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Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
99
world-class

306 Ratings
Ratings: 306
Reviews: 184
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: n/a
Taps: 68
Bottles: 350
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 306 | Reviews: 184 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of franksnbeans
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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

Photo of johnyeast
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
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 -10.7%
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 -2.9%
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 -29%
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 +1.1%
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 -0.2%
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 +7.1%
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 +0.4%
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 -0.7%
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.

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

Soper2000 had been going on and on about this place and the fantastic muscles they serve ever since we planned our beer trip to Chicago. I was glad to find that it certainly lived up to his recommendation. Coming from a city which has a pretty limited beer selection at most bars, the variety and selection was fantastic. The beers all tasted fresh and were served in the correct glassware, if not the glass from the actual brewery. Although it was relatively quiet when we arrived early afternoon, the place was standing room only by the time we left that evening. We sat at the bar which ensured prompt and attentive service, although the bartenders were not the most talkative bunch. We did share an order of muscles and, as Soper2000 had promised, they were the best I have ever had. Certainly a great beer destination, but I would strongly suggest coming in the early afternoon to avoid the loud and smoky crowd that seems to fill the place in the evening.

Photo of soper2000
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

**2/13/07**
Ahh, my return trip to the superb Hopleaf. I must admit that this bar was the impetus for flying a thousand miles to spend a weekend in temperatures 50 degrees lower than in my hometown. We arrived shortly after the opening time of 3 p.m. following a 6 dollar cab ride from the Goose Island Wrigleyville. Saddling up to the bar, I had to start formulating my plan of attack. I decided that by starting with low alcohol and matching every beer to a glass of water, I'd be ok.

First beer out of the gate was a Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. This beer is always a marvel when fresh and it did not disappoint. At this stage of the day the bar was nice and empty with maybe only about 8 people inside (3 of which were in my party), so service was nice and prompt although not very talkative (which can be a plus sometimes in my book). About 40 minutes later and I was ready for my second beer: 3 Floyd's Black Sun Stout. It was served on nitro but pleasant nonetheless. I followed that up with: a Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Rodenbach Grand Cru (very nice and accompanied with a split order of Mussels and frites), and a Saint Bernadus 12. All beers were served in appropriate glassware and service continued to beer very timely although the place was starting to crowd (standing room only) and it was now pushing 8 o'clock.

As we were feeling a wee bit lightheaded we caught a cab back to the downtown Rock Bottom (after waiting all of about 10 seconds outside). Our bar tab was far less than expected which is always a nice surprise.

The Hopleaf is absolutely a destination bar and I could've spent several more pints here if our hotel was a little bit closer. Beyond all doubts it's worth the ~20 dollar cab ride if you are staying near the loop. Great place, I'll be back.


** Original review 3-12-2005 - Original score 4.85**
Finally got to hit up the Hopleaf this past Wednesday. I was prepared for a little bit of a let down after reading reviews of spotty service, but thankfully the Hopleaf met all of my high expectations. Although the Hopleaf is quite a trek from downtown, it's easily accessable via the red line and the #55 bus (cabs take away from my beer fund). My non beer drinking girlfriend and I arrived absolutely starved at about 4:45. The backroom doesn't open up until 5 so we decided to stay in the bar area (which was free of smoke at this point) and I grabbed a pint of 3 Floyd's Brian Boru. Service at the bar was very prompt and friendly as there were only around 10 people in the bar. Grabbing my pint and heading back to a booth I noticed a lot of brewania on the walls, a few books and newspapers to read through and the immense chalkboard with bottle selections (look left when you enter). I love how every table had an updated draft selections card with small descriptions of the brews on-tap. Beers such as Duchesse De Bourgogne, St Bernadus abt 12, Bell's Double Cream Stout, Kwak, Delirium Tremens, Saison Dupont and many more were available. A lot of Belgian beer was on-tap as expected ,but I was surprised by the amount of non-Belgian beer as well.
5 o'clock approached and we were led into the non-smoking back room which was nice and airy and featured a wood burning furnace/fireplace. Our waitress was exceptional. Never had to wait for anything. Mussels and frites were excellent and very reasonably priced. We finally left several beers and glasses of wine later very content. I will definetly be back to the Hopleaf and it surely won't be soon enough.

