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Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
98
world-class

268 Ratings
Ratings: 268
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 10.11%
Taps: 68
Bottles: 350
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 268 | Reviews: 179 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of patdunkel
2/5  rDev -55.1%

patdunkel, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of Davidpgibbons
2.25/5  rDev -49.4%

First off its a little pricey and there decent drafts are always out during the weekends. Ive had a couple bad experiences with the service but it was during a busy time. Another sorta lame thing is they dont open until 4 pm everyday! What kind of craft beer bar opens only latenight! I like to grab a few for breakfast! The food is damn good but also over priced, they do have a sweet hop vine wrapped around the back bar. Overall its an alright bar if you wanna wait 15 min to grab a beer and seat and pay up the asss for it

Davidpgibbons, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of bcook582
2.5/5  rDev -43.8%

bcook582, Jun 25, 2014
Photo of HopsMatt
2.85/5  rDev -36%

Average tap selections were priced reasonable. Anything limited on the menu was not available. Anything interesting was so inflated it was stupid. $75 for a 3F Schaerbeekse Kriek? Are you insane?

We waited about an hour but it was Friday. Whatever. What really pissed me off was the service. Our waitress had an attitude and decided to be a general bitch the entire night. She had no personality to speak of. She came to the table, said two words and vanished. I had been rather excited to try this place but after my experience with her as a waitress, I will never be back. There are way too many better bars to spend my money in than waste my time here. You're better off avoiding this place in favor of an establishment that treats its customers as if they want them to return.

HopsMatt, Feb 20, 2013
Photo of StoneTSR
3/5  rDev -32.6%

This is the most pretentious beer bar you will find in the great State of Illinois. The service is wrectched and sitting in the bar during prime hours is nearly impossible because it is so packed. In fact, before I lost 45 pounds I was literally incapable of sitting at most of their tables in the main bar. It was simply too tight of a squeeze.

What keeps people coming back, however, is the buzz and the beer. The selection is incredible and it is far and away the most well-known beer bar on the North Side. So you look cool for knowing about it.

What really bothers me about this place is the bartenders. I am one myself and so I know how to treat them, I understand their plight and I have the utmost respect for them. Sadly, they do not return that favor. Even a fairly well educated beer geek like myself is made to feel like a moron for asking any question about any of the beer, which is a shame.

If you know what you want, and you can't find it elsewhere, check out the Hopleaf. If you want to learn about beer and explore, find another place with a smaller selection, but a more helpful staff. There are plenty of other spots in Chicago.

StoneTSR, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of dreadnatty08
3.18/5  rDev -28.5%

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.

dreadnatty08, Mar 25, 2007
Photo of Eldalonde
3.38/5  rDev -24%

We were here on a Friday night around 7 pm. Wow, this place was packed. 1 1/2 hr. wait for food - no thanks. However, I was really hoping to eat there. It was very loud, which, again, it was packed, which made it hard to even have a conversation. However, if the crowd was half the size it was, I would have probably really enjoyed this place. Their tap list was large, but nothing too special and their bottle list was pretty nice. Prices were a bit high for what can be had at other nearby locations. I’d recommend them on a week day afternoon to avoid the ridiculous crowd. However, I doubt that I'll be making any effort to go back. Irregardless of the crowd, the prices and the lack of an exciting list of beers turned this one into a bit of a dud for me. Not bad, but not great either.

Eldalonde, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.43/5  rDev -22.9%

The bottle list is about 80% or more the same as the Belgian bar I worked in Philly. That is to say, for a Belgo-centric bar and beer selection, it has most if not all of the minimum of what should be there. The other 20% being whatever local selections they had.

I visited on a Wednesday toward the end of July. Pretty hip, lively atmosphere. Jazz playing. Seems like a majority of the decor and design in the main front room has a bit of a 40s(?), maybe French/Euro cafe or soda-fountain/drug-store look and vibe. The back of the bar looks genuinely antique, art deco-ish - has some hard wear on the flat-tops flanking the register in the middle. The whole inner bar rail is drain gates - love it!

There's also a sizable back room (that was devoid of people when I was there) and multiple staircases and hallways going down to the toilets. Got a little lost. The whole place was fairly tidy and had an generations-old feel to it that I dig.

Seems like they would also feature a small, decent cocktail list, but I somehow doubt they do. Not that that's pertinent to the review here. Had a Dupont draft, poured flat, right to the top in a footed goblet. I do enjoy head...

Not sold on the quality of personality in the staff though - a bit aloof, a bit like they were 'doing their job' or they either didn't care for the crowd or wanted to be elsewhere. I have days like that myself.

