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Hopleaf

Not Rated.
HopleafHopleaf
BA SCORE
99
world-class

299 Ratings
Ratings: 299
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 10.07%
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: 299 | Reviews: 183 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Having done our thing at Rock Bottom, we're heading back to the hotel when I call a call from Mark (the Connecticut kid), all lost, he, Geoffe and Mike. "We just passed Rock Bottom and...". "What? I just left there. Turn around and go back to Rock Bottom, we'll meet you there". So much for heading back to the hotel, we're cabbing it to Hopleaf...
It's a good room, with a "C" shaped bar seating upwards of a dozen and a half, 4 booths, and a half dozen tables here and there. Walls are wood lowers with beige uppers, pressed tin ceiling, drop lighting and ceiling fans, a large mirrored back bar, wood units, a great glassware rack taking up a good piece of wall space to the rear, and beer signs and foreign booze prints throughout. Three blackboards overhead list the gigantic bottled selection, with it's primary focus on Belgians, Belgians, Belgians.
30 taps, 3 towers pouring 10 a piece. Roughly a third of them Belgian (DeKoninck, Liefman's Framboise, St. B 12, Delirium Tremons, Leffe, Duchess, Kwak, Scaldis, Avec Les Bons Voeux, Tripel Karmeliet) and the other 2/3 are primarily American micros (4 Bells, Summit, Two Brothers, 3 Floyds, Great Lakes, Sprecher, Goose Island, 3 Sierra Nevadas, Anchor, Allagash, Dogfish Head, Victory). A nice showcase of micros, regional and beyond.
There's a back room with a dozen tables. It's all brick with high ceilings, a wood stove and wine racks. A mezzanine seating area above overlooks this room and there's also a 2nd floor party room.
Good service, good crowd (I was hanging barside with the Shelton rep and the drinking & writing kid). I would've liked to have had more time here to really take in that bottled list.

Photo of emerge077
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

2012: New remodel, much more space. A true beer mecca in Chicago... try it again, you won't be disappointed. Many unusual beers, some only found here. Menu is as good as ever also. My main gripe about the crowds in the past wasn't a problem recently. Hopleaf is truly a Chicago institution.

http://chicago.eater.com/archives/2012/04/09/getting-to-know-the-hopleaf-through-its-regulars.php

03-30-2008

#1.) If you go on friday or saturday night, expect to wait. Don't complain on BA you had to wait for a table, or wait for service when you go at peak hours when everyone else does.

#2.) No table service in the front bar area either, order from the bar. During the week it happens to be a fine place to relax with a great taplist, definitely unmatched in the area. Best Belgian selection in the city.

I've been here over a dozen times, and will keep going back. It's not my 1st choice beer bar in the city, but it can be very cozy at the right time of day (early and late, weeknights), and they do have an amazing collection of breweriana throughout the place.

Hopleaf definitely is #1 for Belgian food and beer pairing, which is it's most unique aspect. The bottle selection is broad and especially deep if you are into Trappists, Saison, Gueuze, and other Belgian specialties. They are pretty well rounded for craft brew options, and other top quality imports as well. The US craft leans toward Belgian-style offerings such as Allagash, Ommegang, even a couple from Jolly Pumpkin. Their bottle menu is very well laid out into clear sections, with descriptions for each entry. Be sure to ask for the list if you are at the bar. My value rating reflects the high markup on 750s (3F for $45) and some high entree prices. Tap selections are about 80% standards, with roating seasonals, and specialties now and then.

Service at the bar has always been friendly, the same 3 bartenders for over a year now have always been quick and attentive even when under pressure. Table service may vary, but is usually adequate. Glassware is emphasized here, it never fails that there is a Kwak being poured here daily/hourly into it's ridiculous glass :)

The food is pretty good, the sandwiches and salads are the best value. The menu occasionally has seasonal specials. Quality is good, but be prepared to pay plenty for the entrees. Mussels and salty frites are fun now and then. The sausage & cheese plates are a favorite.

