Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Rock Bottom Restaurant & BreweryRock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1 W Grand Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60654-4806
United States

(312) 755-9339 | map

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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 117
Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 4

At the end of a family vacation to Chicago, I stopped into this place with my family. It was a Saturday night, and the place was absolutely packed, yet the wait wasn't quite as long as we expected. They have an open rooftop bar with a city vibe. The restaurant is fairly large, with plenty of seating. The service was prompt and friendly. We had the sampler, which was tasty and well-made. but not particularly interesting or outstanding. The food was also solid. I had an entree of beef tips that were very enjoyable.

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Photo of DMcGirr
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Brewery chain that turns out decent food and good beer. Nothing really outstanding here, but not a bad place to hang out. Vibe would get a higher score if Chicago had a longer summer; the rooftop can be pretty nice.

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Photo of 98green
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped in at 8pm on Halloween Saturday. Was the only place that wasn't completely packed, so that is a plus for me. The beer is fine but not spectacular.

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Photo of stouts4me
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A: this is a big brewery restaurant area, plus the AWESOME rooftop - super atmosphere !

Q: I have always had positive experiences here, the staff all look to please you, make sure your visit was as expected.

S: Very attentive bartenders, happy to give a sample, so you get the beer you'll enjoy.Hostess very friendly on my visit.

Sel: Very good menu, would like to see a hot pretzel, though.Always some extras of beer selections.

F: I had the pulled pork, very lean, sauce was tasty, sweet, just as it should be. Other selections I've had in the past were just as good.

V: prices are fair, there is a mug club, so you get a larger pour if you belong, no prices seem out of ordinary, good value.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

A: Lots of people and games on TV. Some cheers as Detroit hit a couple home runs, obviously people are here for sports in addition to the beer and food. Smelled absolutely exquisite when we walked in. We only planned on getting apps, but I'd love to try a steak next time.

Q: Pretzels were awesome, beer was good, too. Some were better than others, but good overall.

S: Our waiter, Ricky, was on point. Very knowledgeable about the beers and if he didn't know an answer, he found out for us. I'd ask for him in the future.

S: Only perused the appetizers, but lots to choose from. Like I said, I'd love to try something more hearty next time.

F: The pretzels were awesome.

I didn't realize this was a chain, but it was impressive. I look forward to going back again.

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Photo of TheBear11D
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 5

I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a brewery tour of Rock Bottom during a bachelor party. The host of the tour was exceptional and I believe his name is Kevin. He had a great knowledge of beer and the brewery.

The atmosphere is pretty enjoyable. They have a rooftop view which is pleasant, but they do not have all their beers available up there and we were not informed of this so that was pretty lame. Our waitress was decent, but I do not think she ever smiled. She should have been ecstatic to have 10 guys drinking plenty of beers and eating food while tipping well, but she likely lost some tip in her lack of a single smile.

The food was wonderful. Everything you want in pub food. Their homemade chips were an excellent addition to the burger. The beers complimented the food well. For Chicago the price is pretty solid. I actually anticipated playing a little more.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Chitown....BABY! Corner of State and Grand....great local for a brewery. Yes these are a chain of breweries, but they do a fairly nice job of brewing beer....mix that with some great food....espcially the NACHOS (according to my wife) and you have major success! Solid line up of beers....I had the specials...Fire Chief and Drink Me IPA....both very good. We of course had nachos...followed by a delicious burger. It is certainly worth a stop even if just for a beer! The bar area is much better thean the stiff "grill" area. I like my breweries to be relaxed.

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Photo of Czap
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This is a very good brewpub for what is essentially a chain restuarant. That is probably mostly do to the fact that they give the brewers at every one of their locations the freedom to put their own spin and influence into each of the styles. I really like that and respect that.

I have found myself at this location a number of times. I always enjoy myself. The beer is solid and sometimes I will come across one that is very tasty. I always get a flight, since the stout you tasted last year will not be like the stout they have tonight. That goes for all their styles. They have a nice menu and I have never had a bad meal.

All in all, this is a very safe place. If you find yourself with a bunch of swill drinkers, this place is a good idea. It will keep you happy as well as have plenty of safe choices for their unseasoned tastebuds.

