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Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
99
world-class

280 Ratings
Ratings: 280
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 10.09%
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: 280 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cproioi
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%

On my recent trip to Chicago the hosts of the house my friends and I where staying at took us out to this bar, and boy where we glad they did.

A: Seemed to be a very enjoyable place. I felt very comfortable there and it was a pleasure to walk up to people my age (22) at the bar and just start talking about IPAs and Double IPAs

Q: Oh wow a bar that knows their beer I am amazed. The beers where generally poured in the correct style of glass and served and at around the correct temperature. I'm very impressed.

Service: It was good quick service brought to use by people who enjoy their work. If I worked there I would enjoy my work also.

Selection: I am very very very impressed at their selection. I am not even going to attempt to list the beer list it's too huge for me to even list. It can be accessed via the website though. However, the reason I gave it a 4.5 instead of a 5 was due to the fact that at a bar like that I really would of enjoyed to see cask conditioned beer. However, barring that their beer list was simply amazing.

cproioi, Jul 08, 2006
Photo of kmpitz2
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

I have found the Hopleaf to be a little unassuming, as I might pass it on the street and not think anything of it. When I have been there, it gave me the feel of a true neighborhood bar. The first time I was there was on a weekday afternoon, and an elderly man in a wheelchair came in. The bartender had a drink waiting for this gemtleman before he was even in his seat at the bar. I thought that was great. Walking in, there is a nice wooden bar on the left, with a seating area on the right, with more seating in the back. The front bar is smoking and the back seating area is non smoking, but I have not been overwhelmed by smoke at the bar when there. I have been served by three different staff members. One was rather uninterested in any formal communication other than asking what drink people wanted. The other two really seemed to be attentive and cared about what they were doing. On my third trip in, the bartender actually welcomed me back, recognizing me from earlier in the week. Since I am new in town, I might stick out as someone that has returned to the bar more than once in a given time, but it was nice to be recognized and have that articulated to me. I have never had to wait for a beer, with staff always asking me if I wanted something else. The tap selection is fantastic, and I could drink from the bottle menu every day and not have the same beer twice in a year. I have not yet had any food here, so I can't comment on that, but the pomme frites looked awesome when I was there last. Since I now live ten minutes walk from this place, I am in trouble for the next few years. Hopleaf is my new top pick in Chicago.

kmpitz2, Jun 24, 2006
Photo of millhouse
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%

While in town during a recent Wednesday night of a conference, I slipped out on my own around midnight to find The Hopleaf. After hailing a cab from the Hilton Towers, and having a bit of miscommunication, I ended up at The Hopleaf.

It was a good 12:30 AM on a Wednesday when I arrived. There were approximately 3 other patrons besides myself there. But, that didn't stop me from ordering a cigar (it was surprising that I could still smoke one here) and ordering a Delirum Tremens on tap. I was in GREAT shape.

Great shape, that is, until I saw the mead list on the menu. Commercially-made mead isn't available in Mississippi, to my knowledge, so I HAD to try it. And, this was the beginning of the downfall to my early morning. I think the combination of a few beers at the Hilton with my boss, the cigar, the belgian and then the mead lead me to fall asleep on the Red Line and ended up at 95th/Dan Ryan... Yes, the VERY end of the Red line which I meant to depart at the Loop, at LEAST. Ooops. One thing to be said about Chicago's less fortunate... they are personable and don't seem to be violent, as far as I could tell. I woke up with 4 of them on my same train and was never even approached.

Next time I'm in Chicago, which I will hopefully hit sometime soon again, I will go here for dinner as I hear their food is outstanding.

millhouse, Jun 19, 2006
Photo of pmatz2
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%

Saw this bar reviewed on a local Chiacgo foodshow Check Please! Since the wife loves to check these restaurants out I was in luck. Great seelction of beers on tap and bottled. I have to admit I'm spoiled by the New York no smoking laws so hanging in the bar area is not my pint of beer.

The food is excellent. The steamed mussels are awesome. You have a few choices of the beer that they are steamed in. They could be a meal in them selves. The Frittes are excellent also. I wish that they actually recommended which beers go with each meal. Some of the wait staff are not as knowledgeable as you would hope. then again very few places have a Somalia like knowledge of beer and food pairings. Overall great food great beer selection great neighborhood.

pmatz2, Jun 03, 2006
Photo of GreenWBush
3.93/5  rDev -11.9%

After a whirlwind tour of Chicago, all I can say is...I could get used to it there.

To my surprise, the friends I stayed with lived less than a mile away from this place. This is clearly the type of establishment that driving home from would be not-so-smart.

