Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
99
world-class

301 Ratings
Ratings: 301
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 4.47
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 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 301 | Reviews: 183 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ShrLSU
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
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 +9.2%
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 +10.7%
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 +8.1%
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 -0.7%
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 -2.5%
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 +3.6%
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 -9.4%
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 +6.9%
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 +3.8%
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 +9.6%
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 -7.6%
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 +1.3%
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 -0.4%
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 +6.9%
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 +5.1%
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.

Photo of johnyeast
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Expanded since I was last there. It was usually crowded and now they have a back room and an upstairs. They also serve food although I haven't tried it yet. Really enjoy the Hopleaf. Nice atmosphere. Walking distance from the Fireside which is a great place to have food. Great selection. Dominitated by IPA's and Belgiums. Which is very convienant that my brother loves IPA's and I truely appreciate Doubles and Triples. Proper glassware and unfortunately the proper price. (Chicago prices.) The only thing that I don't like (I'm spoiled in Ft. Collins) is the smoking in the bar.

Photo of SiphonKing
4/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've lived near the Hopleaf for about 8 years now and it has become an icon of the surrounding neighborhood. If you are looking for good Belgian beers on tap served fresh than look no further. As noted from other reviews the place can get crowded fast and is a tight squeeze for larger parties. They do have dining in the rear and another bar located upstairs for those busy times. The food is inspired by the Belgian tradition and the pommes frites served with a mayonnaise-style sauce is delicious, although a bit pricey. Be sure to order a Kwak and marvel at the unique glassware it is served in. However, if you are on a beer budget than this may not be the place for you.

Photo of manodepaz
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Hands down one of the best beer bars in the United States for anybody who drinks Belgian beer, The Hopleaf always has an outstanding selection on draft. As well as a wide range of American Microbrews and imports. I've had a wide array of Beligan's on draft including St. Bernadus 12, Maredsus 8, Kwak, Duchess du Burgeone, Leffe Bruine & Blond and the astonishing Cantillon Broucsella (1900) Grand Cru!!! The front part of the establishment is a bar with a fair bit of smoke and slightly boistrous atmosphere enveloping the tables, booths, and taps. The back, restauraunt is much more refined with brick walls and table service. If you get a chance try the balcony upstairs for a slightly more quite atmosphere and chance to look out on the restaurant. Excellent steamed mussels and frites. I haven't had a lot of their other food because I order that meal every time their attempt at continenta/Belgian fare is most praiseworthy. An excellent place to imbibe the finest from the low countries. Prices for beer run 6-7 dollars per draft glass which may seem expensive but really isn't when you consider the exchange rate & rarity of draft Beligian beers. Definitely a place to go for a beer savory experience.

Photo of dreadnatty08
3.18/5  rDev -28.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Visited in March of 07. Small bar in front with about 10 or so tables, very tight and crowded, difficult to navigate from bar to seat even sober. Visited late afternoon and bar area was full. Two bartenders were working, both took quite a while to acknowledge and serve me. Asked about a Bell's beer, told they were no longer sold in IL, but why the hell do they list about 5 or 6 on a chalkboard menu; maybe you can't erase it? Finally I chose a couple beers, then I had to start a tab on a piece of paper because at the Hopleaf they're reliving the 19th century with their cash register circa 1890s. This makes having a tab a pain in the ass as well as the $20 min. on using credit cards; my biggest complaint about this place. We ordered some fries served in a cone that were great and a nice piece of sustenence between beers. Ordered a few things on tap served in the appropriate glassware, often the breweries own. However, when I ordered a bottled beer, I was given not a pint glass but one that was only about 10oz.. so I could only pour about 2/3 with a nice head. I don't know why they did this when a pint would be fine. Anyway, the selection was the best I've seen, but the service was just awful, and alas I will probably never return.

Photo of nickfl
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Got there at about 6:30 on a monday night, had no trouble finding a couple of tables for 6-8 people, but if we were an hour later there would have been no chance.
Interesting tap selection, I have seen more taps elsewhere, but I have never seen such unusual things on tap. If you go here you will have the chance to try beers on tap that aren't even sold that way in Belgium.
Bottle selection is even better. Several things on that menu that you are unlikely to see again soon.
I was there with my class from Siebel for a Belgian style tasting which was conducted by the owner, Michael. He clearly has a deep knowlege of Belgian beer and loves not only the beer but the culture as well. His passion for Belgain food is apparent too; I was almost more impressed by the quality of the food than the variety of the beer.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.47/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Last stop for me and my crew after the 2nd CTA Pub Crawl.

