such as release parties for Surly, Dark Horse, Lost Abbey, and a special tapping of unblended Lambic from Boon last year that was intimate and really fantastic.

All in all, a great concept here, and well-worth the experience.

Photo of Stoneman78
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Finally made it to Hopleaf last week on my trip to Chicago. I knew it was north, but it ended up being a $20+ cab from downtown to this Lakeview locale. The atmosphere was very chill with the bar in front and restaurant in the back. Moderate sized bar with a sprawl of tables and booths, closely packed but not quite cramped. Fair lighting and ambiance. The bartenders were both friendly and knowledgeable with quick service. No waitresses for our table so we had to shuttle our own beers back to the small table.

The selection was definitely the highlight with an impressive selection of belgians, regional craft brews, and a large bottle list. Among our table we sampled: DFH 90min, 2Brothers Cane & Abel, Surly Bender, Allagash White, Unibroue Maudite & Trois Pistoles, Ayinger Brau Weiss, & Rodenbach Grand Cru. I have had most of these beers before, so it was nothing too crazy different for me. But we all had a great time sampling all the fares.

We did not try the food, but have heard impressive reviews. Hopleaf gets bonus points for a beautiful, practical, and updated webpage, definitely check it out for their every-changing beer lineup before you go. The only downside is the distance from downtown (read LONG cab ride); I am not sure I would go out of my way to go again given the great bars that are closer proximity to the downtown hotels where I usually stay. However, I would recommend to anyone to try it out at some point in their Chicago travels!

Photo of semihobo
4.9/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

My fiancee took me out to Hopleaf for my birthday. It was pretty accessible by public transportation, which is a plus -- #147 north to #92 west put us right there. I'll skip the general scheme of the place as there are so many other reviews.

On a Monday at 7:15, the place was pretty full, but we got seated immediately at a table for two in the back. Our attentive server got our drink orders immediately, although we needed some time just to digest the tap list. We started off with a Maredsous 8 and a Tripel Karmeliet, both served in the branded glassware. I had the mussels for starters -- they were excellent. If you like mussels, don't miss them, cooked in beer, with sourdough bread to soak up the extra liquid. Comes with very thin, savory french fries. Unfortunately the two travelers eating next to us (judging by their suitcases) were bragging loudly about their toolish exploits while I was trying to enjoy my birthday dinner... thankfully they left early. All other patrons were pleasant.

The menu was not that long but it was certainly adequate, there were two major options for vegetarians, a sandwich and a squash/risotto combination. We both had the CB&J, cashew butter, fig jam, and morbier cheese. Definitely a winner there. The side of stilton mac-n-cheese was also delicious.

Dessert was the only place where the food didn't shine -- the blueberry almond crisp was mediocre, although it didn't help that we were stuffed to the gills. We finished with a Dogfish 90 Minute and an Allagash White, both of which were reasonably priced at $5 a pint. Selection was excellent -- roughly 20 Belgian and 20 other taps, along with a very long list of bottles, arranged by category with prices. Meads and wines are also available. See their website for lists.

The men's room is kind of funny, nice walls and fixtures but the dividers and stalls are made out of rusted old corrugated metal, it works nicely. They also have one of those high-speed hand dryers that blows the air so hard it distorts your hand.

A filling meal for two plus 4 good beers for $62? I think that's a reasonable value.

A must visit, I will definitely be returning soon.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Went to this place for the first time in December after hearing many good things about it. My wife had been there beffore and likes it better than the Map Room, so I was excited to give it a try. It's a good bit further out from downtown than the Map Room is, but its in a nice neighborhood and the place itself is quite a bit bigger and nicer inside than the Map Room. Don't get me wrong, this place is no fern bar, and I don't mind a little grunge- what I mean is that this place seems more comfortable than the Map Room while still having a lot of character. Nice long bar, lots of booths and tables, relatively open and spacious, and a nice back dining room with plenty of tables as well as a nice little upstairs area in back. It was cold so I didn't look, but there might have beeen a patio out back as well. We were there for drrinks at the bar 1st, followed by dinner in the back. We got there early enough that there was no problem finding stools up front or a table in the back, even on a weekend. The pourers up front were knowledgeable and friendly. The tap list was good, with lots of interesting regionals and Belgians, but I thought it slightly weaker than the Map Room's. Everything was fresh and served correctly.

We were really looking forward to dinner in the back, but I have to say that I was unimpressed. First, everything is quite pricey, especially the specials. Second, our dining partners, who are vegetarian, commented that for a year now they have had the same 1 vegetarian entree/sandwich on the menu and that they were going to be bummed if it was still the only substantial vegetarian offering. Sure enough, there it was. They had to make due with various appetizers. Third, my wife ordered one of the specials that evening, the skate. It was spoiled and smelled like ammonia yet was still served. Thee kitchen did the right thing and comped that dish- but they could have done more and comped the table the meal, if not the beers- spoiled seafood is no laughing matter. Lastly, my special of Venison Osobuco, while sounding good, was terrible. Gristly, fatty, and with a sauce that had been thickened like a gravy with flour or cornstarch instead of a reduction- and it was something like $22. My fault for believing all the reviews and treating this place like some species of gastropub- its not, but the kitchen is overambitious and thinks it is. Stick to something simple and you'll be fine. I'd say stick to the mussels, but after the skate experience I don't trust them with seafood.