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Photo of cjacobsen
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is my go-to place for after concerts when I head downtown for shows at the House of Blues. Its within walking distance and is a great way to cap off the night.

The place is darker and easy on the eyes. Normal restaurant/bar noise level. With the upstairs and the rest of the building being quite vast, they have a lot of room and can easily accommodate almost any party/event.

The food is quite good and not too bad on price. It's pretty fair for what you would expect in Chicago and you're not going to leave feeling like you spent a lot of money on some weak food.

The beer is great. They really crank out some good stuff, especially their Blonde and the Brickyard Brown. They have some great seasonal beers too.

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Photo of cratez
3.8/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Came here with my girlfriend and parents while living in Chicago. Gorgeous, swanky interior, lots going on, fairly loud music with patrons by the bar and couples/families seated for dinner. We chose a booth by the window away from the crowd. My dad and I split a flight of seven different beers, including the American Dream IPA, Brown Bear Dark Ale, Terminal Stout, and Line Drive Light, among others. All of the brews were mediocre to above average. For food I went with the Creole Jambalaya, we all split the Brewery Nachos, and everyone enjoyed their entrees. This is a great place to have some drinks and a meal with friends or family, just don't expect much from the beer lineup.

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Photo of ChiTownBeerClown
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Calling myself a regular at this place would be an understatement, I've been going to Rock Bottom at least twice a week for the past 5 years for two simple reasons: the staff and the beer.

Peter Crowley (the brewmaster) does a phenomenal job, there is constantly new beers on tap every month and even year in and year out there are few repeats and two batches are never exactly the same. More important than the variety, the beer is good. Really good! When there are anywhere from 8-12 different beers to choose from if you can't find something you like you either have really discerning taste or no taste at all.

Additionally they've recently started carrying "special guest" beers from local microbreweries. I've seen (and had) beers from Two Brothers, Metropolitan, and Half Acre on tap - a nice bonus considering I don't know any other bar in that area carrying beers from any of those breweries (maybe you can find two brother's at clark ale but I don't recall ever seeing it).

Beyond the beer the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, welcoming and entertaining. I admit I'm completely biased because several of the bartenders have become friends of mine but they weren't when I first started going in and they are no small part of what has made me a regular. I can get a beer anywhere, the attitude of the staff is the icing on the cake.

I want to counter the previous reviewer that claimed the staff is not knowledgeable with a bit of explanation from personal experience: some of the staff is not that knowledgeable when it comes to beer and this is largely dependent on when you go and where you sit. The place has a large staff so turnover is what you would expect in a restaurant of that size - this leads to new waitstaff working days, waitstaff who haven't worked there long enough to learn the beer. Beyond that some of the staff don't really care to learn, what they call "beer university" is a mandated corporate training requirement for all the waitstaff but it's not held that regularly and like with anything else you can't teach someone what they don't care to learn. If you want informed knowledgeable staff who drink the beer and know the beer head to the bar. You have to work your way to a bartending position there so there are no newbies and all the bartenders drink the beer, they're not home brewers but they will be the most knowledgeable staff in the place at any given time (save the brewmaster or head brewer).

Pro tip: ask for a sample if you are unsure, or ask for 2 samples if you cant decide between two. The samples are free and the staff (or bartenders at least) are always happy to oblige. The sample's are very small glasses in which they give you about 2oz of the beer you are inquiring about.

The food is good not great, they recently revised their menu to go along with the recent restoration of the interior (they're trying to have a bit classier of an image) so if you haven't enjoyed the food in the past I encourage you to try it again.

The decor is nice after the restoration, classier feel, more steak-house-ey if that makes any sense. The atmosphere is predominantly governed by the crowd which varies. In the evenings I would say the crowd is a mix of regulars and tourists many of the regulars being restaurant industry people. Women-wise I wouldn't call the crowd impressive though I wouldn't call it a complete sausage fest either, but if you want to stare at good looking women who wont sleep with you there are plenty of other bars in the city to accomplish that in.

Bottom line is its a friendly, unassuming, reasonably priced (for the area) place with great beer on tap that you can't get anywhere else. Personally I don't ask for much more than that which is what has kept me firmly planted as a bar fixture in that place for years.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

This brewery is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago. Being such its always busy which sucks and forever has has annoying construction around making it tough to get in and out.