As mentioned by other reviewers, the inside of this place is just amazing. The bar itself has a well-worn, Chicago-esque feel, yet the back restaurant area is just gorgeous. Since we were hitting the place near last call, food wasn't topping our priority list.

While the tap-selection was quite nice, and in particular the Belgian selection, I could definetely understand a local's complaint that the beer selection just doesn't change enough. I would get rather tired of these beers if I haunted the place, but as a visitor I had no complaints. Taps I recall: Anchor Steam, Prima Pils, Two Hearted, Two Brother's Cane & Abel, Moinette Blond, Monk's Sour Red, Leffe Brune and Blonde, Poperings Hommelbier. Quite the beer-lover's tap-list. I didn't scan the bottle list too much, but noticed some patrons drinking St. Bernardus, Orval, and Rochefort so i'll surmise its pretty damned good. And yes, they *are* all about the proper glassware here.

Others complained about the nuvo-Greaser servers, but I thought the servers were fine and kept a vigilant eye whenever you were about ready for another beer. Perhaps our percieved hipster-quotient helped us. A great place to drink in Chicago.

GreenWBush, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%

I have a new favorite bar in Chicago.

Hopleaf was crowded but not overly so when we arrived Saturday night. We requested a table and were seated much quicker than the 45 minute wait the hostess estimated - a good sign. In fact, I didn't even have time to finish my first beer of the evening, a Monk's Cafe Flemish Red on draught.

After we were seated, we took in the extensive beer menu, the far-more-interesting than your average bar food menu, and the very cool feel of the back room, with its old Belgian beer posters and exposed brick walls. We decided to start with an order of moules & frites (a very good choice) and a cheese plate (another good choice), as well as our second round of beers: a Chambly Noire for me and Orvals for my friends.

The evening progressed, we continued to enjoy the atmosphere, adequate service, and a swim through the seemingly endless beer list and our entrees (good steak frites), enjoying a Hommelbier along the way. I decided to finish the evening with my first taste of 120 Minute IPA - and I have to say, it was a great choice.

I've now been to both the Map Room (also a great place) and Hopleaf, and I prefer the latter. Even when I move further from the Andersonville locale, I'll still make regular trips up to enjoy the food, the terrific beer selection, and the great atmosphere.

RockyTopHeel, May 31, 2006
Photo of Erdinger2003
4.34/5  rDev -2.7%

My first trip to Chicago and I wanted to see the Hopleaf, it is an old building with most of the walls still intact.

The first thing I noticed after showing the doorman my ID was all of the Belgian glasses and beer of different than clear colors. The back room looked like a great place to eat a dinner sometime, but for that moment I just took a little looky-loo.

The service was nice, he asked me right away, but sadly I didn't have time for a drink since there's a lot of stuff I needed to see and so much that I didn't.

I will enjoy another visit with money and beer and food and everything, probably at night to enjoy the suddle atmosphere.

Erdinger2003, May 19, 2006
Photo of Herrless
4.13/5  rDev -7.4%

I do not get to go to the Hop Leaf as much as I used to since we moved out of the city and I miss it. They have a great selection of beer served in the correct glass. I don't feel that the service is very good and not everyone who works there knows the beer. You are pretty much on your own to try things that sound interesting or have your favorites. However, they do have beers that I have never seen anywhere else. Some of these beers can be a little expensive even though I understand why. Overall, I would recommend stoppy by and having a pint.

Herrless, May 16, 2006
Photo of RedBaron
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%

So...it's been a long time since I've been to Hopleaf. It used to be a place I frequented regularly about 5-10 years in the past, and I wanted to get back there to see what's been happening in the last few years. I went there this past weekend (5/5/06), and had a pleasant and relaxing experience, despite the near-capacity crowd. Just me, a copy of the Chicago Reader, and about 70 people jammed into this great beer bar on the far northside of the city.

I got to the bar about 9:30pm, and had to show my ID to the doorman (doorman? They'd never had one in the past). Anyway, he was nice enough, and I was lucky enough to find a seat at the bar - right under the glorious beer chalkboards - and settled in for a couple of hours.

This place gets a lot of flak from fellow BAs about their service (meaning: rude), but I didn't find this at all when I was there. In fact, Megan, one of the barkeeps, took care of me rather well, and did so with a busy smile (it was, after all, a bustling Friday night).

The HopLeaf always has an array of great beers on tap, and a plethora of fine brews in the bottle, but I usually opt for draughts first. The first beer of the night for me was a new one: Chambly Noire.

The Noir poured nicely off draught, was nearly opaque with a brownish head, and had a seductive smell to it. In fact, it was just OK. There didn't seem to be a whole lot of complexity to this beer, but it was a decent one to try.