Even though our dinner was a bit grim, the place overall is quite nice and a great place to go have a brew. I'd be more interested in the extensive Belgian list if I was a local- I can get the same back home at the Brick Store. The local options weree nice, but I ran dry of stuff on tap I hadn't had before after a couple of beers. I give an edge to the Map Room as far as beer selection goes, but this place is overall a nicer place to visit- but then again, its all about the beer isn't it?

Photo of Yetiman420
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

My wife and I made a stop at Hopleaf prior to dinner on a Saturday evening the first week of December. Based on other reviews, I was expecting the worst in terms of a crowd. We arrived a little before 7 and while it was crowded, it turned out that many people at the front bar were waiting for tables so we eventually got a seat (and then a table) in the front bar area. The rear bar opened around 7:30 and you'll know it's open because of a red neon sign over the entryway to the back of the restauarant. We stuck with beers and it appeared the mussels were very popular. We did the Map Room twice on this visit (before and after a concert at a venue around the corner from the Map Room) and we give the Hopleaf a slight advantage over the Map Room because it's nicer, in a *better* nerighborhood, and cleaner. Better is a subjective term - there was much more going on around Clark street by the Hopleaf. Both places have a world-class beer selection and are worth the visit. Hopleaf has the Belgian Flemish sour brewed for Monks in Philly which I thought was cool. We also learned Chicago will go smoke free Jan. 1 of '08. I can't wait!!!

Photo of zorandra
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Although we were told there would be an hour to hour and a half wait for a table in the dining area, we were not worried. Look at the size of the beer menu! So we hunkered down up front in the crowded bar area and dove right in. Just the tap offerings kept us occupied and entertained while we waited.

Once seated the food menu, while somewhat scarce by comparison, even for a pub, was still chock full of delicious offerings. The Belgian-style mussels for two was more than enough for our party of four as an appetizer. We got a bottle of Cidre Bouche Reserve to go with it; the smoky flavour was a good compliment to the seafood.

The wait for our meals did take a while, but seeing that their kitchen could not be much bigger than the one in my apartment, and it was the night before Thanksgiving, it was no surprise that they were so busy. But the waiter checked in on us and we kept the beer menu handy. The list of tap beers is nothing compared to the bottle list.

So go there to relax, have a good time, and do not have anywhere to be in a set amount of time. Because it will be busy, and therefore it will take time to get your drinks and food to you. Plus, you will want to be there for a bit once you see the offerings. I know I will be back there soon.

Photo of koolchas
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

hopleaf was the third "main" bar visit that i my wife and i did during our recent chicago trip last week.

getting there took some time since we took the 22 clark bus from downtown up to andersonville. we made some stops along the way (get off at the clark/surf stop for some awesome belgian zucker waffels!) the bus ride takes you through some great neighborhoods and you even pass the front of wrigley field for some good photo ops. on the way back we did take the "L" but, if visiting, it is worth taking the bus at least one one leg of this trip. plus, if leaving early, you'll need to kill time since they don't open until 3pm (we went on a thursday).

by far, the hopleaf was our favorite beer bar during our chicago visit. we arrived at 3:30pm they had an excellent selection of american craft brews and belgians. my wife's favorite beer, dogfish 90min, was there on tap. so of course she got that and i decided to go with a lucifer. within half an hour we noticed the place to start to fill up so, we moved from the bar to a booth. the bartender was really nice and offered up many samples and also struck up some good conversation. on my second brew, i got a some kind of belgian "grand cru" - sorry forgot the name and it's not the one on their website. the chef came out since food is served starting at 5pm (and we needed it bad!) and recommended a couple of sandwiches (the ham and the brisket) which were both yummy. for my third brew, i had to go with a dogfish 90min since this is the first place i've ever seen it on tap. needless to say after three very good brews, i was done! my wife only stuck with one.

we stayed there until almost 6pm. by that time, the front part of the bar was already packed out and the back end was starting to fill up with diners. as typical, you can smoke in chicago bars. luckily, nobody was really smoking around us.

what really sets this place apart from the other top rated bars here on the chicago beerfly is that it also offers solid food. with us, we like to have munchies or at least some access to food when drinking and hopleaf delivers that. their tap list was well balanced which i liked (not all craft, not all belgian) with some yummy suprises for us like dfh90 which we did not expect to get at all.

given all the fun stuff we were able to do by taking the 22 clark bus up to hopleaf, if back in chicago this is one place i would make the trip and do. a friendly bar, with great staff, and overall a great selection of beer with great food.

Photo of franksnbeans
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Was in Chi-town on business. A co-worker of mine lives there and wanted to meet for brews and grub. I hit the beerfly database and settled on this place based on the reviews and the draft menu on their website. It’s a little out of the way if you are in the middle of the city but I assure you its worth it. Upon entering I wasn’t overly impressed. Typical bar decor and average seating. People were smoking (which I especially can’t stand while eating) but hey, it’s more a bar then restaurant and I’m here for the BEER not atmosphere. I’m used to the smoking ban in my hometown. Any inhibitions that I might have had were obliterated as soon as we sat at the bar. I almost had to wipe drool off my face looking at the taps. I proceeded to order delicious Belgian after Belgian, then a two brothers, then a 3 F's then an Urthel Hop-it, all draft, then it starts to get a little hazy but I know it was good. We ordered the mussels which were over the top good and paired extremely well with the beer. Each delicious beer was paired with the appropriate glass specific to the brewery the beer came from. I must admit I was gluttonous on this occasion but when its on the company’s dime it’s hard not to be. Bartenders were very attentive and friendly and loved to talk beer. The place gets very busy as the night goes on but I understand why. A must stop in Chi-Town.

Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
99 out of 100 based on 310 ratings.