Taps: 68 / Bottles: 350
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 249 | Reviews: 177 | Display Reviews Only:
4.78/5 rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, Hop Leaf gives you one of the two best beer selections in Chicago. The other being Map Room.
You walk into a comfortable room with the bar being on your left. Booths on your right. Tables in the middle. Continue on through the bar and you'll find the walkway to the dining room, located in the rear. upstairs you will find an extra room with balcony for busy nights and private parties. There is a mini-bar for a small,
convenient, quality selection of beers. Music is always quality and somewhat chill.
The food is outstanding and I believe fairly priced for the quality. Service will always be good. But sometimes it is obvious that the staff is overwhelmed. They try their best but the place simply gets mobbed. It may be hard for their rather small kitchen to keep up.
Bar service is always solid. Even when they are slammed they hold their own. Considering what is available to the Chicago market, I couldn't ask for anything more from their beer selection.
It should be illegal for a serious fan of beer to miss the place.
04-02-2006 17:06:40 | More by TheLoneGunman
4.19/5 rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Located on the far north side of the city, but not bad to get to from the Loop. I've had luck with parking on both trips.
Very crowded when I visited - both times on Saturday night. First off - the belgian selections on tap are fantastic. Some were hard to find like a a nice strong christmas beer from Dupont. Tasty! I could have spent hours on the belgian drafts.
We stuck to draft - many regionals - 3 Floyds, Bells, Summit, Goose Island etc. Sierra, Victory other regions represented too. All drafts were perfect quality - outstanding flavor and perfect carbonation. No off flavors, which many of the big Chicago Beer Bars have problems with.
Huge bottle list.
Service: Efficient, but not particularly welcoming or friendly. I did find one bartender who offered a taste when we trying to decide on belgians - usually a common courtesy.
Dining room in back is nicely appointed. Didn't get to try the food. Worth seeking out for high quality draft beers
01-12-2006 04:45:11 | More by sweethome
4.7/5 rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I've been here twice, once when dead and once when busy. Obviously much more relaxing when dead.
Cool little place with two floors of delicious Belgian heaven. An eclectic mix of young hipsters and midaged beer folks.
Mind boggling selection of Belgian beers, the tap selection alone makes this one of the best beer bars I've been to. Every beer I've had here has been dead on, clean lines and high turnover = delicious beer.
The food was also great, somewhat limited menu, but all very good choices for the beer selection. Just be sure to show up early if you want to eat, as the place gets awfully busy.
It's pretty expensive to come drink here, but consider what you're getting.
12-05-2005 20:41:48 | More by nortmand
4.65/5 rDev +4.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Dining with two companions, this was my first time visiting the Hopleaf. I was pleased to have two or three very fresh beers along with dinner. Everything was kept up to date and clean, which seems like it should be obvious -- but places like this make you realize that not every establishment does it right. The waitress we had seemed knowledgeable enough about the beers, and the simple, dark, brick-and-beer decor works for the place. I think I made a mistake in my sandwich selection, lured in by a romanticized description. But word has it, I missed out on a few other, more excellent options. Still, one of two must-visits in Chicago.
11-16-2005 03:37:26 | More by marburg
4.4/5 rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
My first visit to The Hopleaf was on my honeymoon back in May of '05. My new wife and I walked in about 3pm in the afternoon and there were maybe 3-4 random people at the bar. We parked on Clark, right across the street. I was suprised it was so empty, although it did seem a bit "out of the way." Other that that, it was a quaint place and nicely decorated overall. We didn't venture into the new back restaurant area.
We sat at a booth in the front area initially and started perusing the beer list at the table. We decided to start off with a couple selections from the tap instead. There was no server to be found, so I meandered up to the bar and ordered. The bartender was pleasant enough initially, but seemed rather uninterested in chatting although I expressed my passion for beer and my happiness at seeing so many of my sought after brews. Oh well. My wife likes the german Hefe's, so I suggested she start with a Konig Ludwig (if memory serves ...) and I had my first Delerium Tremens. No messing around ... with that many Belgium beers to be had, I was not going to waste any time working up to them.