I moved on from that to a bottle of De Dulle Teve Reserve. I've had the regular DDT before, but the Reserve did seem to have a little 'something extra'. Yep, this is a world-class beer and the Mad Bitch was fun to drink. A fairly golden cloudy brew with a Garden of Eden-like quality to the nose and palette, this was a beer to be respected and adored. And it was pretty strong. Like all things worthy of praise, you don't rush through it.

For my final beer of the night, I opted back to the draughts for a special selection indeed: Rodenbach Red. Yep, it's been years since I had one of these, and what a good choice to end the night. As a matter of fact, when I put in the order, Megan told me that they were "changing the keg". I guess just hearing that phrase warms me in anticipation. And I wasn't disappointed.

The spicy and sour bite to the beer, tempered by the conditioning in wood barrels, was such a delight. And, I believe this beer is relatively light on alcohol, so it was a nice come down from the strength of De Dulle Teve.

Yep, it was a nice night to get back to a long-lost friend, the HopLeaf. I'll be getting back there a bit more frequently if I can. And give the folks who run the bar a break: they're working hard to serve some of the best beers in the known universe to you. I think they're fantastic.

RedBaron, May 08, 2006
Photo of schenked
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%

I don't think words can adequately convey how much I love the Hopleaf. From the cozy, old-school bar feel to the beautiful line of exquisite taps to the oh-so-tasty mussles, it is just a place of wonder. They always have six Belgiums on tap with another host of American craft brews - Bell's, Dogfish head, Goose Island (typically one of their reserves such as Matilda), Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds, Sprecher, Allagash, etc., etc., etc. - on hand. The beers are rotated seasonally.The bottle list is long, filled with Belgiums, American Belgium-style beers and many, many others.

Then comes the food. If only all beer bars had such good foods. The mussles, steamed in seasonal brews, such as Oberon in the summer, are sweet and succulent. They make exceptional frittes. They just need to take the next step and begin pairing beers with foods on the menus, helping educate those that are not as tuned into the complexities of beers.

If you are in Chicago, and have a chance to stop by, I would highly recommend stepping in between 3 and 6 in the afternoon. It is at this slow time that the Hopleaf is essentially a laid back coffee house with beer. They only drawback to this plan is that food does not kick in until 5:00.

You owe it to your beer-loving self to stop by.

schenked, Apr 27, 2006
Photo of kdog630
4.64/5  rDev +4%

Hit this place just after it opened at 3 on a Monday. Two tables had people at them and a couple at the bar. Beertender waited patiently while I make a selection. About as many taps as I've seen in one place since the Gingerman in Houston.

This place didn't quite have the atmosphere of the Map Room. Larger windows let in a lot of light. I felt the selection was as good, if not better. Lots of Belgians available and the women in the bar were doing just that.

Didn't venture to the back rooms and the main bar itself was small looking. If I could have stayed longer to see the after work crowd, I would have. As it was, I was happy enough that it will be a regular stop when I'm in Chicago.

Picked up some glassware on the way out. Will definitely go again.

kdog630, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of TheLoneGunman
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

TheLoneGunman, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of sweethome
4.19/5  rDev -6.1%

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

sweethome, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of nortmand
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%

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.

nortmand, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of marburg
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%

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.

marburg, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of beerphilosopher
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%

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 ... ...

beerphilosopher, Oct 12, 2005
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

TurdFurgison, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of winpig3
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%

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.

winpig3, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of Engibeer
3.5/5  rDev -21.5%

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.

Engibeer, Jun 20, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

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!

francisweizen, May 31, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%

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.

meathookjones, May 24, 2005
Photo of Gaisgeil
3.96/5  rDev -11.2%

Stopped by on an extremely busy friday night during a recent trip to the city.

Now, I can certainly see the allure of this place, but it was quite honestly the busiest freakin' bar I've been to in a long, long time, people shoulder to shoulder. A large chalkboard with a very, very extensive tap list was hanging above the bar, too bad there were so many people there that you could barely get the bartender's attention. We ended up enjoying a Westy 8 in the hallway to the bathroom if that tells you anything. Everything was served in the right glassware which was a definate plus to be sure. The food, from what I could tell looked very tasty indeed, I'll have to try it next time I'm in town.

I can see how this place is a beer lover's paradise, but as it was it was just impossible to really enjoy the place as packed as it was. I was also quite annoyed that there wasn't even a waitlist for a table, it was basically a vulture style, jump on the table before anyone else did kind of thing, not kosher. The bartenders were as helpful as they could be under the circumstances, but beyond that people were just milling about the place, no real sense of order at all.

