Small Bar - Division

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Small Bar - DivisionSmall Bar - Division
Very Good
30 Ratings
Small Bar - DivisionSmall Bar - Division

Type: Bar, Eatery

2049 W Division St
Chicago, Illinois, 60622-7768
United States

(773) 772-2727

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Added by beerinator on 04-05-2005

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Ratings: 30 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of 110toyourleft
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stumbled upon this place by sheer luck while visiting a couple years ago and is probably my favorite bar in Chicago now that I'm a resident.

The staff are courteous and knowledgeable. They have a great array of more or less traditional pub fare. Atmosphere is great, especially for the soccer games. Also has a sidewalk patio for the warmer months.

One of only a few places that will open up for the early English Premier League games. One of the best places to watch any game involving or taking place in the US. A true haven for the soccer fan.

And finally, the beer. They have 20+ taps all with quality brews (they don't waste taps on the traditional boring stuff you see at every bar in the US). They offer a wide variety of beers from local, domestic, and international brewers. Also have a great selection of bottles in the cooler.

 841 characters

Photo of sfreshnock
4.65/5  rDev +18%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

I have been going to Small Bar regularly since the Division location opened. It was my gateway to really knowing beer. I eventually moved to another neighborhood but keep coming back to my favorite Chicago beer bar. This is due to the quality staff and top notch selection. I would consider this a notable stop for any beer fan residing or visiting.

ATMOSPHERE: Soccer memorabilia mostly. I like the old Drum N Bass club night fliers on the way to the restrooms, brings back memories of younger days. Good place to hang out with your friends, enjoy good beers and talk. More a fault of the neighborhood, the bar gets crowded on weekends but seems to empty out around 12:30 am. Lately Small Bar has become my Sunday night/week day place due to the douchie weekend crowd.

QUALITY: All glasses are jet rinsed the moment the serve you and the correct glassware is used.

SERVICE: Well educated from the Bartenders to the Wait Staff. They will gladly let you taste any of the taps if your unsure from description. If you come often the Bartenders will recommend from your tastes. Most of My favorites were first sampled off tips from the Staff.

SELECTION: Constantly rotating taps of all styles. Large selection of bottles broken down by region. Not larger than Map Room but more than enough choices.

FOOD: Standard bar food. Exception made for the thin crust Pizzas.. they are tasty.

VALUE: Selection, Service and Knowledgeable staff keep me coming back. Drafts are usually in the $5 to $7 range. Bottles seem to vary. Expect to pay more for a bomber but you get the whole bottle.

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Photo of alexm1309
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of cathomae
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of Flabbyjandro
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of cadaugherty
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I was on a bit of a bar crawl one day in the City, so I decided to stop in here to check the place out. It's a slightly smaller version of what once was their Fullerton location (now Beer Bistro North), in that semi-modern, semi-Continental style that seems to be all the rage in the "fashionable" areas nowadays. Still not my thing, but also not offensive. I bellied right up to the bar and ordered a pint. The bartender was extremely amiable and seemed to know his stuff. We had a few small conversations, including an analysis of the Olympic soccer mathes that were going on (despite the fact I know nothing about and don't really care about the sport). The selection was pretty nice and included a good range of the usual crafts, some local specialties (Solemn Oath comes to mind), and some one-offs (though the New Belgium/Lost Abbey Brett Beer had kicked while he was pouring mine (which he then made on-the-house), some Sixpoint Spice of Life (can't remember which one) was still going). I didn't try any food, though I got the feeling (just like I did back when I frequented Fullerton) that it was a bit hoity-toity for my tastes. Smelled good, though... The pricing is in line with other reputable City bars in the area.

Overall, a good place to grab a beer and, apparently, to catch a soccer match.

 1,309 characters

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is small but very open in feeling with the exposed brick wall and yellow walls with a nice Chicago style bar. The chalkboard is packed with lots of beer names but the first three beers I asked for were out. One was a Bell's stout which I figured has been gone for a good month but it is still on the board.

The bartender handed me a paper booklet of beers that he said it was more up to date. It had some nice little descriptions of the various beers. They got rid of the cask to fit 3 more taps on the already large tap selection. I found it easier to just look at the tap handles to order but it was nice to read the menu while I sipped a fresh brew. The menu is typical pub fair but the fried cheese curd looked interesting.

There was a nice pool table in the back that was busy the whole time I was in there. The rest of the area is filled with lots of nice tallboy tables. This is a good neighborhood hangout and a great relaxed place to hang out.

 970 characters

Photo of little_star
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Joel12
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Brensol
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of birdsellam
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of teledeluxe
4/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3

These guys usually have a pretty decent tap selection. The food isn't anything to write home about, but as bar fare goes it's pretty good. The main detrement is really the trendy neighborhood. Because of where this is it can get a little bro sports heavy on the weekends.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

SmallBar Division Street has been on my radar for many years now, and I finally made the trek off the blue line to check it out, glad I did.

It's a small thin restaurant/bar with wooden floors and bar stool style tables. It was around 1:00 in the afternoon when we arrived and there was one other gentlemen in the bar. The bartender was very attentive and knew his stuff. We got to chat quite a bit and he definitely knew his beer. After a bit of a conversation, we realized we had me at the Northdown Tavern about earlier this year...

The tap selection is about a 3.8 or so compared to some of the other beer bars in Chicago. A nice, diverse list with a bit for everyone. The bottle list is probably about the same. Some nice stuff in a bottle, but nothing that really stood out to me, and not much that wasn't available at a few other stops along my journey.

We shared the cheese plate which had 3 components that when together very well. It was a nice, small app, but again, not the best cheese plate I sampled last week. The lunch menu is small and concise, but the cheese plate is all we sampled.