Photo of
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in while on business in Chicago.

Atmosphere was nice, very low key, brick and wood interior. I suggest, if space available, going through bar area and getting a table in back. Additional tables upstairs.

Quality was fine, no issues with my two samples or my friend's IPA.

Service was prompt and friendly. They were doing construction that night, so no bottles were being served. I was less than excited by this, because I had specifically wanted to try the GI Bourbon. I ordered the Atomium, and begged the server to sneak me a bottle of GI. With very little fuss, a bottle appeared, and the server offered to buy my Atomium, since "I wouldn't have ordered it if I would have gotten the bottle in the first place". I said absolutely not, enjoyed both, and tipped well for the efforts. Service like that will bring you back.

Selection is very nice. Belgian focus, then a bit of everything. Check out their website for a complete listing. I enjoyed an Atomium and a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

Food was tasty as well. We had already eaten, but the frites and the boar stew were a nice finish.

They are a bit pricey, but the food and beer are quite good, the selection almost guarantees something for everyone, and I was highly impressed by the service. I would go back again in a heartbeat.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

It's just nice to know that places like the Hopleaf exist, even if it is so far away. A friend of mine took me there for the first time a few weeks ago, and let me just say that "wide-eyed" and "slack-jawed" don't even begin to express how excited I was when I saw the tap list.

I won't bother rattling off everything they had, because their website has the whole menu posted. I will tell you what I had: Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Allagash White, Hennepin, Black Sun Stout (all on tap!), and Vuuve. They were all served in the right glass, with a fair amount of head, and none too cold (though a few should have been a bit warmer). Prices were very decent, ranging from $4-8, though some of the bottles did run a bit expensive.

The food was excellent, too. I had their Wit-steamed mussels with herbs (delicious) and double-fried frites with garlic aioli (also delicious), and was very satisfied.

This bar has something for everyone, with a lot of really awesome, obscure stuff, yet the vibe is laid-back and boisterous. You won't be disappointed.

Full review at my blog: http://iamaviking.com/2007/01/11/the-hopleaf-%e3%82%b6%ef%bd%a5%e3%83%9b%e3%83%83%e3%83%97%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%95/

Photo of Fugazme
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Located in a great neighborhood... lots of shops and restaurants... a quick trip from downtown on the red line. Great directions on the website.

Arrived around 7pm on a Friday... place was extremely busy. Dinner was a two-hour wait so we didn't eat. Fairly small bar area. Tons of great beers on tap. Lots to choose from including many Belgian types... all fairly reasonable in price... and they have well-placed beer menus around the bar...

Service was great even though the girl in front of me was yelled at by the bartender... not sure what happened, but the woman said she was going to tell her friends "never to come here"... the bartender responded by saying, "Good... if they're like you then we don't F-ing want them here." Then she took my order with a smile.

I would love to go back and try the food... I saw some beautifully presented plates go by... it looked great.

Only drawbacks that I could see were the amount of space and it was quite smokey.

Photo of lpayette
4.86/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stopped here while in town for a business trip with a friend living in the area. It was a Sunday night and the place was packed. We were lucky enough to get seats at the bar, but I'd be afraid of trying to go here on a friday or saturday.

The selection was very well thought out with good offerings from around the country and around the world. Plenty of rare and more expensive things too. An excellent representation of belgian beers in particular. The beer menu is broken down well and has good, accurate descriptions of each beer. Very impressive and professional looking.

The service was also much better than most bars I've been to in recent memory... but perhaps that's because we had good seats and were buying $20 bottles of beer too... anyway, on this occassion, the bartenders were quite attentive.

This place was a bit pricey, but not all that unreasonable when you look at the prices of some of these beers in stores.

Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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

Photo of RedBeerchetta
4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

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.

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.76/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of jdoherty
3.65/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

Photo of mmcave
4.13/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

Photo of woodychandler
3.86/5  rDev -13.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of malcontent
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 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.

Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
99 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.