The atmosphere is nothing special, its a a regular busy restaurant with a couple tvs throughout. Its too busy and cramped for me.

The quality is ok, they have decent beers of their own making. However, the quality and selection of guest beers is severely lacking.

The service is ok. They are not beer people, but nice enough. Cannot offer you good suggestions.

The selection is pretty weak, usually only 5-6 of their brews and not much of a choice of anything else.

The food bar food, and average at that. For the restaurant it is, it should be a lot better.

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Photo of jamescain
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Happened to be walking and saw this place and decided to have dinner there (can't go to a new city and not visit a brewery). They let you try the beer, which is brewed at location, so that was nice. The food was decent, not bad but not exceptionally good. Then best beer that I tried was the Terminal Stout, but other than that the other beers were a little flavorless. The cask ale was old and had a watery taste to it and the IPA was the worst IPA I have ever had, tasted like lemonade. But other than that it was a nice place, although I probably won't go back, too many other places in Chicago.

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Photo of mymrnngjckt
2.64/5  rDev -31.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5

Stopped here on a recent visit to Chicago. Only two block from my hotel. Walked in and was able to find the bar after walking around trying to find the bathroom which happened to be upstairs. The bar was pretty packed for a Monday night. Found two seats and ordered up some drinks. The service was OK. The selection was unimpressive. Usual house offerings with only two other offering. Settled on the Hoppy Summer. The beer tasted slightly better than home brew. I thought the place was overly dark like the all of the other Rock Bottom breweries I have been to. All in all, an OK place to stop if you are in the area.

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Photo of fbinla
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Two problems with this place, the food is mediocre, the menu is reasonable size, but is just a step up from Chillis . The bathrooms are up two flights on stairs and down a hall. I hate walking up them after a few beers and it's just inconvenient and poorly thought out.

The service is good, very nice people, helpful when changing orders etc.

However the beer here is just great, every time i come here they have excellent specials that taste amazing, not just some half thought out recipe to put as a special on the black board, but great beers obviously from a very strong brewer who really knows what he is doing. I suggest come for the beer, and if you are drunk and need some snacks eat the food at that point nothing could ruin your day.

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Photo of beertooth
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

The food is on par with Applebee's or some place like that and is a little overpriced. Although, they do have some cheaper lunch specials. The crowd gets loud and is mostly made up of loopers having a beer after work, or at least when I've been there.

The beer is the best thing about this place. Pete is a great brewer and pulls off some wonderful barrel aged beers and great stouts. I've had some tasty IPAs there as well. With that in mind, the beer selection is hit or miss. Sometimes they'll have some special stuff on and sometimes not.

It's worth a stop for a couple of mugs if you're in the loop, but skip the food and try to block out the crowd.

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Photo of ClubberLang
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My wife and I have been in here numerous times. The food varies -- some things have been very good, some just 'meh', but the reason we come in is the beer. Pete (brewmaster) is simply outstanding at the barrel aged beers, you will be hard-pressed to find someone better across a variety of styles to be barrel aged (and if you don't believe me, believe all his wins at FoBAB). The guy just gets the process and how to make something that will age well. The dry-hopped oatmeal stout is another standout, if it is on tap there when you are in it is strongly recommended. The alt brewed with Chicago Beer Society members last year was excellent, and I'm hoping it makes a regular appearance - I saw a sticke alt on the monthly list for later this year, so I'm crossing my fingers that it's the same recipe. If it's the same, it's your best chance to have a fresh Dusseldorf-style alt outside of going to Dusseldorf itself, rather than the numerous "altbiers" that are sweet with no hop bite.

If you're in from out of town during the warmer weather, grab one of the specialty beers from the main bar and head upstairs a couple of floors to the rooftop (you'll have to drink your beer out of a plastic cup), it gives you a nice view. There's a bar up there too but they don't have the full number of beers that they'll have at the main bar.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I visited Rock Bottom for both lunch (fairy empty) and a late dinner (pretty busy) during a weekend in Chicago.

