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Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
98
world-class

270 Ratings
Ratings: 270
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 10.11%
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 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 270 | Reviews: 180 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%

This is a nicely setup bar. Atmosphere screams beer, quaint, small, intimate. The quality of the beer is fresh as can get. They seem to rotate through the beer quickly. Service is top notch no slouches here. All seem to know the beer they serve. Are prompt to take and refill orders. Helpful towards food pairing. Selection is the best Belgian I have seen. On tap and off. They have like 200 bottles mostly Belgian, with over 15 taps. Again mostly Belgian. First time I had DuPont Saison on tap. Food is mighty good. Had Duchesse De Bourgogne Duck that was great. It is a little pricey on food, and some beers. Overall a must go to in Chicago

amatuerbeerguy, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.53/5  rDev +1.8%

Hopleaf is a true Belgian treasure, and a place I will surely try to go back to the next time I'm in Chicago. I'll get the only downsides out of the way right now - the bar area is extremely smokey (ack!), and our dining room waitress was inattentive. Aside from those two things, this place is perfection.

The space is exposed brick with modern, metalic touches here and there, especially in the dining room (which is in the rear). The front room contains the bar, and the actualy bar is a quite old and well preserved. The belgian food was top notch, with the frites, fried in conola oile and served Belgain style with mayo, are delicoius! The Wild Boar stew was also delicious.

The beer selection is HUGE, with descriptions of every offering and the staff helpful if you're undecided. Belgian beers are their specialty, but they also have an exceptional selection of domestic beers, both on tap and bottled.

I was there on a Wednesday night, and it was packed; bar was capacity and there was a wait for the dining room, and just about everyone was a local out to have a fun time.

RedBeerchetta, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of goodbyeohio
3.76/5  rDev -15.5%

stopped in here with acme, kmpitz2, bigdaddywil, and some random beer drinker guy on a random friday night for some beers. good idea and bad.. this place is a mob scene!

upon entering the small bar, we settled into the back far corner of the room, sandwiched between a bunch of snooty wine-drinking bleach blond bimbo types, the kitchen service window, and the coat racks. it was very difficult to take my coat off without knocking over a few random people's beers and/or feeling up random patrons. this place is not only a beer destination, but a foodie destination (good mussels?) and a hip young thing destination. the meeting of the three groups seems to create wall-to-wall chaos.. and from what i understand, this doesn't ease up on weeknights either. from what i could tell through the smoke clouds and sea of bodies, it kinda looked like an irish pub. lots of wood and iron, full bar and on the darker side. bar on the left, rickety wooden tables on the right. seated dining in the rear. there is an upstairs bar which was also full, so it went pretty much unexplored.
nothing really impressive about how it looked.

the bartender was a real snotty bitch. i mean really bad. she had the audacity to take a large drink order without writing it down, and then returned after every beer to ask what the next beer was. she also had a grim scowl on her weathered old face that was just not appealing to me as a human being. several times, she became frustrated or angry when i would attempt to get her attention for refills. if it's that much of a pain, maybe you need a new career lady.

the tap selection, once i pushed over a couple bar-blocking meatheads to grab a draught list, was excellent. the beers were divided up by brewery and listed with full descriptions. there was an excellent balance of belgian beers (to go with the belgian cuisine) and local american hop-skewed elixirs. once we vultured a table, it made for an enjoyable progression of lighter to darker to dessert belgian selections.

i believe i had a sierra nevada harvest ale, two-hearted, nosferatu, and gouden carolus classic. the quality of all beers was excellent although served a bit on the colder side. i am very sensitive to the flavors in two-hearted, and they were pristine. clean lines=good lines!

didn't try the food, ate kevin's poisoned pasta before heading over. spied some mussels that a girl next to me was eating.. they looked huge.. much bigger than what we see on the east coast. and the broth smelled wonderful- although that doesn't merit an actual rating.

overall good stuff, enjoyable brews. make sure to stop by if you've fantasized about being stuffed into a clown car. will surely return, and will surely shoot for an off-hour, earlier afternoon visit. next time it will be moules & frites, saison dupont, and sunny midday hours.

goodbyeohio, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of jdoherty
3.65/5  rDev -18%

The Hopleaf's major problem is that it has recieved so much publicity lately. Even when I am in New York, the NY Times dubs the must-go bar in all Chicago. The place is packed no matter what time it is, which makes ordering difficult on you and the servers.

The place is on Clark St. in Andersonville, and the way the places looks reflects the yuppified neighborhood around it. Nonetheless, the beer selection is stellar, I counted almost 200 beers with almost 20 on tap, with a big Belgian focus. The food reminds me of my days in the Low Countries, but I guess if fries and mayo isnt your thing, then you may disagree.