Definitely worth the stop, and they definitely have a great grip on their business (beer). They also featured quite a few craft cocktails, which one member of our group sampled and they were very original and tasty.

 1,323 characters

Photo of beerinator
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The Small Bar in Wicker Park seems very similar to the one in my neighborhood. Both have solid beer lists as well as a full bar and food menu.

The draft choices are mostly regional craft brew, ranging from Three Floyds to Bell's, with special draft selections from othe parts of the country as well. This seems to be the more popular of the two Small Bar's, most likely due to it's location.

Even though this one is in trendy Wicker Park, it seems to have a different type of atmosphere than the other restaurants in the area. Small Bar always seems to be showing Soccer games ( or footbol if you are so inclined ) on the telly. Supposedly this is a good place if you are a soccer fan, but I just attended because of the beers. Occasionally this Small Bar will be the host to a special release party set up by distributors. One in particular that I was there for was the Victory Saison release.

The food menu at this Small Bar is similar to the food at the other Small Bar, which means pub fare with pizza and lots of great appetizers. I have only sampled the appetizers at this one, with the main appetizer stand out of the evening being the fried cheese curds! Oh cheese curds.

If you're in the area, this is a good place to stop by. Piece Brewing is about half a mile northeast, so you should stop here to replenish your energies on your way there.

 1,363 characters

Photo of ShareANevada
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped here a few times lately while visiting friends in town. Very easy to find on a main drag, a happening atmosphere without being annoyingly packed. The place is fairly dim, with a nice wood finish to the inside. Not huge, but we've always been able to score a table with little effort. That tap line up is pretty impressive. About 20 taps, and always something worth drinking, often a Surly head too. We had some Bare Tree and Surly 3 on our last visit. The Surly 16 Grit listed online apparently never materialized. 3F's, Bells, Dark Horse seem common here. A decent selection of Germans for those who enjoy them, and a few lambics and a flanders red (monks) on tap as well. All around a solid selection to suit everyone, not just hardcore beergeeks (read: You can talk your other friends into going there, there's something for everyone, while you enjoy super craft).

The food: The food here is excellent. I can tell you, after having the shrimp and grits here, I will come back again and again, if only for that. Unfortunately last time I was there, they were out. :( My friends from in town even remarked how damn good they were from a visit months ago. Evidently its competitive for the cheese curds as well. Not an end-all menu, but again, something for everyone, and at least some interesting nourishment to soak up the beer.

My latest visit the service was moderate. It was a friday night, so I will cut them some slack, but I get a little aggravated when there are bartenders standing and talking instead of refilling my $8 snifters.

I will certainly be back.

 1,580 characters

Photo of Fluffheady
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I usually don’t come down to this part of the city very often because the Division is a douche fest. SmallBar, however, is a nice little gem. The bartenders and servers were nice and knowledgeable. They had a cool beer event when we were there. I’m not really into metal bands, but apparently they are. I’ll definitely be back.

 333 characters

Photo of Czap
3.9/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

My buddy has become a huge soccer fan and he dragged me to this place during one of our crawls. I surprisingly had a great time watching the game. I am sure the 20 or so taps they had helped. No rarities or hard to finds, but a nice selection. Had a few Belgiums, which I was very happy about, to go along with the American dominated selection.

Had the fish and chips and they were very good. The bar itself is a little divey but in a good way. Nothing to exciting but didn't distract or take away from the experience.

I liked this place, but there are much better options in close proximity. While it is a nice bar with a nice selection, it lacks that certain something.

 673 characters

Photo of thewimperoo
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Jas45678
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of SkinniePost
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of emerge077
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I've been to this location a few times, with varying results...

After having dinner across the street at Jerry's Sandwiches, I stopped here for an event involving my friend's art around 7:30 pm on a thursday. "Open bar" for the event was limited to well drinks, so I opted for a draft Cane & Ebel for $6. The bar was crowded, but not 2-3 deep, yet 15-20 minutes seemed to be the average wait for drinks. Bartenders weren't talkative or especially friendly, but it was busy. Later we moved outside, and the waitstaff was more friendly and accommodating.

In the past, on slower night nights, this was a good place to have a craft brew and people watch on Division. Friday and saturday nights probably aren't the ideal time to visit. After work from 5-7pm the crowd is more manageable too. Nice wood panelling halfway up on the walls, a vintage look to the bar. They have outdoor patio seating, which is a plus when an escape is needed from the noise and smoke.

They occasionally have a draft Belgian, such as Chimay white, once I had an Urthel Hop-it here. Mostly craft options, nothing too out of the ordinary. 3F Pride & Joy and Lagunitas Undercover were also on when I went. They seem to rotate a few of their taps.

The fried cheese curds with honey mustard were good, didn't try the pizza. Quesadilla was just alright.

2008: This location seems to get limited brews in rotation often, and has a nice list that even has beer cocktails for the more adventurous. Still fairly loud and crowded on weekends, usually i'll just stop in for one after work.

 1,557 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

AgentZero raves about this place so finally got around to checking it out on a lovely Saturday evening... Got to sit outside which was great on a perfect nighe. Inside a soccer bar so that is awesoem, cool memorobilla....The service is tab bit lacking, the servers are not beer people, don't know a ton. The bar tenders know more but didn't really discuss with them...The quality of the beer was only decent. They did have a huge selection 20ish taps, over a 100 bottles, lots of American and Belgians. However, wasn't blown away by anything. Mostly easy to find crafts, nothing special or rare. Mostly the craft staples.

Overall, solid place nothing over the top great. Local Option and Map Room are both within 10 minutes of Small bar so I'd recommend them.

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Small Bar - Division in Chicago, IL
Place rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 30 ratings