I'll be back when I'm in town again, I'm sure the experience will be a lot better on a less hectic day as it certainly appears the place is trying to foster an enviroment great beer truly deserves. Maybe they just need to work a little harder on their crowd control.

Slàinte!

Gaisgeil, May 24, 2005
Photo of daedalus
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%

Visited the Hopleaf on a recent trip to Chicago and was quite impressed with the beer selection and quality of food. I guess you could call it a little more intellectual than the Map Room, though I tend to prefer the more down to earth bars.

Our server in the elevated dining area was unfriendly and didn't offer any culinary suggestions. We just seemed to inconvenience her. My girlfriend and I split a duck confit and a chocolate raspberry truffle pie and both were excellent. After we moved to the bar, we found the bartenders to be much more considerate and accommodating.

The beer selection was exceptional and there were a few rare beers on draft. Any place that has Rogue Shakespeare Stout alongside Tripel Karmeliet gets an 'A' for selection in my book. Nearly all beer was served in the proper glassware (including the draft Kwak, which was served in the standard glass with accompanying wooden stand).

If you are in the Chicago area, I strongly recommend you stop in for a drink.

On a side note, the experience will be personally memorable, as it was at the Hopleaf that I first tried Westvleteren 12.

daedalus, May 11, 2005
Photo of zarathud23
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%

What can I say about The Hopleaf?

It is my 'local', so I am probably a bit biased. But I've hit all of the top ten bars in the "Beer Lover's Guide To Chicago" and in my opinion, only the Map Room is comparable when it comes to selection and atmosphere.

As noted in other reviews, The Hopleaf specializes in Belgians and American micros when it comes to the taps. There are about thirty, fairly evenly split between the two types. They rotate a fair amount, but not radically. You can count on Sprecher, a seasonal Goose Island, Three Floyds, Two Brothers, Bells and some west-coast, usually Anchor or Sierra Nevada. Recently they had Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye, but that didn't last very long! For Belgians, La Duchesse has been there for the last 9 months or longer, as has De Konnick, Kwack, Delerium Tremens and Tripel Karmeliet. St. Bernedus 12 comes and goes, and there is usually a kreik or lambic (they breifly had a Cantillon, I forget which but it was by far and away the most bitter unblended lambic I've ever had.)

The bottle selection, while still heavy on the Belgians and American micros, is huge, but doesn't seem to rotate much at all. Selections of British and German beers are limited- for the latter Rezi's is probably the place to go, anyway.

The food is fantastic- again, mainly Belgian in style, and many of the main courses incorporate beer, appropriately. One criticism might be that this is not a place for cheap eats, and I sometimes wonder how much the kitchen is really doing for the business overall. That said, the appetizers make a great addition to an evening of drinking there. My friend orders the freits everytime, mainly as a vehicle for the authentic Belgian-style mayo that comes with. Both the cheese platter and the sausage platter are satisfying, and the mussels are divine.

I feel the service is quite good, but I am sympathetic to reviewers who claim to have encountered an attitude- a few of the bartenders can be a bit on the snotty side, but I tend to think they probably deal with a fair number of people asking for a Miller Lite. That's no excuse (it's an opportunity!), but I can imagine that it leads to some defensiveness in some personalities. And snobbery works both ways as well- I learned pretty quick that a Kwack is probably just as well called a "Quack" as a "Kvahk" (yes, I speak some Dutch and lived there for a while, too.)

Overall, though, the Hopleaf draws a pretty lively and pleasant crowd- not quite as down-to-earth as The Map Room, but that probably reflects the location to some extent, too. Regardless, if you're thirsty for some fine Belgian brews, The Hopleaf is for you.

zarathud23, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -10.3%

If you want the hard to find beers, meads or European novelty this is the place to go. It has a nice storefront view with a wonderful long bar and tables or booths scattered about. Nice vintage posters on the walls and plenty of taps to keep you coming back.

These serve no American adjunct lagers but they are very kind to recommend something daring for the adjunct drinker. The taps are usually very exciting with Belgian beers that I never see in kegs. The bottle selection is always changing so they write it on a chalkboard on the wall. It is pretty easy to read by style so you know more or less what is in your interest.

The menu is unique with things like rabbit and mussels steamed in beer to the more typical beer battered fish. Good food but there are plenty of great places to eat close by and come to Hop Leaf for the beer.

This is a wonderful beer experience and I enjoy going back again and again. I have talked to some people who say they had a rude experience but in the 5+ years I have been there it is always a pleasure

rhoadsrage, Mar 24, 2005
Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
99 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.