Biggest problem, the price. Its far more expensive than similar places like the Maproom. Seems like they believe they are the only beer bar in Chicago and you need to pay an extra $2 a drink for the pleasure. Maybe they're getting a little too big headed for their own good.

jdoherty, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of mmcave
4.13/5  rDev -7.2%

Went there on a Thursday night, arrived about 10 pm. The place at that time was packet this included the bar and the dinning room. Before I went I had already picked out what I was going to drink from their helpful online menu, which included a tap list and a bottle list. The atmosphere was pleasant enough, there was a bar, then it opened in to a dining room, which I saw little of. There were seats all round the bar, some tables and about three booths which were all full. So we ended up standing until something opened up. There seemed to be a buzz, lots of people drinking interesting things and talking about it. The bartender had a Gulden Draak T- shirt so I knew this was the place. The bartenders were very busy, needless to say they were a little short with us, which sort of put me off, but was understandable. The tap selection was great, about 30 or so taps, both American and European, their bottle menu was no less great. There were just way too many to count, which included some really rare stuff (a dogfish head malt liquor 40, which came with a hand stamped brown paper bag need I say more). I did not order food, but tasted some of my brother’s which hit the spot. It might be a little pricey, but if your in town and its not too far out of the way it’s totally worth a visit. This is a great place, well discovered, but great.

mmcave, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of woodychandler
3.86/5  rDev -13.3%

Sopor, my visit to this place was in keeping with your characterization of the trip as a whole as “gonzo”. My plan for the day had been to hit Piece B. C., then The Map Room, and go back to the hostel to crash out in anticipation of the following day’s ride to St. Louis. While I was stilling at Piece, I struck up conversations with “The Michigan Seat” – the seat directly to my left had a succession of people who all hailed from Michigan – and the second guy put me onto an easy set of directions. Get off at the Argyle stop and walk three to four blocks west. Even to my insensate ears, this seemed doable, and so I was off to see The Hopleaf.

No vestibule! I walked in the door and the long, “U”-shaped bar was directly to my left. There were restaurant tables and chairs to the right, and against the right wall was a bank of booths. Above the left end of the bar, where I was sitting, were three chalkboards, each written on in three columns in colored chalk, detailing their bottle selection. The same selection was also detailed in a tall, fourteen page booklet, but I was somehow visually drawn to the blackboards, especially with that colored chalk being used.

The bar area had a 1920’s-era European feel, from the antique back bar; the ceiling lights; the pressed-tin ceiling; the gently rotating ceiling fans; the vintage advertising, some framed, some tin signage; to, finally, the soft jazz playing in the background. It was almost enough to inspire me to pull out my F. Scott Fitzgerald Omnibus that I was reading on that leg of the trip.

Towards the right end of the bar was a bookshelf, then a short ramp leading up to the restaurant area. At the top of the ramp, to the immediate right, was the kitchen. The restaurant area was likewise festooned with vintage adverts. Off to the left, again at the top of the ramp, was a stairway, going both up to a mezzanine seating area (that’s where I would want to sit since you can see everything) and down to the “main” washrooms. I won’t bother telling you about the auxiliary washroom, since it is designated for Persons with Disabilities.
Beer: I drank Lindeman’s Pomme on draft; Point Pale Ale on draft; and Two Brothers Cane and Ebel on draft, the latter thanks to Sopor’s suggestion.

The wrap-up: I really coveted the Horlacher Angling Map in the stairwell leading to the lavatories, as well as one of their bowling shirts. The logo is based on a vintage sign from Chicha Simonds “The Hop Leaf”. Their easy accessibility makes it a no-brainer during a visit to CHI.

The Mom Test: Oh, yeah. Clean, nice restaurant, good ambiance. No problem.

woodychandler, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of SheepNutz
4.53/5  rDev +1.8%

What a nice place to have a brew! It was really nice to hit the Hopleaf while in Chicago for Lollapalooza. I even got to meet a new BA (Acme). The Hopleaf has a great draft beer selection, with about 15 Belgians on tap, and about 20 others on tap (no macro lagers to be found). I enjoyed Rodenbach, DFH Aprihop, and Allagash White on tap. A few others I remembered them having were Unibroue Maudite, Sprecher Black Bavarian, Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer and Three Floyds Alpha King. They also have a huge chalk board on the left as you walk in that lists their bottle selection. Let's just say they have to write VERY small on it. There's at least a few hundred bottle selections on there, from all over the world. A very overwhelming overall selection. The beer is a little on the expesive side, but that's to be expected in Chicago. Don't expect to get a pint (minus tip) for under $5. Many Belgian 750mLs go into the high teens-twenties range. The beer is super fresh though, and served properly. The atmosphere is fairly nice. There's lots of dark wood, beer signs, and a nice bar right up front. It gets crowded, and even though there's plenty of tables, you need to order up at the bar (unless you sit in the back room I think). The bartenders are friendly, but not overly friendly. One server working the back room almost knocked my brother down trying to get to the bar. I checked out the almost all Belgian food menu, but didn't order as I had already had dinner. This place is a fantastic spot for getting quality fresh beer, and I'll definitely hit this place back up when I make it back to Chicago.

SheepNutz, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.6/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

BEERchitect, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of malcontent
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

malcontent, Aug 03, 2006
Photo of brushpig
4.45/5  rDev 0%

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.

brushpig, Jul 21, 2006
Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 270 ratings.