Small Bar


14 Reviews
Small BarSmall Bar

Type: Bar, Eatery

2956 N Albany Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60618-7607
United States

(773) 509-9888 | map

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Added by beerinator on 04-05-2005

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Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 32
Photo of TheMarkE
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This corner hole-in-the-wall neighborhood bar has one of the best beer selections I've seen. A knowledgeable staff help guide you through the many brews on hand, including an impressive pick of local beer on tap.

If I lived anywhere nearby, I would be a regular.

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Photo of HOPSareKey
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

definitely a small bar ;) was here during abraxas release and had 13, 14, and vanilla abraxas on tap so you cant argue with that. barkeep was most accommodating to our group. will return.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Fantastic local beer bar. Small Bar has excellent, knowledgable servers along with an ever rotating, extensive draft and bottle selection. Expect to see the taps change during the course of a night, with regular tappings of great local breweries such as FFF, Solemn Oath and Revolution along with the best of the US and further afield. Bar food is great - good burgers, cheese curds and mac and cheese on offer to offset the beers you will enjoy. A local favorite.

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Photo of teledeluxe
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Great little neighborhood bar. While their tap offering and menu are both smaller than the Division location, I prefer this one. Less bros. Plus they have a small beer garden. Negative points for actually being so small it's not always easy getting a place to sit or even stand on the weekends.

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Photo of KVota
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is my favorite bar in all of Chicago. Food is good for bar food and they've got food specials most nights of the week. Staff is super friendly and they remember the neighbors and regulars. But the Beer!! If you love beer, you should come here.

Parker, who runs the place, is a serious beer snob, and the selection shows it. Probably the best and most diverse beer selection I've had at a bar so far in this city. At any point in time, there's a little of everything on tap, taking account of seasonal preferences. There's 10-15 beers on tap at a time and a bottle selection that's killer. All craft brews all the time (though they might have a few cans of PBR for people who don't care what they're drinking). My favorite part is that everything is changing all the time. From week to week (or even day to day if it's popular), the draft list is completely different, though there's usually at least one beer from each of the major local breweries, and the bottle selection tends to change aprox. month to month with a few standards staying constant. The prices range from reasonable to expensive, but then that's the range of beers they've got. I think the most I've paid for a beer on draft was $14 for the anniversary bourbon barrel aged Old Rasputin. Probably the most delicious stout I've ever tasted, with an ABV of 12% before bourbon aging.

It gets pretty noisy in the evening, so if you like to go to a bar that's a bit quieter and enjoy your tasty beer, go before 730.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place was the last stop on my latest Chi-Town excursion. It's a small little place a few blocks north of the Logan Square train station. It comes off as a strange combination of dive bar/cozy neighborhood joint (if that makes sense). Up at the bar, I watched a bit of one of the football games in progress and perused the chalkboard. They were out of the two I had ventured there to try (they'd kicked the day before, apparently...dammit), but the bartender, who seemed pretty knowledgeable about her offerings, was accommodating, and patient with me as I made my decision for a replacement. The drafts were pretty nice, with the standout keg at the time being Meantime's Naval College Porter, which is what I settled on and got served in a nicely appropriate snifter (and at what seemed like a nice temperature for it, too...). The rest of the taps weren't really anything hullabaloo-worthy, but everything was solid and worthy of m time (were I not such a damned ticker...). The prices seemed pretty much in line with any other Chicago bar I've been to. Overall, this a great little place in the LS area, one I'm likely to be returning to in the future.

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Photo of stouts4me
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A: very pleasant atmosphere, nice bar, good seating choices - tables with high seats, bar seating, booths.

Q: I am going with quality of my beer on this header - Templeton Rye aged Mr' Hyde - smooth, tasty, and very fragrant, almost like something lightly floral.

S: service was pretty attentive, and friendly, knowledgable about both beer and food.

Sel: great selection of beers, pretty equal between craft and belgium styles, large bottle menu also.

F: quality, tasty selections. I ahd tomato bisque soup and chicken club sandwich. The bisque was fantastic, chicken was sort-of smoked with a great sauce.

V: I thought the price of food was very reasonable for CHGO, the aged beer was a tad steep at $10 for 8 oz. But I did enjoy my visit and would go back to this nice spot in a great little neighborhood.

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Photo of Northsider
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I used to live 1 block from this place. It seriously looks like a drunken old man bar, where you'd find slumbums sprawled over the bar. Rest assured, the inside is a bit better than that outside visual. It's dark, and bit small. On peak hours this place is just jammed packed. It's for sure oddly placed, at the end of a random street, not near buses, not near the L, not even near a major street o get a cab. Selection of beers is nice, and the food was decent.

Overall I don't think it's worth the trek to this secluded area. for the correction of many reviewers, this is Avondale, not Logan Square. Be warned as well, this is still very much gangland. while I was living there 2 kids got shot in a gang conflict right across the street from Small Bar. 1 block south 2 more kids got shot and killed in midday. Be safe.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Proper neighborhood bars are a dying breed in Chicago. Thank goodness places like Small Bar exist. While it doesn't belong on the list of Chicago beer destinations like Hopleaf or The Map Room, it's a cozy bar with a better than average beer menu.

The staff is friendly and attentive. It's a kind of place where regulars are known on a first-name basis.

The atmosphere is very inviting: warm wood surrounds a gently smudged mirror, a Lagunitas sign gently hums in a window, the tin ceiling gently glowing from reflected light. if only we could all have a bar like this down the street...