The atmosphere was pretty decent. The building and location were great. Multi-floor, brick building with lots of wood and stone accents. Upstairs were the bathrooms and what looked like conference or banquet areas. Downstairs was the bar and dining area (which I never sat in...see below). The bar had a bunch of televisions, but they were all on a horse race undercard for lunch and Sportscenter at dinner. For me a sports bar is all or nothing. Either get a bunch of different games going (or the big ticket match) or don't bother.

There beers were pretty good. I had a red and an IPA. The red was really good, the IPA was pretty bad (either too young or way over-hopped).

Service was decent. During both the lunch and dinner visit we were greated at the door and asked how many were in the party. Both times we were also told to find a seat in the bar. I'm not sure why we weren't offered a spot in the dining area, but no big whoop. During the lunch the place wasn't busy. It took forever to get a beer, but our food came really quickly. The server told us about the special, but also suggested we try their version of a domestic light (a little disappointed there). At dinner things took longer, but our server came back to check up on us a lot. She didn't mention the specials.

About a dozen or so beers on tap. A nice variety of regular offerings, seasonals, and special one-time brews.

Food was hit or miss. Had a good burger and fries for lunch and about the most bland Rueben sandwich for dinner.

It was a bit pricey. I assume I'll pay a bit more in a bigger city, but they seemed to overdo it a bit. Regular pints were in the $5.50-$6 range with specialties going for a bit more. The special was a pint of their red for $3 (good deal in my book).

I'd go back with a group that wanted some beers with a meal, but I wouldn't make a trip just hit this place again.

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Photo of Clembo1957
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

We visited Rock Bottom on a busy Thursday evening but were found a table in the corner by the friendly Server with no problem. The server was excellent and knew his beer so i ordered a beer sampler (or possibly two...)

I had Chicago gold (5.2), Lake Drive Light (3.9), Rotating Walleye Wheat (5.0), Erik the Red Ale (5.5), Crowley's Irish American Stout (4.0), Double Diamond Double IPA (9.0) Neil Diamond IPA (7.0) Bowdon Barrel Aged Imperial ale (11.0)i think, by then my handwriting was a bit indecipherable! I also had a massive steak meal which was excellent.

Rock Bottom is handy for The Loop, downtown and The Holiday Inn Express where we were staying. Excellent food, a good selection of beers, friendly staff but i imagine it gets very busy at weekends.

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in for a couple of pints with a colleague after dinner (up the street in old town).

Very large bar area and very crowded for 9:30 on a Tuesday night.

They had about 8 beers on tap but no hoppy IPA which is what I'm after.

I had a red that was described as aggressively hopped with centennial and I think cascade but I didn't pick up much of it in the beer. Also had a Chicago gold that was a pale ale in the pac nw style and was a pretty good session beer. Ended with the smoked juniper porter which was nice and would have been much better served on a beer engine.

Good location to grab a beer right off the Mag Mile. There's also a Binney's right around the corner.

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Photo of Getinthevan
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I went here about two weeks ago and overall it was a nice place. The food was pretty spot on, even though it was a bit on the pricey side. The deal for the day I went were $3 Walleye Wheats. Needless to say, I ordered a few and the brews themselves weren't too bad. I had never heard of this brewery until a colleague of me referred me to it.

Overall, it's a nice place. It's in a good downtown location and the beer is refreshing. It's a bit expensive however and you really have to plan ahead for a place of this caliber. Great times are to be had here however and you can't go wrong with that at all!

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I regret not visiting this place more often, the regular selections of beers are good, but the seasonals, and especially the barrel aged beer are some of the best I've had.

The prices are reasonable considering the location, and the food is quite good.

I experience very good service whenever I am in here, the bartenders are friendly and helpful.

I would say this is my favorite Rock Bottom due to the quality beer and the east accessibility from public transit. I recommend a visit, it is very much worth it.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was staying at the Embassy Suites down the street so this place was the nearest beerworthy joint. Went there on two occasion and although I was please with the overall experience, I wasnt really expecting much from this chain. I will say this was my best experience of the chain.