Really the only reason I tend not to go here more often are the crowds. It's popular among the trendy/foodie/yupster crowd, and practically every night it's packed to the gills. Almost every time someone is ordering Stella and asking why they don't carry it. Sometimes the crowd seems like they just got off a tour bus and treat the place like some precious novelty. In other words, not a beer geek crowd by any means. End rant. Go during the week, or late afternoon/late evening on weekends (hit or miss).

They host great beer events on occasion, such as release parties for Surly, Dark Horse, Lost Abbey, and a special tapping of unblended Lambic from Boon last year that was intimate and really fantastic.

All in all, a great concept here, and well-worth the experience.

Photo of woodychandler
3.86/5  rDev -13.6%
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 TurdFurgison
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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.

Photo of Yetiman420
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

My wife and I made a stop at Hopleaf prior to dinner on a Saturday evening the first week of December. Based on other reviews, I was expecting the worst in terms of a crowd. We arrived a little before 7 and while it was crowded, it turned out that many people at the front bar were waiting for tables so we eventually got a seat (and then a table) in the front bar area. The rear bar opened around 7:30 and you'll know it's open because of a red neon sign over the entryway to the back of the restauarant. We stuck with beers and it appeared the mussels were very popular. We did the Map Room twice on this visit (before and after a concert at a venue around the corner from the Map Room) and we give the Hopleaf a slight advantage over the Map Room because it's nicer, in a *better* nerighborhood, and cleaner. Better is a subjective term - there was much more going on around Clark street by the Hopleaf. Both places have a world-class beer selection and are worth the visit. Hopleaf has the Belgian Flemish sour brewed for Monks in Philly which I thought was cool. We also learned Chicago will go smoke free Jan. 1 of '08. I can't wait!!!

Photo of dirtylou
4.38/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I finally made it into Hopleaf...I grew up in the Chicago area (grant it, pre-beer times), live in Madison, and spend at least 10% of my year in Chicago but have never been to this bar.

I guess the main reason for this is that it's a neighborhood joint and it's in a neighborhood that isnt really that close to anywhere i spend time...its a hike from downtown (a bit north of wrigley even) and is a good 6 miles off the interstate.

That said, it's easy to find...take the lawrence avenue exit off of i-90 if driving, and hang a left on clark street and you're there. parking is pretty easy with metered spots and free street parking in the area

the taps are extensive (40-50ish) and so are the bottles, with a strong focus on belgians. theres no point in me listing them here - just go to www.hopleaf.com for up-to-date beer and food menus

service was just fine...food was served promptly

i found the selection to be nice and interesting but there wasnt anything on tap that just knocked be backwards

the food was fantastic...i had muscles and frites (belgian style of course). This was a fantastic dish for 11$ (the frites were damn amazing). There was also dishes featuring duck, rabbit, and other french/belgian staples that all looked great.

prices were on the high end of fair (5-7 per tap, but given the quality and imported nature, this was no biggie). No macros present whatsoever

cool joint for sure...the food presence really makes this worth the stop.

once you get past the fascist doorguys (every bar in chicago would card a 114 year old woman if she tried to enter), the interior is quaint and wooden with plenty of restaurant space and some outdoor space for smokers

Photo of yemenmocha
4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

Visited on Saturday afternoon right at the opening. Quiet place with amazing selection on draft, and bottles were quite nice as well.

Too many servers on staff, so they ended up talking to each other rather than give great service, but the service was tolerable so I didn't complain.

Typical beer bar atmosphere.

Did not sample the food so I cannot comment here. Several good Med restaurants nearby.

Hopleaf is always on my list for "must see" places when I visit Chicago periodically. Daytime patronage is recommended for getting the most out of your beer tasting here.

Photo of Redrover
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I have always liked this bar. Even in the early 1990s, They were bringing in beers that that few folks had seen.

The selection is great, they have knowledgeable servers and the crowd is friendly. What more can you ask for?? This is a beer lover’s bar and you can get some truly interesting beers here.