The tap list is better than the average neighborhood bar. With about a dozen taps, all craft, there will more than likely be something to slake your thirst. The food is fine, decent pub grub; no more, no less.

if you find yourself in Logan Square and want a good beer in a warm environment, then by all means go. If you happen to live in Logan Square, well, you already know about this place.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I treked over here for the Stone event the final stop of the night. Location basically sucks. Its on the end of residential street, not anywhere close to a major street and leaving takes at least 15 minutes to find a cab or you need to call one. Now if i lived on that street I would be there all the time and my mind would change. A total local place, don't make this is destination. Inside is a total small local bar feel, small and nothing to see...The quality and selection of beers is nice, above average for Chicago but again haven't really seen anything special here that would make me come.

A decent local joint but nothing more than that.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a nice little oasis tucked into the neighborhood north of Logan Square, 5 blocks from the CTA blue line station. Everyone else has described it well, I would add that Sundays are "movie night".

Cozy, dim lighting cast from orange lamps, dark wood bar with a rail, room paneled midway to the floor with similar dark wood. Nicely detailed wood columns behind the bar. Sunday crowd was small, a few leftover football fans, and neighborhood folks. Certainly less trendy than the Division street location. Wish they got the exclusive taps here instead.

Taps are 2/3 standbys and 1/3 rotating. Two Bros. Heavy Handed was on special for $4 when I went (marked on the chalkboard on the front door). Usually two seasonals, Spaten Oktoberfest and another fall seasonal were on. Rotating Rogue tap as well, described as a dry-hopped red ale. Several Hitachino bottles, Orval, Two Bros., Three Floyds.

Food was good, had a double BLT sandwich with tater tots and sweet potato fries that were nice and crispy. Specialty pizzas and appetizers were also available. Some were a cut above standard bar fare, such as baked goat cheese & tomato sauce. Fried cheese curds came with a spicy mustard.

Three tv's were a little distracting in such a small space, but it was fun when they put on a Jarmusch movie. Dead Man I think.

2008: Chalkboard beer list doesn't get updated much, they have been out of a couple for months now...ask the tender/server for what's on their 4 rotating taps.

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Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

We visited this original location for the first time last night (Friday night).
It is indeed a small bar. One room with 4 or 5 tables and a large beautiful old wooden bar along one wall with about a dozen bar stools. There is a dart board at the back and Golden Tee "complete" with Bowling near the front door. Also a juke box by the ladies room.

The tap selection was impressive especially for a small neighborhood bar. Last night they had: Anchor Steam, Point, Stella, Steigl Pils, Allagash White, Franzikaner, Summit Hefe, London Pride, Boddingtons, Sprecher Black Bavarian, Youngs Oatmeal Stout, Santa's Butt Porter, and Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout. Beers were $5 each (hefes in 20 oz glasses, most drafts in pints, Northwind and Santa's Butt in 12 oz goblets (whatever shape stella glasses are).

Service was friendly and informative even though the place was packed.

Our bartender took the time to describe beer styles to novices. Also, at first he charged me $10 for Santa's Butt. (rising prices at Goose and 8sih for Samichlaus in the past week have habituated me to high price tag beers, but this seemed a bit steep -- turned out he charged for two and politely returned the extra 5 with good humor -- I had already tipped him well, but he seemed like a fine bartender in any case).

We kicked Santa's Butt while we were there, and they put on a Winter Warmer by the same brewery (not sure which one, maybe Warm Welcome?)

The atmosphere is smoky but relaxed. Its a Logan Square crowd. And due to the 50 degree weather in Dec, some folks rode their bikes to the bar. I like the down-to-earth vibe at this location somewhat better than its newer, not-so-small sibling on Division which is more hip and trendy (although the Division location does also tend to have a slightly better tap list).

Small Bar is an authentic Chicago neighborhood gem with a great beer list. That and the fact that they offer food make it somewhat different drummer than most classic neighborhood corner bars in this general area like the Charleston. We didn't try the food but noted humorously that the vent from the men's bathroom empties into the kitchen.

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Photo of brushpig
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have been going to the Small bar for a few years now and have always had a very good time there. The atmosphere is very comfortable, nice lighting,Nice old bar back. About 5-6 small bar tables, 14 or so seats at the bar.

the quality of food and beer has always been fresh and tasty.

The service is always friendly and fast. They are knowledgeable about the beers, and will make good suggestions if you can't decide.

A lot of really good craft beers to select from, about 60 bottles. 15 taps. Impressive for such a small bar.

Food is bar food, but really good bar food. Love the fried cheese balls. (Heart Stopper Special)

Fair prices, especially for Chicago.

Check it out, or go to there other location on Division ave.

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Photo of beerinator
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The Small Bar (this location is their original location) is located north of Logan square and it is 4 or 5 blocks from the Logan Square stop on the blue line.

The atmosphere is nice. It was a bit smoky, but that's to be expected in a Chicago bar. From the outside Small Bar doesn't appear to be a bar. It's in a cute little neighborhood, and if you walk here, you may wonder if you're in the right place.

There are 15 taps, half of which seem to be focusing on regional beers. There is a large chalkboard broadcasting the bottled selections, of which most were imports or Micros. I think there were 50 or 60 bottled beers available.

We had great service at the bar.

The quality of Small Bar's beers are good. I spoke with one of the owners, and he seemed to know his beer and felt that beer was very important to his establishment.

The food was good. I had a chicken club sandwich and my wife tried their turkey burger. I will definately be back here, since it's close to my house.

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Small Bar in Chicago, IL
4.24 out of 5 based on 32 ratings.
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