Nothing about this place that would make me want to revisit. Not even the odd, rare draft. I found their draft list extensive, but rather unexciting. But, like I said, I'm quite familiar with all the Belgian bars in Philly, so Hopleaf offered me nothing new.

Bouleboubier, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of Engibeer
3.5/5  rDev -21.3%

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 sarahspat
3.63/5  rDev -18.4%

I have been here a few times now and it has ALWAYS been crammed to capacity with human bodies, which I do not care for. Yes, they have a large selection of ales and lagers from which to sample, but the fact that I can never get a seat leaves me with a feeling of indifference regarding the question of whether I will ever return. Granted, there are worse things in the world than having to stand while you enjoy your beer, but there is no good place for that either. No matter where you go, you feel like you're in someone's way. And what's even more absurd is that there are multiple rooms and levels in the bar... and it's STILL crammed to capacity. I think they should let people on the roof.

The beers I've had here have been good, but not better than any other bar. The bigger selection is good only if you want something special that you can't get anywhere else and you know beforehand that they will have it on a particular night. Otherwise, the kind beers that I select will probably not lead to a radically different experience than they would at any other bar.

And it is definitely one of the more expensive beer bars I've been to.

sarahspat, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of rgctlc
3.63/5  rDev -18.4%

Hit Hopleaf at abt 5pm on a Sunday evening after a day of shopping, eating, drinking and other. Found the last 2 open seats at the bar and started looking over the beer list. My GF had the Lost Abbey Devotionale and the Oud Beersel Framboise and I had the Port Brewing Hop 15 and Sierra Nevada Trippel(!!??!!)..all were on tap and served in proper glasswear. We had the cheese sampler and the frites, both of which were perfectly fine. I recommend with reservations b/c the bartender did not seem particularly happy to be there. We left before we would have normally because we did not feel welcomed. A great place but we'll spend our hard earned $$ elsewhere, thank you.

rgctlc, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of jdoherty
3.65/5  rDev -18%

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

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

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

jdoherty, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of FATKIDREVOLUTION
3.73/5  rDev -16.2%

The Hopleaf resides in a pretty hip and upcoing part of town called Anderson Ville. The people are nice and the environment friendly. Rustic look and feel with pretty close knit quarters, although the place is 2 floors, one will get friendly with their neighbor while dining.
Tap selection is always large and vast. From Local Craft to European selections.
Parking is daunting and the wait can be long to sit, eat and have a few drinks but worth it. Food is good if not a tad a pricey. Best described as Euro style gastro pub ? Meaning, fancy meats and breads for a pretty penny. Worth a stop.

FATKIDREVOLUTION, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of leprechaunandfatman
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

leprechaunandfatman, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of cathomae
3.75/5  rDev -15.7%

cathomae, May 31, 2014
Photo of goodbyeohio
3.76/5  rDev -15.5%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

goodbyeohio, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of n8marks
3.8/5  rDev -14.6%

this place is loud, crowded and the food is overly pretentious. the first two aren't a problem, but the only thing in the world i am even the slightly pretentious about is beer. so next time i will eat somewhere else, and only order an ale or three here.

the atmosphere is loud--lots of people having lots of conversation. this is not the place for an intimate time. but great for laughing with friends.

tuesday at 7 p.m. and not a single open spot in the bar--but only 15 minute wait for a table.

food was not the kind of food i like with my beer. if you are a gourmand then this place might be to your liking, if you like a burger with your beer, try kuma's.

n8marks, Oct 25, 2008
Photo of Shakujin
3.85/5  rDev -13.5%

I went to the back room so this review only applies to that area, not the bar area.

Atmosphere: Nice big room, high celling, brick, fireplace.

Quality: Food menu had some interesting items, a bit on the heavy side, and not particularly well prepared though. Beer was fine, served far too cold though.

Service: Standard service really, no problems.

Selection: Beers split between American craft and belgian beers, quite expansive menu

Overall: Good Chicago location for a decent dinner with a quality beer.

Shakujin, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of SportsandJorts
3.86/5  rDev -13.3%

Atmosphere: nothing to special here. mostly has the feel of a fancy restaurant.

Quality: fairly good to great quality but I would assume this isn't too out of the ordinary in Chicago.

Service: good service, didn't need much help making my selections but he was there when needed and fairly quick

Selection: pretty good selection, I'd hope for nothing less with the distro and quantity that chicago gets. I had zombie dust and heart of gold from perenial. it didn't look like the most rare and unique beer but there was a good variety

Food: very good, probably the highlight, I had good mussels and some tasty fries

Overall: if your in the mood for mussels and beer you can't go wrong. Definitely worth a shot but unlikely to be the very best of chicago

SportsandJorts, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of woodychandler
3.86/5  rDev -13.3%

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

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

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

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

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

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

woodychandler, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of beertooth
3.88/5  rDev -12.8%

I've had some mixed experiences here. I've been rushed out after having dinner with my girlfriend so they could make room for other patrons. I've had completely rotten beer given to me as well.