It is a little off the beaten path (for some people), but it is well worth the journey. This is a nice place to spend an afternoon or evening, you will not be disappointed!

Tends to get very crowded, so go early or at off hours to avoid the crowds.

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

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!

Photo of spycow
4.2/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I went to Hopleaf for the first time last night. I've heard so many stories about it over the last couple of weeks I had to make my way there this weekend. The atmosphere was typical of a North Chicago bar focused on beer. With over 40 beers on tap from Belgian favorites and specialities to local favorites provides quite a variety for the beer connoisseur. In addition they carry over 250 beers in bottles again with a focus on Belgain styles of all kinds. The staff is extremely knowledgeable of beer and can help match up a beer to an individual's taste. In addition, they have the beer glass collection to match many of the Belgian favorites.

The food is also unbelievable. They specialize in Belgian fare from their appetizers to desserts. Mussels is their speciality served for one or two people with bread, frites, and aioli.

We arrived around 8:30 on a Friday night and the bar was already packed. The wait for dinner was up to 2 hours but worth it. From my understanding this is not uncommon due to the high demand for the food, beers, and the service.

I wish I would have found this place sooner especially with my love of Belgian beers and mussels! A place I will be frequenting often with friends. Highly recommended for any connoisseur of Belgian beers.

BTW - They carry Leffe Brune on tap as well. In traveling all over the US, this is first bar or store I've found that serves or sells Leffe Brune. Always can find the Blonde but never the Brune. Only place I've ever drank it was in Europe on many visits.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of spointon
5/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I have only visited the Hopleaf once (it is WAY north on Clark Street) but I was very impressed with that visit.

The main bar room is not very big and is dominated by the bar and all of the empty bottles covering the walls indicating what beers they have in bottles. For the size of the bar, there are a staggering number of beers available in bottles and the draft beer list is quite good too. My tastes run toward Belgian ales and the Hopleaf did not dissappoint me. I saw almost every Belgian ale I have ever had and a few I had never heard of in this place...

While I didn't have any of the food on my visit, I was sitting next to others enjoying mussels and pomme frite which looked and smelled delicious.

Service was solid and the prices were fair for the quality and rarity of many of the beers available. Definitely on par with the Map Room for a fantastic Chicago beer destination!

Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

In an obviously alternative part of the town. Walking from here to the Red Line is then a more questionalbe part. A little small, a little crowded. This has the most impressive selection of Belgians I've seen. Unfortunately, I could care less about Belgians. Good selection of others, locals and hard to find out of state, like Surly. Seasonal nature lended toward summer brews, so many lighter styles not all that different from the large Belgian selection. Didn't have any food, looked rather unique/trendy. Prices were fine for Chicago. Service was good and knowledgeable. Worth visiting, but if you have some conservative friends the area may not be to their liking.

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

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

Photo of msubulldog25
4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A couple hours hanging out, starting around 5pm...20 April, 2010.

After a stop up the street at Charlie's for a couple pints and some gut-filling grub, we worked our way back to Hopleaf, our main reason for the unplanned jaunt into Andersonville. Housed in an unassuming mid-block two-storied brick building, Hopleaf opens into a cozy daylit room with warm, dark floors and a stout wooden bar to the left. Vintage bier and liquor signage covers two walls; the third is concealed behind the bars backdrop and a row-upon-row collection of empty bottles that showcases the dozens, nay hundreds, of domestic and international offerings. Seating is mostly at squat tables; a few booths line the right wall and 10 or so stools line a bar (kept on this day by the affable and capable 'Slim') surrounded by clusters of tap handles.