Our initial impression was that this place had a cool atmosphere and a superlative beer menu. I saw Belgiums on the wall that I had only read about heretofore. We were enjoying ourselves, overall, but we weren't feeling it at the booth. In addition, we discovered that food was not served until 5pm. Hmmm ...two hours too early!We were hungry, but no big deal with the abundant liquid bread we were enjoying! We resolved to wait it out until 5 to order.
After finishing our first round, we decided to move up to the bar to be closer to the action, if indeed there was any action to be had. Seems to me, I ordered a Rochefort 8 in the bottle when we sat down. We had maybe 2-3 other beers from the selection of bottles and enjoyed them all. I just enjoyed looking down at the glass-front coolers behind the bar and seeing those exotic labels ... it was all a little bit of sensory overload for me, to be honest!
Before we knew it, it was 5pm and the bartender was more than happy to give us a food menu from which we could make our selections. We had the Mussels for two, followed by the roast duck, at the bar.
Wow, I was already impressed with the beer selection. The food didn't disappoint in the least either! The mussels were excellent and there were a lot of them. We almost didn't have room for the duck when it came out ... almost. After a good two hours of drinking high gravity ales, I was definitely ready for some solid food to soak up the alcohol. I couldn't have been more happy with the offerings.
I have to confess, I was suprised to read in the other reviews about The Hopleaf being so over-crowded and smokey. This couldn't have been further from the case when we were there. We almost had the place to ourselves, it seemed, and I don't recall any smoke. I guess it was our dumb luck, though. We got there early and we never saw a crowd ... and this was post-Cubs game at Wrigley no less!
We're going back to Chicago in a week or so for business, and The Hopleaf is our one "can't miss" stop in our short visit. If you like great beer, and that in more choices than you can possible handle at a sitting, you really shouldn't miss The Hopleaf. Pair that with great Belgium food and you have a special combination. This place is great for all beer lovers, but if you're a Belgium fanatic like I am, then you simply must visit and plan to stay a while ... you'll be busy! If you squint your eyes, and grasp your goblet just right, you might think you were in the holy land of beer for a second ... ...
10-12-2005 17:01:36 | More by beerphilosopher
4.43/5 rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped here while in Chicago on business in August 2005. The beer selection is extremely wide, and they have an incredible number of Belgians (in bottle and many on tap).
The main thing I appreciated was that each beer I ordered (and the orders of my neighbors) was served in the appropriate glassware from the actual brewery. I started with a Westvleteren 12, served in a Westvleteren chalice. This was my first one after months of searching, so Hopleaf is an important landmark for me... My second beer was Tripel Karmeliet. It was served in the brewery chalice, and was floral and strong.
The service was pretty good, but nothing outstanding really. No one was rude, there just wasn't very much attention...
I'll be coming back next time I'm in Chicago. But I do want to try the MapRoom also.
08-27-2005 14:06:01 | More by TurdFurgison
4.4/5 rDev -0.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
My brothers and I just spent a great weekend in Chicago and the Hopleaf was one of the reasons why. We drank beers for a few hours after a Cubs game and had an excellent time.
I'd become a regular of the Hopleaf if I lived in Chicago. I have to say, I really dig their logo hanging on the sign above the door. It pretty much has the look of a quality drinking establishment. The atmosphere was perfect for drinking with friends and talking crazy talk. The focus of the place was on drinking at the bar or at a table... nothing zanny hanging from the walls; just a solid reputation based on a good beer selection. We sat at the bar where we had a selection of about 25 beers on tap and over 50 bottled beers. I'm not sure how often they rotate the taps, but I think I could have a fun time trying all they have to offer.
We had good service at the bar. We were there in the early evening and I could see it getting really busy and tough to get a beer as the night rolls on. The bartender knew all the beers by heart and was happy to serve up some samplers for us to try before ordering a pint. The bartender was quick with our orders but wasn't interested in striking up a conversation, which personally I don't mind because I'd prefer to enjoy the company of my friends.
07-30-2005 15:00:42 | More by winpig3
3.5/5 rDev -21.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
My wife and I visited Hopleaf during a recent visit to the Windy City. It was relatively easy to find and within walking distance of the Berwyn stop on the Red Line.
The atmosphere is nice. The dining area was not smoky, a big plus. The whole place is decorated with old beer signs. As others have noted, they have a lengthy selection of Belgians and American versions of Belgians. They also carry several non-Belgians that I have not found elsewhere (including Anchor's Small beer). The menu has great information about the various beers.