The vibe is usually very laid back when I go during the week before the 6 o'clock rush. Don't even bother coming here on a weekend night, trust me. Front of the house has tons of natural night, which I like. The layout and crowd on Friday and Saturday nights makes it very hard to order your beer.

Service is hit or miss. You'll get better service at the bar and in the front. Most bartenders are friendly, some servers are jerks. Some bartenders know their beer and others don't know a porter from a brown ale.

I love the food, but it is a bit on the pricey side. I usually stick to the sandwiches and frites. Pricey yes, but worth it.

The beer selection is great if you love Belgians. The bottle list is impressive and they have a vast amount of taps with a healthy mix of American, Belgian, and some English beers on tap. It seems they have a ton of stand by brews which never change which I am indifferent about.

I like the Hopleaf a lot, but as far as the two well known beer bars in this city goes I'll have to stick with the other bar. Go during the day, the kitchen opens at 5 so It's best to get there beforehand. Avoid it on the weekends.

beertooth, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of Wheelinb
3.93/5  rDev -11.7%

In town visiting and had to check this place out. We had heard about the selection and was happy to see that it was as great a we heard. We hit the place on a Friday around happy hour and after a Cubs game so it was really crowded which contributes to the low service rating o it may not be a very fair assessment. We will have to come back another time.

We found the guys behind the bar to be very knowledgeable. Lots of bottles to choose from. We did not try the food but the menu looked cool. We will be back sometime.

Wheelinb, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of GreenWBush
3.93/5  rDev -11.7%

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 jim102864
3.93/5  rDev -11.7%

Literally a plane, train and an automobile to get to this place two weeks ago at 6:30 while on business travel. Single digit temps and a good stiff wind which sucks the life out of you if you're outdoors requires beer to sooth the soul. Enter Hopleaf. Three Floyds Alpha King on tap becomes my first pint. Lots of 20 and some 30 somethings upon my arrival. Brazenly asked for a pen from the little snit waitress picking up an order at the bar.  Who says they're not friendly in Chicago? I note a few beatnick wannabes with their little goatees and funky nit caps. Very quaint.  Interesting tin ceilling and 30's era jazz on the stereo. Sizeable bar seats around 25 or so. The rear dining room has nice high ceilings with brick walls all around.  A pleasant, chesty broad behind the bar smiles and is chatty, unlike some of the patrons. Belgian tin signs adorn the walls. There's a wall of block glass behind shelves of proper glassware. The place slowly fills up at the bar. I am an ancient among yuppies and college students. No flat screen is mildly dissapointing.

Very pricy and minimalist food menu with the usual suspects a la frittes, mussels, etc, found in every big city Belgian bar. I ordered the beef stew which comes out luke warm. I tell the bar tender, he sends it back. Literally a minute later he returns with...semi-hot stew. And $19 bucks is fucking ridiculous!

Onto the bells double cream stout--- mildly chewy and chocolatey and malty. Slight hint of cofee espresso. Oooh. A find: Bells Third Coast Old Ale. A barleywine with a sweet yet brandy like flavor. 10.2 abv didn't hurt either. Followed with a well topped off St. Bernardus Abt 12 in proper glassware. I learned that girls use the c word from a convo I overheard betwixt two chix sitting next to me. Nice.

Triple Karmilet in a beautiful flour de lais stemmed tulip glass. Finished with a La Chouffe Houblon bottle.

This is a solid bar and worth a visit. Very young crowd and stay away from the bar if it's the dead of winter as you'll feel the breeze every time a patron enters.

jim102864, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of organicbrewer
3.95/5  rDev -11.2%

Finally made it out to Chicago and the Hopleaf. Front room is really cool rickety looking wood tables and chairs and a cool bar along the left. We went to the back so we could have table service...which might have been a mistake.
The food and beer was topnotch. Best mussels I've had EVER! Beer was awesome too! Cantillion and other rare treats on tap. Bottle list was also impressive. Everything served properly and fresh.
Though the beer focus was on Belgians, there was enough variety if that isn't your bag. Got Lou Pepe Kriek and Angels Share on tap.
My only complaint is the service which was HORRIBLE. Took almost 10 minutes after seating to get someone over. Every time I wanted a refill I would have to wait a couple of minutes, and then flag someone over. It seemed like I was bothering the server. Check was slammed down on the table without so much as a thank you or enjoy or anything.
Such a great place, I mean everything minus the service was top notch, but the service killed it.

organicbrewer, Jun 01, 2010
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Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
98 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.