We chose a table for two right in the front of the bar, tucked into the front nook just left of the door. Those shelves of empties hovered ominously above my head; I tempted fate every time I stood, since an inebriated misstep could have sent the whole thing crashing down. From the list of 50+ taps and 16 pages of bottles (pints/bottles generally $4-6 to start, more for rare/vintage) we ordered a first round consisting of a pint of the Two Brothers Long Haul (a very tasty dark mild/session ale) for me and a hefty goblet of Tripel Karmeliet (proper glassware) for the lady. As we reflected on the excellence of the day and the wonderful vibe of the place and neighborhood (touristy camera shots and facebook updates ensued...), we started to get hungry. When I ordered my second round (a Goose Island 'Green Line' - a draft only local; also sampled the robust and fruity Metropolitan Alt), we added a pot of steaming Belgian Mussels. They were a bit on the small side, but were tasty enough and swimming in a divine witbier-based broth.

Twice we had reason to check out the rest of the facilities (i.e. bathrooms, unremarkable but for a low-ceilinged approach down the stairs to the basement - watch your head!); the spacious back room, full of light and surrounded by high brick walls filled up by 6pm. An overlooking balcony was stuffed, too, and an unoccupied but at-the-ready secondary dining room/bar looked to be just as inviting as the rooms downstairs.

After 2+ hours, we figured it was time to depart for dinner, but not before partaking of the magical elixir that is Surly Four. My review will support the fact that this was among the finest beers either of us has tasted in a very long time. A terrific way to end our time at a bar we thoroughly enjoyed and would love to re-visit. Any plans to open a Hopleaf in Portland??? :)

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

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

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.78/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

*** ONE OF THE TOP BEER BARS IN THE USA ***

Hit the HopLeaf after a $50 cab ride from Midway where the cab driver had to stop for gas and offerd us a Chinese hooker connection. HopLeaf has killer "gourmet bar food" if that exists.

Our bartenders could not have been more knowledgeable and friendly. I did not know that existed either, ha!

Had an Atomium and a hoppy Belgian IPA. Mad wicked props for their PROPER glassware and they ran around like maniacs keeping them washed and clean. Points for a beer menu, also.

Beers are mostly on the Belgian side. I'd like to see more domestic brews myself, but I ain't complainin'.

Food? Killer! Ihad the CB&J sandwich. Cashew butter & jelly! It was fried and good with home made chips. $10 and I couldn't finish it.

Could you take Mom here? Yes. It is clean and comfy. I also bought a black golf shirt with the logo for $20.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of TheRealPour
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.13/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Went to this place for the first time in December after hearing many good things about it. My wife had been there beffore and likes it better than the Map Room, so I was excited to give it a try. It's a good bit further out from downtown than the Map Room is, but its in a nice neighborhood and the place itself is quite a bit bigger and nicer inside than the Map Room. Don't get me wrong, this place is no fern bar, and I don't mind a little grunge- what I mean is that this place seems more comfortable than the Map Room while still having a lot of character. Nice long bar, lots of booths and tables, relatively open and spacious, and a nice back dining room with plenty of tables as well as a nice little upstairs area in back. It was cold so I didn't look, but there might have beeen a patio out back as well. We were there for drrinks at the bar 1st, followed by dinner in the back. We got there early enough that there was no problem finding stools up front or a table in the back, even on a weekend. The pourers up front were knowledgeable and friendly. The tap list was good, with lots of interesting regionals and Belgians, but I thought it slightly weaker than the Map Room's. Everything was fresh and served correctly.

We were really looking forward to dinner in the back, but I have to say that I was unimpressed. First, everything is quite pricey, especially the specials. Second, our dining partners, who are vegetarian, commented that for a year now they have had the same 1 vegetarian entree/sandwich on the menu and that they were going to be bummed if it was still the only substantial vegetarian offering. Sure enough, there it was. They had to make due with various appetizers. Third, my wife ordered one of the specials that evening, the skate. It was spoiled and smelled like ammonia yet was still served. Thee kitchen did the right thing and comped that dish- but they could have done more and comped the table the meal, if not the beers- spoiled seafood is no laughing matter. Lastly, my special of Venison Osobuco, while sounding good, was terrible. Gristly, fatty, and with a sauce that had been thickened like a gravy with flour or cornstarch instead of a reduction- and it was something like $22. My fault for believing all the reviews and treating this place like some species of gastropub- its not, but the kitchen is overambitious and thinks it is. Stick to something simple and you'll be fine. I'd say stick to the mussels, but after the skate experience I don't trust them with seafood.