Went on Friday night and it was slammed with thirtysomethings so service was really bad. Ordered a Belgian Wit and received a pale ale. It thought it would be okay when the server said "This one is on us". Whenever I got the bill, there was the wrong beer on there. I knew if I disputed it would take 30 minutes so I accepted the beer anyway (my wife drank it). Went on Saturday afternoon for a LATE lunch (like 2pm) and service was still pretty lame although the joint was pretty empty.

Beers were actually pretty good. I had the American Stout, the pale ale, the Belgian Wit, a 13 anniversary ale, and a HopFunWeizen (american wheat) and all were enjoyable with the stout being my favorite.

Chose a mushroom swiss burger that was pretty good. Fries were kind of old and cold and chewy due to the late lunch.

Pricey beers but I guess that is Chicago. Most were in the $5-$6 range, which was typical of all of Chicago. Went twice so I enjoyed it!

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Photo of kensuthe
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Atmosphere - We stopped in for a bite to eat and to grab a couple drinks after the long drive up to Chicago from Baton Rouge, somewhere around 9pm on a Wednesday night. We sat in the bar area, and there were Cubs and White Sox games on the televisions along the wall. The bar area has a bricks, wood, tables, and booths look and feel to it. The crowd was younger and trendier than I remembered from the last time I had come here, but that wasn't a bad thing. The place was full without being packed, and different groups of people were coming in and out the entire time we were there.

Quality - We each had two beers, and they were all pretty good and served in appropriate glassware. Two of our beers, the Eric the Red and the Dublin Irish Stout, seemed to have slightly less carbonation than I would have expected, but the flavor wasn't off so it could have just been the after effects of driving for 15 hours.

Service - The place was busy, but our server was a little slow refilling drinks and taking new drink orders. He also failed to explain that the beer menu on the table is not what is available at all times, since Rock Bottom rotates certain beers among certain styles during the year but the menu does not change to reflect this. This wasn't too much of a problem to figure out, but I'd rather hear it from the server than be left to figure it out on my own after a beer that is different from what I ordered is brought to the table.

Selection - There are six basic choices on tap to choose from, with one or two extra offerings on top of that depending on the time of year. Some of the styles rotate seasonally, so you'll see the same style on the menu but it might be a different beer that you're ordering.

Food - The food was okay, better than the average bar room food but pretty average compared to a decent restaurant. We had the hickory burger which was severely lacking in barbeque sauce and the bourbonzola burger which was pretty good, and a couple appetizers to go along with it. We stayed away from the pizza, at the suggestion of the server.

Value - It was slightly more expensive than similar dining experiences in the area, but it was still affordable and worth the prices. The beer was cheaper than the food. I'd probably pick something else if I had the option, but it's definitely not a painful experience to eat or drink here.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Ahhh...home of the $6 pint, but I am going to assume that's normal for Chi-town.

Under construction all around this place and even the facade of the building was getting a serious upgrade. A less determined visitor may have passed up this place after seeing the intersection of Grand Ave. and State St., but after going to my colleagues' choice for dinner the night before on a recent business trip, there was no way I was going to skip this place, only a few blocks from the Embassy Suites Lakefront.

Got all the regulars and seasonals in a sampler, for 6 or 7 bucks. Nine of them total. Not bad I thought, to go along with dinner. Dinner fare was acceptable and all in our party were happy with our meals. Server was not too beer savvy but didn't mind sharing what she did know. "Construction Ale" which IIRC was just the Blonde renamed for the current events, was on special for $3 a pint. After my sampler I got a pint of the Erik the Red, which I thought was a fine Irish Red Ale, and then another pint of the Stout over at the bar. That too was pretty good.

Bar area had loud music and some pretty drunk morons for a random Tuesday night. Let's put our ties on our head like Rambo and dance to some fucked up top-40 bullshit song. Oh yeah...and these are two guys who I think were actually trying to impress girls...

Anyway...I guess I am too old to understand that kind of behavior. I would not head to this bar for a relaxing pint with my buds and to chat up the bartender, but it's nice to drink a good beer or two.

I'd go back for dinner, since the bar and dining room are totally separate. Having to go upstairs and through a maze to use the pisser is a bit of a drag.

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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Chicago, IL
3.72 out of 5 based on 3,227 ratings.
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