They were doing a brisk business that night (a Saturday), but to me that was no excuse for the service that we received. The staff was pleasant, but they didn't seem organized. There was a great deal of waiting and the folks at the table next to us were having the same experience.
Also, my wife told our server that when she used the Lady's Room, water was dripping from the ceiling into one of the stalls. When she went down again sometime later, nothing had been done to correct it or even indicate that the stall was out of order.
The food was very tasty and interesting. This is kind of a pricey place to visit, but for the selection and quality of the food, it did not seem at all unreasonable to me. Unfortunately they were out of one of the entrees but on busy nights that happens. The beer seemed very fresh and properly poured.
All in all it was a good experience, but not a great one. We'll go back to give the Hopleaf another chance.
06-20-2005 22:52:21 | More by Engibeer
4.5/5 rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
So, i'm in chi-town, down on my luck, with some personal problems, and a hole in my heart. It was just like an f'in Tom Waits song off of Swordfish Trombones, and combined with my chain-smoking, el-riding escapades it was like some freaked out version of High Fidelity that John Cusack would be scared to touch with a ten foot pole....So I tried to go to Clark street earlier, but than I remembered that the windy city is like Brooklyn and some good bars don't open until 4pm on a weekday! Anyways, this place opens earlier, and I found out the map room opens at 11:30 in the afternoon (soon, in a week or two i'll be back!). So, this place, what can be said. Well Atmosphere is killer, dark, with all dark wood and a dreary, shadowy speak-easy feel that makes this place feel 20's gangster, more than some of the oldest pubs in Philly or NYC. Service is to the point. Beers are filled quickly by some gruff-looking tenders. They arent the prettiest bunch, but they take care of you and keep your glass full. Selection is good, draughts are varied and unique, but not insane, bottled list is insane, but mostly imports, and when I go to a pub I like drinking draught beers 99% of the time anyway...why? Well I don't have draught at home, but I do have bottles, and most likely I can get anything the bar can get cheaper! Unless we're talking brewpubs, which I ain't. I did have a glass of 25 year old Polish Jadwiga mead though (the best mead ever?) a nice sized glass for $6 was quite reasonable. I than quaffed some draught two hearted and alpha king, before eschewing beer all together and hitting up some russian vodka and camel lights on this bender night. Food looked kick ass, but I did not try any, as I was on hunger strike at the time. I only had one night in Chicago on my first visit, and the full day I spent here was fucked up and insane. I met some great people, got my heart broken, went on a true bender in a great pub, and didn't make it to any others as well! But hey, this is life, and sometimes beer isn't the end all and be all of ones self....with that said, however, I will be back in chi-town in a few weeks...I will hit 2 other bars, and I will not go on a bender this time...I'm gonna kick Chicago in the ass when I get back..watch out clark street and map room (and maybe even goose island...) as it is, take it or leave it...the hop Leaf is a bar....and it is a damn good bar at that!
05-31-2005 21:38:16 | More by francisweizen
4.63/5 rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
This was the second stop for the evening in our little bar crawl. We left the Maproom early due to over crowding, too much smoke and they were out of the last 5 things we tried to order. Upon first walking in to the left is a chalkboard with a huge number of bottles listed. If this place only had bottles it would be worth going to. They had an excellent selection with a huge variety. We sat up at the bar and marveled over the beer menu with its about 30 or so taps. This was one of the best beer menus I have seen. They had a large variety of style with some of the best brews for each of the given styles. St. Bernardus 12, Karmeliet Triple, Saison Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux, Sprecher Bavarian Black, Alpha King, Bells 2 Hearted with plenty of other excellent choices. I could have stayed here all day. The service was good and the wait staff seemed to have some knowledge as well. They were busy the whole night but managed to keep our glasses full and orders filled in a timely manner. I had the sausage plate which was ridiculously good. Nice variety of high quality sausages that seemed to go perfect with everything I ordered. Next time I will have dinner here for sure. Atmosphere was laid back and the décor was fairly modern. Even with how busy the place got it never seemed stuffy. The bar area was up front and there was a dining area in the back. Highly recommended! This was my favorite stop in Chicago and I will go here every time I am in town.
05-24-2005 18:14:11 | More by meathookjones
Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 249 ratings.