Even though our dinner was a bit grim, the place overall is quite nice and a great place to go have a brew. I'd be more interested in the extensive Belgian list if I was a local- I can get the same back home at the Brick Store. The local options weree nice, but I ran dry of stuff on tap I hadn't had before after a couple of beers. I give an edge to the Map Room as far as beer selection goes, but this place is overall a nicer place to visit- but then again, its all about the beer isn't it?

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here on a minor pre-wedding pub crawl. I've only heard glowing compliments, so expectations were high.

The place, at least the front area, seems somewhat small, but, for once, the word cozy could be used without being a euphemism for cramped. It's lit well enough to escape dimness, but not so much to be called bright. Nice. As I am wont to do, I went right for the bar. Being fairly early in the afternoon, I wasn't surprised that the place was nowhere near full. The bartender was friendly, prompt, and definitely seemed to know her stuff (I overheard her making recommendations to others at the bar). The selection is decidedly Belgian-heavy, though local and other miscellaneous stuff remains plentiful as well. While perusing the tap list I noticed many offerings not available anywhere else (or, at least, not yet, anyway). Always nice. I was offered tastes of anything I was on the fence about, which helped make my usually-poor decision-making a much easier task. Proper glassware was always employed. Prices were not higher or lower in any appreciable sense from other places in the City. I didn't try any of the food, nor did I even look at a menu, but I've heard great things. Maybe next time...

And, trust me, there will be a next time. This place lived up the praise. 'Nuff said.

Photo of jrallen34
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I finally made it up North to check this place out. On a Sunday night it was super crowded, had to wait 45 minutes for a table. Cool atmosphere really reminds me of a euro pub. Chill place, cool people. Easy place to hang out...On to the beer, there are some plusses and minuses for sure. On the plus side, great selection, roughly 40 taps and probably 200 bottles. The menu is awesome. Its informative for a novice, and put set up nicely separating by country and style. Most styles were repressented. They also had some super rare stuff that I've never heard of or rarely seen. On the minus side, firstly it was overpriced. Most expensive beer bar I've been to by far. The selection is wide but its almost a little generic. Its dominated mostly by bottles from semi big craft breweries, and there more common offerings. Not a ton of rare or hard to find beers so a little disappointing. If i can get it at the store, that's not rare to me. Service was decent but the waitress didn't seem to know a ton about beer...The food is really good, not typical bar food at all.

Overall, this is a place worth checking out, but not a mainstay hang out. Way to expensive and not enough rare offerings to top the Map Room.

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.18/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Wow, what a treat. Had been turned onto this place by numerous people through out the Chicago area, so I had to make the stop.

First of all, we came here for the beer. We heard they had Angels Share on tap, so it was worth the cab ride to get there, and get home safely. The Angels Share (Brandy barrel) was fantastic, and not overly priced. It was a small sized glass, 6 oz. for four dollars. I wont argue with that. They had some really nice sours on tap, and some other greats in the bottle. Not an overwhelming huge selection of tap beers (quite a few), or bottle beers, but concise and quality. Some real thought went into what to carry and what not to carry.

We sat in the loft style upstairs, over looking the dining room below us. Busy, busy place. We were seated right away, and was happy to be upstairs rather than down. We had a nice lil corner table, out of the way, where we could discuss our beer and food, and not feel like we were in the way.

We had the charcuterie sampler, and it was fanstic. The food was a bit pricey. The tap beers seemed moderately to a bit over priced, but they can get away with because of the selection. I will return for sure. I was very happy with the beer, and the food. A must see in Chicago.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
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 Sparky44
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

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Hopleaf in Chicago, IL
99 out of 100 based on 299 ratings.