Packed. Ridiculously packed. Sardine can packed. Yet…I managed to get beers really easily. The staff must really know how to hustle.

Selection: One of the best tap selections I’ve ever seen. Great bottle selection especially for Belgians. I had a couple Jadwigas and a Oud Beersel Kriek. I probably could have tasted 5 or 6 beers that I’d never had, just from their tap selection if I would have had more time and sobriety.

Quality: The beers are all quality and served in the appropriate glassware.

Atmosphere: It was pretty blurry. There was an upstairs and a downstairs. I’m not sure about much else. There were lots of people everywhere. The place was really crowded. The rooms seemed to move a lot.

Food: I heard it was good but since I couldn’t find a seat let alone a table, I didn’t’ try any.

I need to go back for an entire afternoon to really take in some of their beers.

Photo of mynie
4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Take the Metra from Harvard to Jefferson Park. Then take the #92 bus towards Clark. Total travel time from Palatine was right around an hour.

We got there around eight and the only word I can use to describe it was "packed." The upstairs AND the downstairs. Yes, it was prime time on a Friday, but damn this place was packed.

But the crowd was great. Not the hepsters you get at other beer bars. Mostly people in their 30s and professionals. Nice crowd. I got along with them just fine.

Best tap selection ever. Better even than the maproom. And the upstairs bar has bottles like you wouldn't believe. EVERYTHING comes in proper glassware. The bartenders were busy as hell but nice as hell, too.

Slightly better than the maproom, even when it's crowded.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

atmosphere was very nice, interesting signs/memorabilia on the walls, 2 different bars, smaller selection upstairs, also 2 dining areas, unfortunately visited on a friday night so it was packed to the gills, service was efficient despite this, selection not as huge as a place like the brickskeller but still a wide array to choose from, about 30 taps, this place is a belgian beer afficionado's dream, more than half the selections are belgian or belgian style. a few places may have even more beers but at this place it seems as if each beer is carefully selected, they don't have beers just to have them. the beer menu is well updated and accurate, nice descriptors on the menu including abv. proper glassware is used. i rated it inexpensive because i noticed great prices on several beers and nothing looked overpriced.
went back on a sunday afternoon, place packed again, managed to get a table in the dining room very quickly, had the mussels in belgian beer w/pommes frites on the side, dish was top-notch, lots of mussels, nice light sauce, good bread, frites w/mayo were great, very well-priced. i can see why literally everybody in there who was eating also had the mussels. alpha king on tap was great as well as the 120 minute ipa served via bottle.

Photo of tjdemon
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I've been to Hopleaf many times but was waiting for a bit of a special occasion to review it, although to twist the line from Sideways, a trip to Hopleaf is its own special occasion. This past Saturday I joined my roommate and his family there as his youngest brother turned twenty-one the day before. To have known about this place when I was twenty-one...

I was about forty-five minutes early (by design) so I enjoyed a Three Floyds Brian Boru on my own and reveled in the cozy bar atmoshere on a cold and windy Chicago afternoon. Arrive anytime after 5 p.m. or so on weekends and the bar is jammed and smoke-ridden, so caveat emptor. That said, if you go early (or plan to eat in the dining room and snag a table) the atmospere rivals any establishment I've been in.

Quality and selection have always been top notch in my experience and for a bar that prides itself on its Belgian beer selection, it's American/local micro selection also has few rivals. There are always good choices available from Goose Island, Three Floyds, and Two Bros.

Service used to be a toss-up but I have noticed quite an improvement in the past year or so. I used to witness bartenders who would purposefully avoid eye contact and then provide plenty of condescension when they were forced to deal with customers but, for the most part, I think that has subsided. The other day both bartenders and our server in the dining room were fast, courteous, and offered suggestions when asked.

As far as the food goes, everything I have tried has been excellent, but to be honest I haven't ordered anything other than the Belgian ale steamed mussels for over a year now. You won't be disappointed.

The best advice I can offer is to go early, stay late, and cab it or take the CTA.

Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
99 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.